Lens filters may feel like they are more the preserve of the old film days, but they still have many uses in our digital world. The best UV filters available are still a worthy addition to your lenses, helping to not just filter UV light but also acting as a great protective barrier for your front element.
A high-quality UV filter has more pros than cons and if nothing else provides the peace of mind that your expensive optics have protection and a good amount of UV light filtering.
Below, we have split our shortlist of UV filters into high-end and affordable versions from top to bottom. In any case, try to buy the best quality UV filter you can afford.
The Best UV Filters
1. Hoya HMC UV-0 Filter
This is one of the best filters on the market. For ultimate protection without compromising image quality, this premium filter will serve any photographer well.
Starting with our premium quality selection, the Hoya HMC UV-0 may be relatively expensive, but it provides excellent light transmission and UV filtering. Hoya is known for its wide range of UV filters, with this version featuring excellent antireflective coatings. The multi-coatings provide excellent color balance and good resistance to lens flare.
The Hoya is one of the best out there for filtering out UV radiation while maintaining 99.7% visible light transmission. There are also no signs of vignetting with this Hoya filter. Images shot back to back with and without the filter show no degradation in image quality and perform excellently in bright light conditions.
This is also a good option for a balance between quality and price. We absolutely recommend this filter for any type of high-quality lens to protect your gear and filter out UV light.
2. B+W 010M UV-Haze MRC
With top-notch glass, you’ll love this filter for the protection it offers your lenses. It offers ultimate versatility for photographers who may want to utilize other accessories.
B+W is another well-regarded filter brand, produced by the German-based Schneider Optics, with their glass coming from the renowned Schott Company. The standout features of are the 16-layer multi-resistant nano-coating (MRC=Multi-Resistant Coating) and anti-reflective coatings. These coatings protect the front element from the usual amount of environmental nasties such as dirt, dust, and the occasional human paw print.
The filter is also adept at removing blue casts from an image in a very subtle way. The quality of this filter is immediately apparent from the F-Pro brass filter ring, which prolongs the life of the filter and stops the filter from jamming tightly onto the front of the lens. The filter also has an internal thread for stacking up additional filters.
Pro Tip: If you have a filter fitted to the front of a lens that simply won’t come loose, no matter how hard you try, then there is a solution. Simply wrap a thick and tight elastic band around the filter, then use the band to grip the filter. Nine times out of ten, this will successfully remove the filter from your lens.
The B+W UV filter has a high build quality and offers 98.2% visible light transfer. The filter also displays literally no edge darkening in any lighting scenario. However, it is a touch behind in UV reduction when compared to the Hoya model above. But if you are using this filter solely as a front element protector, it is more affordable without compromising quality than the filter we mentioned above.
The filter is also available in various sizes for all types of lens makes.
3. Hama UV HTMC 390 (0-Haze)
Equipped with all the necessary features to make this a high-performing filter, this is a great option at a slightly more affordable price.
The Hama UV HTMC 390 (0-Haze) is the most basic filter from the company’s lineup. But the UV HTMC 390 also represents excellent value for money considering its UV and protection properties.
The filter comes equipped with multi-layer antireflective coatings, providing neutral color rendition and reduced Haze. Hama also produce filters in various sizes.
The Hama filter displays excellent visible light transmission at 98.0% and very good UV reduction considering its price point. The HTMC coatings are also very worthwhile in decreasing lens flare, but the UV reduction isn’t as good as the two options above. The front of the filter is also slightly harder to clean than the Hoya and B+W versions. However, the Hama provides excellent value for money and works as a fantastic front element protector.
4. Gobe UV Lens Filter (3Peak)
If you are an eco-conscious individual, you’ll love that for every filter a tree is planted. With this guarantee and a high-performance design, even photographers can do their bit for the environment.
The Gobe Lens filter strikes a nice balance between quality and price. The filter is supplied with eco-friendly outer packaging and the company promises that for every purchase, a tree will be planted. The filter also comes with its own microfiber cloth for cleaning purposes.
Gobe filters are differentiated with the ‘Peak’ label, which denotes different features for each filter. As this is a ‘3Peak’ filter, it benefits from a 16 layer nano coating, applied to German SCHOTT B270 glass. If you wanted to opt for the ‘1Peak’ version, these are supplied with a 12 layer nano coating and are made from Japanese AGC glass.
The ‘3Peak’ version we have here provides 99.6% light transmission, with very good UV protection in exchange for a reasonable price point. The 16 layer multi-coating performs a fine job of keeping lens flare in check, while also providing very neutral color and light transmission.
The filter itself is made from Magnalium-alloy, which I initially thought was a misspelling of magnesium. But apparently, this alloy is a mix of 95% aluminum and 5% magnesium. In any case, the metal feels extremely hard wearing and feels very smooth screwing onto the front of a lens. The filter is also available in sizes from 37mm all the way up to 86mm.
5. Hoya PRO1 Digital UV Glass Filter
This is a fantastic filter at a more affordable price point compared to other Hoya filters. Still sporting professional-grade Hoya technology, this is a great filter.
It’s no surprise that Hoya has another entry in this list, as they provide a vast array of filters at different price points. The 'PRO1' UV filter provides professional levels of UV reduction, while also acting as a worthwhile front element protector.
