The Importance of being... UV Filter.
There are "things" addicted to ruining your photographs.
Prevention is always better than a cure. Prevention in this case comes packaged in a little box. They are cheap and they are expensive. They offer a difference in the final outcome of your photographs and they offer none at all. It is a vital piece of kit and it's not.
This is an accessory that thoroughly divides opinions. The UV filter.
To take the words of Oscar Wilde and apply this meagrely, "The Importance of being UV Filter". Here are my thoughts on the matter.
UV filters have been fixed on the end of my camera lens from the first day I owed my own SLR. This was back in the late 1990's where we only had film for our photography. And I am nostalgic of those days if I am totally honest. The UV filter was seen as a quite important must have item, as its primary use was to stop dreaded UV light from affecting the film negative. Film was susceptible to UV and given the correct scenario, it could ruin the image by casting a bluish haze across your image. If you spent a few quid on some Kodak Royal Gold the last thing you wanted was something as trivial as UV to detriment your image quality. The treatment for this was to use the filter.
Now that the day of film is over, (but making a comeback in various circles), digital sensors don't suffer from these picture sapping UV rays. They are susceptible but in contrast it is minuscule in comparison. So for that reason using a UV filter for digital photography is meaningless and if being pushed into buying one for these reasons from a dealer, the dealer is after a few extra quid off you. Their reasons are rhetoric.
But there is another side to using a UV filter.
Since I've moved to more eastern lands I see professional cameras everywhere. With the affordability of DSLRs and lenses it has become quite the norm to see beginner and amateur photographers with serious kits. Serious kits bring serious investment. Sometimes a little bit of insurance will go a long way.
The insurance in this case is the UV filter.
The front element of a lens can get scratched, and very easily at that. In an uncountable number of ways and in various hypothetical conditions you could ruin the front of a very expensive bit of kit. Repairs are expensive. The price of repair could match the price you paid for the lens itself.
I have seen a number of people haphazardly try to clean the front of their lens using a t-shirt and once seen a guy gob on the front element and proceed to rub whatever it was off with his finger. wtf.
People at the beach is another example. Getting sand on the front element and trying to remove said sand is pretty tricky especially when you're trying not to scratch the buggery out of the front element.
This can be alleviated by using the simple UV filter. Damaging the filter is nothing compared to the frustration and expense of mangling your lens.
A simple £10 piece of glass on the front is all the insurance you need to avoid scratches and sometimes nasty knocks.
So the importance of being a UV filter is a fairly important one.
On one hand it wont help your photography, it wont add creativity or improve image quality but it is important to adding a little more protection to you equipment.
This reason alone is why I have a filter on every lens I own.
"Follow your parents advice and always carry protection with you in your back pocket."