* Prices may differ from that shown
The Hoya Pro 1 Digital I have is the UV filter in 82mm thread size. This is used on my Canon 16-35mm for two reasons; the most important to me is to protect the front lens element from knocks and scratches and secondly to complete the dust and weather seal of the lens as recommended by Canon.
Photographers will argue to the ends of the world on whether or not a UV or a protective filter is needed on the end of the lens, usual arguments are whether they really protect the lens, if they cause more damage should the filter break, a loss of image quality when on the lens and whether digital cameras need to be filtered from UV light.
As already mentioned, the primary reason I use this is to protect the lens, I would rather scratch, crack and replace this UV filter than ruin an expensive lens. At times I have shoved my camera into a regular backpack without the lens cap on and so far the filter has held true and not scratched, although the matt black coating has come off round the outer edge revealing a slightly shiny silver frame.
The filter is very slim, this is very useful especially on wider angled lenses so that it doesn't not cause any extra vignetting or darkening of the corners in the photos taken. There is no discernable difference to images I have taken with and without the filter on, including the supposed reduction of haze, so don't expect the filter to make or break your photo masterpiece.
An issue I have found is that the filter collects fingerprints easily. This is then difficult to remove using just a cloth and the smears need to be cleaned off using cleaning fluid and a good long rub down. I would also like to say here that I would prefer fingerprints, oil smears etc. on the filter than the lens element itself
In conclusion, the Pro1 filters are great value for money they reach a happy medium between price and quality of glass. Every lens I own has one of these UV filters on the end because I feel the protection they afford puts my mind at ease and any future lenses I buy will definitely have one protecting them too.
After a rusty metal pole narrowly missed slamming through the glass of one of my Nikon SLR's lenses, I vowed that in future I would always use a filter on my camera. For those who aren't well up in the world of photography, a filter is simply a piece of glass that screws (or sometimes clips) onto the front of your lens. There are many types of filter available - some are used to block certain wavelengths of light (therefore affecting the colour in your images), whilst others simply offer protection for your expensive shooter. I personally use a UV filter in the form of Hoya's 'Pro1 Digital' - firstly for the aforementioned peace of mind, and secondly because it helps to absorb ultraviolet rays which can show themselves as haze on your images.
The Hoya Pro1 Digital
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So how good is the Hoya Pro 1 Digital? Well, in my experience I've found that it's excellent. I've used loads of different filters over the years, many of which have been cheap and nasty little buggers. This is mainly down to the poor quality of the glass used in their construction, and also the lack of a quality coating - with some of the really cheap filters that you can pick up from eBay, you may as well be taking a picture through a mucky window. Luckily the Hoya Pro1 Digital is 'multi-coated', meaning that it's perfectly clear, and reflections are kept to a minimum. The product has a filter factor of (0), so it won't stop any light getting into the camera - put simply, you won't need to change your aperture or shutter speed settings.
Regarding your filter's maintenance - keeping the Pro1 Digital clean is a simple process; just give it a wipe with a soft cloth (preferably a lens cleaning cloth if you have one) to rid it of any grease or dirt which may have accumulated. I've found that the Hoya Pro1 is very good at resisting small scratches - i've actually had one on my camera for two years and it still looks almost as good as new.
Price & Availability
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In terms of its cost, the price you pay for your Hoya Pro1 filters will depend on the size you require - at present, the current Amazon prices are as follows;
52mm > £20.50
67mm > £27.25
77mm > £29.08
From eBay I've managed to pick up the 67mm version for around £17 - although I have had to wait a couple of weeks for it to be shipped from Hong Kong. As new, the filter arrives in a plastic case with a foam insert which protects the glass - when not on your lens, this little transparent box is great for carrying the product around.
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Overall, I highly recommend the Hoya Pro1 Digital filter as a piece of glass which no photographer should be without. Even if you don't use these filters for their haze reducing properties, they're simply great for protection, and you can be safe in the knowledge that the filter's inclusion on your camera won't have a detrimental effect on your pictures. It may sound expensive at £20+, but it's by no means the most expensive UV filter on the market, and in terms of its performance it can compete with some of the best.