Hoya UV and protection Filters
Things to keep in mind with all Hoya UV filters:
- you may want to consider keeping a UV filter on your lens at all times. UV filters not only reduce the UV haze in your images, but also offer physical protection to your lens, not to mention protection from dust. With a filter on, in 80% of drop situations you’ll break the filter glass instead of your front lens, and also the metal rim of the filter will protect the threading on the lens, which is often made of plastic.
- sometimes there may be a slight mismatch between the lens and the filter, whether the threadings are a bit off, or the diameters. That’s when the filter gets stuck on the lens and is difficult to remove. There’s a very good chance you’ll get a perfect fit, but know beforehand that getting a bad fit is a possibility as well.
- the price of a filter is given by three things: 1) the kind of metal in the rim – brass will be more expensive than aluminum for instance; 2) the type of glass used – higher-end filters will always use better optical glass that’s less prone to produce distortions in the image; 3) the lens treatment – some lenses have one coating, others have several coatings and are usually labeled as “multi-coated”. The multi-coated ones protect against reflection and glare a lot better. And 4) some filters may have hardened glass on them for added protection. Of course, the price will be a bit higher on them too.
- screw them well on your lens and they will not come off on an impact.
- clean up a new filter before the first use. Sometimes they arrive covered with an oily film that will put a haze on all your pictures.
Tip: Many users say Hoya filters get the same results or better as the pricier filters from competitors. So shop wisely 😉
Hoya UV Multi Coated Glass Filter line – labeled HMC UV(O) – perhaps the most popular Hoya line, with prices in between the entry-level Alpha line and the higher-end lines. The UV(O) has a good quality build and offers good UV protection with optical distortion, which is an issue with cheaper filters, in general. The HMC filters have 3 anti-reflection coatings on each side. However for images in direct sunlight or strong light sources my advice is to consider a SMHC (Super Multi-Coated, with 6 coatings on each side) or a higher-end filter, for better glare and ghosting protection. If you’re not a hardcore landscaper or a show photographer, you’ll be good with the UV(O) filters. It’s a perfect little investment to protect your expensive lens. You can attach a wide-angle lens, or a shade, or another filter top of this filter, which will work fine.
The HMC UV(C) line – same glass material and coating characteristics as the UV(O) line, only the C line is slimmer to further reduce vignetting.
The NXT HMC UV line – While HMC UV(C) and HMC UV(O) models are still available on the market, the NXT series is meant to replace them, while the production line was relocated to the Philippines from Japan. It is essentially the same product as the HMC line, only that quality control seems to be suffering a bit now. See what people have to say.
Hoya UV DMC PRO1 line – this is a great quality build that comes with an even thinner glass profile, meant to further prevent vignetting when shooting with a wide-angle lens.
The coating is labeled DMC, which stands for Digital Multi-Coated, which uses newer processes and materials than the HMC line for better reflection resistance, at the same light transmission rate of 97%.
Additionally, the Pro1 line comes with extra touches to further reduce reflections, like: black matte aluminum finish on the frame, and black rimmed glass to eliminate light reflections off the edge of the glass. You get a slim profile for reduced vignetting, and every detail carefully worked out to reduce reflection. Note that you can not attach further filters on top of the Pro1 filters.
The Hoya UV Super HMC series – enjoys the best multi-coating process from Hoya, the SMHC (Super HMC), with 6 coatings on each surface, yielding a whopping 99.7% light transmission. The glass is crystal clear and sharp and does not degrade image quality. Sunglare is kept very low with this filter. Beautiful optics and craftsmanship, no wonder this series has been generating a growing following.
The Hoya HD UV Filters – HD here stands for “hardened”. This line is short of amazing. You can barely see the glass on this filter, even when you hold it against light, it’s that sharp. The initial feel is uncanny. It has 8 coatings per side allowing 99.35% transmission of visible light, and boasts 4x increased resistance to scratches and breakage. It is also water and stain repellent, and easier to clean than other models. This filter will not degrade the picture quality. It comes with a one year warranty.
Hoya HD2 UV Filters – the same thing as the HD models, the only difference is that this line comes with extended warranty for a higher price.
Hoya EVO UV series – comes with a new coating process called Improved Super Multi-coating (IS-HMC) for greatly reduced lens flare and ghosting. The light transmission rate advertised is the highest so far, at 99.8%. The coatings for water and stain resistance are in place, minus the one for increased strength. This filter does a great job cutting through haze and increasing the brilliance of landscapes, both urban and natural. If you need increased strength however, you have to go with the HD or the EVO Antistatic (below) lines, since the optical qualities are close or similar. An added feature is, this filter has a threaded top for a firm grip by squeeze-style caps.
Hoya EVO Antistatic UV series – has all the characteristics of the above, plus a hardened new top layer for an antistatic, water repellent, stain and scratch resistant, anti-smudge effect. It has it all, if you can be determined to shell out the money. These filters are still better value than similarly capable filters from other reputable brands. Hoya is, by and large, one of the best bangs for the buck out there.