Every now and then I drop one of my cameras. Sometimes in their bags, and sometimes out of their bags. Its not something that I mean to do, and when it happens, I curse my carelessness, and vow it will never happen again. Until the next time that it does. Then I curse my carelessness, and vow it will never happen again...
Accidents happen, and its hard to stop accidents happening, especially when I am travelling through rough and hostile terrain, looking for the next amazing photograph. So when accidents do happen, we need to make sure that they cause the least possible damage to fragile and expensive camera equipment. The Nikon D300 camera bodies that I use are sturdy enough, but the lenses are a different matter. The condition of your lens dictates the quality of your photograph, so a scratch or score along the front surface is the last thing you want to happen. Walk into a tree branch, or nudge an outcrop of rock, though, and this exactly what can happen. Those lenses are expensive to replace: that's IF you can find one anyway, in the back of beyond.
This is where a UV filter comes in. Of course, a UV filter is a good thing to have one the lens anyway, as it absorbs the ultraviolet rays, which often makes outdoor photographs hazy and indistinct. But just as importantly, it provides a see-through protective screen on the front of your lens. It you walk into a projecting object, its your filter that gets scratched, not your lens. If a small stone is kicked up by the car tires, its the filter that takes the damage, not the lens. And if you drop your camera, and it falls lens-first, as they always seem to, then it is the filter that will break or bend, or distort, not the lens glass and not the lens body. Useful, huh?
I'm about to set off on a long Overland Journey through Africa, so I need to check all my packing requirements and order anything that needs replacing. One item that was needed: filters. I needed UV filters for three different sizes, and a new polarising filter as well, for the 18-200mm lens. The last one had got rather scratched, due to using it constantly out of the window of a moving Overland truck!
I had a look on Amazon, then turned to eBay, which had many adverts for filters. After some time, I narrowed my search down to a company that deals exclusively with filters, and has some very good prices to go with them. Englor Filters has an eBay shop that deals exclusively with photographic filters. Hoya UV, Neutral Density, Polarising, Skylight, and others. I placed an order which was acknowledged staright away and delivered very quickly. The goods were just as described on the website. I will certainly be shopping there again, the next time I need filters. If only I can stop dropping my cameras!