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UV filter vs Skylight filter

chris dyer , Dec 23, 2004; 07:29 p.m.

Hi, I just picked up a couple of new lenses. Ive always kept UV filters on all of my lenses for protection, and plan to continue using filters for that purpose.

But I wonder; what is the difference between using a UV filter or using a Skylight filter?

I do a lot of wide-angle street photography, as well as some landscape and portrait shooting.


Chris Combs , Dec 23, 2004; 07:35 p.m.

skylight is slightly pinkish

Michael Ging , Dec 23, 2004; 08:36 p.m.

If you shoot a lot of color instead of B&W, a skylight will give you the same lens protection as a UV, but will warm up color film a little bit. I never could tell the difference in a real photo ,but adding a little pink could not hurt.

Myron Leski , Dec 23, 2004; 08:40 p.m.

UV's were first needed because early lenses were not coated. Today's superior lens coatings do everything to light a UV filter was designed to do, so if I want merely to protect my lenses (I sure do) I choose the Skylight filter since it does something UV's don't do; they warm things up.

Robert McLaughlin , Dec 23, 2004; 10:00 p.m.

I have found that the skylight warms an image a little bit and when used with Kodak film things lok really warm. I got into the habit of using Skylight with Fuli and UV with Kodak. Now that I shoot 99% digital, I have the same filter on all my lenses. Mainly for front element protection.

Brad Vautrinot , Dec 23, 2004; 10:12 p.m.

I don't use either but rely upon a lens cap for protection instead. The reason being that I read articles from some pretty good pros that the extra two glass surfaces can contribute to degradation of an image. Just how much degradation remains to be seen but I suppose the bigger the print, the more it will show up. About the only filter I use is a polarizer. When shooting 4 x 5 I use Kodak gelatin filters for B & W - no glass surfaces.


David H. Hartman , Dec 23, 2004; 10:44 p.m.

A skylight filter is a pale magenta filter. The Nikon L1Bc is a CC025M filter (Color Correcting 0.025 Magenta). I think the Hoya 1B is about CC035M to CC04M. For me a magenta cast on a skin tone is quite unpleasant. It looks a bit sickly rather than warm to me. Magenta filters green. If your subject is bathed in green reflected light from foliage a skylight filter can help balance the light.

UV filters run from very pale yellow to virtually clear. The Nikon L37c is one of those that is virtually. The L37c is my standard filter.


Dave Hartman.

Graham Serretta , Dec 24, 2004; 06:37 a.m.

Chris - A skylight filter is a colour correction filter, designed to correct the slight blue cast that results from shooting under an open blue sky. (If you have seen snow scenes where the shadows are blue, this is what I mean, but it can also happen on the beach). It will also filter out UV, the same as a UV filter.

A UV filter filters out the UV only, with little or no effect on the colour balance of the scene.

If you use a UV filter, and shoot negative film, the occasional blue cast problem is easily corrected in printing, and most people don't even notice it. If you shoot positive film (slides) the blue cast will be very evident and can only be corrected if you have prints made from the slides (digitally or otherwise).

If you use a skylight filter and shoot negative film in conditions that would NOT normally require the colour correction effect, the resulting slight warmth is easily corrected in printing if you don't like it. If you shoot positive film, it will be evident in the resulting slides.

The worst you can do is have a UV filter on one lens and a skylight on another - the different colour balance between the two will be very evident on either kind of film if you mix the shots from the two.

I hope this isn't too confusing....

David H. Hartman , Dec 24, 2004; 03:47 p.m.

“It [a skylight filter] will also filter out UV, the same as a UV filter.” --Graham Serretta

Some do, some don’t, as I recall the Nikon L1Bc does. Check if you think you need UV filtering.

Aaron Linsdau , Dec 25, 2004; 11:15 a.m.

Actually, shadows are blue. The skylight filter helps cut that down ever so slightly. The primary light source reaching a shadow area is the blue light coming from the sky and second is light reflected from an object in the area. Many times painters don't use gray for shadows - there's some blue in there.

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