Olympus C-8080WZ 
picture quality comparison 
with and without UV-Filter.

Hans-Joachim Weber (2005-06-25)

 

Many Photo enthusiasts clear advise against the use of UV-Filters because they fear a visible degration concerning picture quality.

Because I got a 58mm Hama UV 390 (0-Haze) HTMC® coated Filter for free I wanted to test for myself wether there really is a visible loss in contrast, sharpness or color rendition due to the usage of this UV-Filter on my Olympus C-8080WZ?

As ever I took some comparison shots to analyse the difference.

 

Example 1

The first shot (a part of a door; I know, not a great composition!) was taken with a havy Tripod and remote control shutter release to minimize shake. Also for all pictures presented here the original Olympus sun shade was used.

The first picture (door) presented here was taken with the Hama UV-Filter mounted.
The shot of the whole picture was downsized from the Olympus 8MPixel resolution 3264x2448 to 900x675 for the WEB.
Olympus C-8080WZ; 7.1-35.6mm 1:2.4-3.5; 18,4mm (72mm equiv.)  f5.0 1/50; 50 ASA; white balance manual sun daylight

The picture once more shows the sharpness of this masterpiece of glass.

And here is the comparison of the 100% crops of both shots together. All color, contrast and sharpness settings were camera default, mode M.

100% crops from the center of the 8 MPixel Door shots.
Left picture without any Filter, right picture with Hama UV-Filter.

Thanks to the havy tripod the door is shown up to the finest details. The left picture was taken without, the right picture was taken with the Hama UV-Filter. Can you see any difference? 

I can see a "verry, very" little loss of contrast in the right picture taken with the UV-Filter. But nothing that would really bother me. This litte decrease in picture quality really astonished me! The picture in total did not came out more bad than without UV-Filter, because color rendition came out slightly warmer, a behaviour I like sometimes with the Olympus C-8080WZ. Please regard that I used Mode M manual exposure and manual white balance for both pictures.

Example 2

Lets view another more realistic shot of a beach chair (1/320s, f2.8, 7,1mm 28mm equivalent handheld ). I used the more practical settings:

Auto white balance, Mode A for exposure and Handheld. 

Look at and compare the 100% crops of both shots:

100% crops from the center of the handheld 8 MPixel beach chair shots.
Left picture without any Filter, right picture with Hama 390 Haze UV-Filter.

You can see on the left side once more the shot taken without UV-Filter on the right side the same scenerie with UV-Filter. IMHO the shots came out nearly equal! 
In this case the camera white balance was used in auto mode an therefore removed the warm toning effect of the Filter.

Due to fact the pictures are handheld even at 1/320 28mm I did not get pictures showing the possible sharpness the Olympus C-8080WZ lens could have delivered with a tripod. So the minimal degration due to the Filter practicaly does not show up!

Conclusion:

The picture degration due to the use of a UV-Filter seems in my case to be very overrated from many enthusiasts in photography! Even the class leading resolving Olympus C-8080WZ lens ist not really degraded by the use of my Hama UV-Filter. 

In freehand shots it really does not matter! The blur due to the camera shake is much more visible! 

The effect of better color balancing (proposed by the filter manufactures) is nearly totally removed by the Digicam in usual sceneries by the auto white balance. 

The filter in my test shots does not show any improvements, but if you want to protect your lens from dust and water you can go with this filter without hesitation!

 

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