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Random question: I've got a summicron 50mm, and it's in great condition, so I want to get a filter for it to cover the front. B&H sells some filters online: Hoya 55mm for $20, Zeiss for $60 and Leica for $100. Recommendations? Should I even bother with a filter for front element protection? Thanks!
The question of whether or not to use protection filters has been the subject of endless heated forum debates; there's no one "accepted" answer that everyone agrees to. A lot comes down to personal use habits with lenses: do you often shoot in blowing sand or saltwater spray? Do you dangle your lens un-capped while scrambling through dense brush? If the filters or front elements on all your other lenses are still pristine and unblemished, then you probably don't need the protection anyway. If your other lenses regularly get grime-encrusted and battered, then a bit of extra protection might be useful. Adding a protective filter doesn't help image quality; in most cases, it does no harm either, but in the wrong circumstances can add extra flare/haze. The "protective insurance" value of filters isn't worthwhile if you aren't bashing up lenses fast enough to save one $500 lens for every ten $50 filters.