Does Using a Cheap Filter Really Matter?

Does the quality of a filter really matter? Indeed, it does! If you are in the habit of using a UV or Skylight filter on your lens for protection, please be aware that a cheap filter will block at least 3 percent of the light and can cause other issues, such as lens flare and internal ghosting.

Single-coated filters are better than uncoated. Multi-coated filters are the best, but cost significantly more. However, why own an expensive Nikkor lens and then add a cheap superstore filter to the front of it, reducing sharpness, light transmission, and causing various types of flare.

If you are going to use a filter at all for protection—I don’t, I carry insurance instead—then be sure to use a multi-coated filter only. See the picture below for the difference in light transmission between an uncoated and a multi-coated filter.

MultiCoated vs Standard Filter

These two filters were lying on my kitchen tablet with an overhead light shining on them and a coin underneath so that you can see what happens when a cheap uncoated filter is used and light hits it, compared to a multi coated filter under the same light. The multi-coated filter does not reflect as much light, leading to better pictures. Use a multi-coated filter for best results.

Keep on capturing time…
Darrell Young

Darrell Young

Darrell Young is an active member of the Nikonians User Community, Nikon Professional Services (NPS), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), and the author of 17 photography books from NikoniansPress through Rocky Nook, including Beyond Point-and-Shoot, Mastering the Nikon D610, Mastering the Nikon D800Mastering the Nikon D7100, andMastering the Nikon D810, to name a few. He’s been an avid photographer since 1968 when his mother gave him a Brownie Hawkeye camera.

His website,, was created to support the readers of his educational books, photography students, and clients. Visitors to his website will find articles and reviews designed to inform, teach, and help you enjoy your photographic journey.

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One Comment

  1. Hi Darrell.

    Excellent advice and and issue I had on my AF-S 80-400mm where my images were both lacked sharpness and had a strange patternation. Removed the non coated protection filter and the problem disappeared. I now leave the hood on full time and have ditched the filters.



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