Lens Protector or Not?

If I ever had doubts about whether to use a UV filter as a lens protector, I now firmly recommend using one.



This afternoon, as I ran out the door to photograph a hawk in the back yard, one of our dogs attempted to get out the door first. In doing so, she stuck her head through my camera strap. Although I had the strap wrapped around my wrist, somehow Ripley managed to jerk the camera out of my hand.

The camera landed on concrete and bounced three times. I was suitably shocked and horrified. It took me a few minutes to collect myself enough to even pick up the camera, because I couldn’t stand the thought of finding out what might be damaged. (I have to laugh — now — at seeing Ripley wearing my camera strap around her neck, looking puzzled about this black object bouncing around behind her.)

The first two bounces hit the camera itself — once on the bottom near the battery cover, which popped off, and once on top of the flash. The third bounce hit the front edge of the lens.

The camera, so far, seems fine. I popped the battery cover back in place and took a sample picture. Everything seemed to work OK. However, if the lens had been bare, that 100mm macro would have been toast. Instead, the bounce bent the UV filter into a slight oval and cracked one edge of the glass. The lens itself, as far as I can tell, is undamaged.

I’m pretty sure that I would much rather pay $50 for a new lens protector than $1,000 for another lens. Guess what I’ll be buying tomorrow?

Oh yeah… the hawk flew off, unphotographed.

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