Curse of the UV Filter

I was out last night in the Peak District, photographing the landscape at Surprise View with a friend. We hoped there might still be some heather in flower although we knew it was a little late. As it happens, you could still find a few clumps that looked reasonable, but you had to be prepared to work hard on your composition.

For a while, I decided to shoot with a longer lens, picking out areas of the landscape that I liked. This black and white shot is of a valley where the side light was washing out the distant hills. This seemed to give a great feeling of depth that I liked.

Side light in the Peak Disitrct.

As it turned out, the problem finding a nice clump of flowering heather was the least of my issues. What caused more of a problem was lens flare. Here’s a typical example.

Example lens flare

Initially I didn’t spot the flare because the light was so intense, but as the sun got lower, I started to notice it. Now that I’ve got my images home, I’ve realised just how bad a problem this was. Despite trying to shield the lens with my hand and hat, I just couldn’t seem to prevent it.

Now this has been an ongoing issue for some time with my Panasonic G9. To be honest, it’s put me off using the camera for landscapes somewhat. The cause is the old 75mm square filters I’m using, or at least that’s what I thought.

With a bit of time on my side, I decided to remove the square filters and the UV filter from my lens. This time when I shot towards the sun there was no flare. I then added one square filter and there was still no problem. I added a second but still no lens flare.

I decided to remove the square filters and try just the UV filter. As soon as I added it, there was flare across the entire frame. Taking a closer look at the UV filter I realised it wasn’t the usual B&W filter that I used. Instead, this was a K&F filter and I have no idea how I came to have it on my lens or when I added it. As soon as I tilted the filter towards the sun, I could see a purple sheen reflecting off the surface, the same colour as the flare.

After that I was able to shoot towards the sun without any lens flare as you can see in this next image.

Surprise View sunset in the Peak District.

For this shot I used a 3 stop medium ND grad filter on the sky. It’s then been processed using DxO PhotoLab 5 with some further tweaks with the Nik Collection in Photoshop.

Overall, I’m impressed by what the little Panasonic G9 can achieve. This is 10,551 x 7,776 pixels dimension image as I was using the high-resolution mode.  But I share my thoughts on that another time.

I hope you have a great weekend.

7 thoughts on “Curse of the UV Filter

  1. Good quality filters should not be a problem. When I started shooting MFT cameras some of those I liked did not have lens threads for filters, and others had lenses that I didn’t yet have filters to fit. I started wearing a hat just for shading the lens. (an old habit from college when I couldn’t afford lens hoods for all my lenses)

    1. I agree and I thought I was using a good quality filter. It was only when I checked that I realised it wasn’t. The funny thing is, O can’t ever recall buying this brand of UV filter. I standardised on the BW filters about 5 years ago and I’ve only had this lens around 18 months (purchased new). I was also using my cap to shade the lens but there was still some reflection going on even when I used the cap. The filter’s in the bin now so hopefully no further problems.

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