Hoya filters come with a bunch of acronyms on each product that are worth mentioning. ‘DMC’ stands for digital multi-coatings for reducing lens flare and ghosting. ‘BAF’ denotes the black Almite frame, the ‘BRG’ for black-rimmed glass reducing light reflections around the filter edge, ‘LPF’ for a low-profile frame, and ‘KEF’ for the knurled edge frame for easy fitting and removal. All of these acronyms definitely indicate that this filter has features everyone will love.
This Hoya model displays very good light transmission, while also providing a reasonable amount of UV protection. In many ways, the Hoya PRO1 strikes a nice balance between professional-level features and cost.
6. Waka UV Filter
This is a highly compatible model at an affordable price point.
The Waka UV filter is aimed at those who want a cost-effective UV filter, while also providing good levels of lens protection. This UV filter features a slim profile, with a 16 layer multi-coating and up to 99% light transmission. The filter is also available in many different sizes from 49mm-82mm.
The slim profile works great with providing literally no light falloff in the corners and works very well with wide-angle lenses. Considering the very cheap price point of this filter, it’s an excellent way to reduce haze, flare, and ghosting without breaking the bank.
7. Kodak UV Filter
An affordable option with good optical performance.
When we come across a renowned camera brand that has dipped its toes into the filter arena, we know it’s worth checking out. The KODAK UV filter certainly has the attributes needed to be a good filter. It has an 18-layer nano-coating to protect against water, dirt, and surface scratches. The filter is also made from premium German SCHOTT glass, for improved light transmission and reduced ghosting and flaring.
The frame of the filter is made from lightweight aluminum with a very low profile, ideal for wide-angle type lenses. The Kodak filter provides 99% light transference and UV protection, with no light falloff in the corners and minimal surface reflections. There is also an internal thread for stacking up multiple filters when needed.
Basically, this is very well priced in exchange for good levels of UV filtering, lens protection and is made from premium SCHOTT glass.
8. Neewer UV Filter
As with many Neewer products, this filter is a great starting point for beginning photographers or those on a budget. It has an all-round decent performance.
Neewer isn’t exactly the group we first think of when it comes to lens filters. The company supply a wide range of camera accessories from lights to tripods, so we thought it would be interesting to check out how their UV filters perform.
Although the official descriptions and specifications don’t provide much in the way of information on this filter. The good news is that the filter is relatively good at reducing haze and almost adds a touch of contrast to images. The frame of the filter feels very well made and works well as a front element protector.
If you need a cheap and cheerful UV filter or basic front element protector, this Neewer option definitely provides value for money.
9. Tiffen UV Filter
This is a well-priced option for beginner photographers. It won’t sacrifice quality too much for an affordable filter option.
Tiffen offers surprising quality in exchange for a low asking price. This is a basic UV filter made in the USA, offering protection against dirt and scratches and comes in a variety of sizes. It has a low profile to fit on wide-angle lenses and performs a basic job of UV light filtering.
The filter is quite good at reducing haze with no noticeable degradation of light transfer. Some people have reported this filter producing lots of ghosting in lowlight conditions and even a reduction in sharpness. However, we didn’t experience any of these factors, but the overall results were basic when compared to the higher-priced models.
If you only need a UV filter to act as a front lens protector on kit-level lenses, then this Tiffen model is a possible option.
10. AmazonBasics UV Protection Lens
For true budget, AmazonBasics is an option worth considering. It doesn’t sacrifice image quality while providing basic functionality.
Normally, it wouldn’t even cross our minds to recommend an AmazonBasics lens filter, but in reality, this filter is surprisingly good for the price. This filter doesn’t feature any of the fancy multi-coatings of the more expensive versions. Nor does it have the same UV reduction capabilities. But the filter doesn’t reduce image quality and provides no artificial coloration.
More than anything, the AmazonBasics model is a worthwhile front element protector, which provides basic, unadulterated UV protection. For those on a very limited budget, this filter is a very good option for protecting the front of a lens.
What To Look For In a UV Filter
Below are a few points to bear in mind when whittling down your own shortlist of the best UV filters.
Note the filter thread size of your particular lens. Lenses don’t usually have the filter thread size stamped on the lens itself, so it’s always worth consulting the manufacturer’s website for this information. Always double-check this point if you are unsure. Also, check that the filter is compatible with your particular lens.
Slim profile filters work the best for wide-angle lenses. It’s also worth noting if a UV filter has an internal thread for stacking up extra filters on top.
As most UV filters double up as lens protectors, they should ideally have a solid metal construction and multilayer coatings. The higher the light transference abilities the better, ideally as near to a hundred percent as possible. How well the filter copes with flaring and ghosting is a factor, as well as its ability to reduce vignetting or light falloff in the corners. When in doubt on these points, always consult the manufacturer’s website
Some people shy away from fitting a UV filter as they never want to degrade the light traveling through an expensive lens. This point may be true with the cheapest of the cheap budget version UV filters. However, the best UV filters available can improve image quality in the right circumstances, along with providing essential lens protection.
One thing to bear in mind is that the best quality UV filter can always be removed from a lens. If you have a UV filter at hand for each of your lenses, at least you have the option of using them when required and they may just save your lens from a nasty knock or two!
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