Hi Steve,

I'd appreciate your opinion on UV filters. I've got one on my Sony HDR-SR12, and the EOS 500D 17-55 kit lens. Is it worth purchasing one for my 70-200mm f/4L IS USM? People seem divided on their use. Some use them and others argue what's the point of having an L lens worth X amount if you're going to take your photos through a cheap piece of glass, i.e., a UV filter.

I look forward to reading your advice on maintenance, especially the cleaning of cameras and lenses and the best way to protect them. I'm a newbie when it comes to DSLRs but have caught the bug. Will use the 500D to pick up some skills and will probably advance to the 5D Mark 11 within the next 6-8 months. Right now am considering the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 L USM. It retails here in Vietnam for $1370 U.S and the 5 D Mark 11 for $2320 U.S. How does that compare to Thailand? All the best.

P.S. Please don't mention none of this to my Mrs. I have a lot of sucking up to do!

Kevin J.

Phan Rang,



Kevin -

Oh but you come up with some good ones.. :)  As you've noticed this subject is bandied about on the forums and people get quite upset when someone disagrees with them.  I'm not going to argue this either way, but what I will do is tell you what I do and you can take it from there.  First some points no one should argue.


      1. Never use a cheap filter on a good lens.  Buy the best filter you can afford, keeping in mind that some filter brands are very expensive and other filter brands are more reasonable like anything else.  I mostly use Hoya Superpro1 filters UV or Skylight 1a filters.  I find I like UV here in Asia, and Skylight in America.  I can't tell you exactly why, it's just the look they give.. very slight differences most would never notice.
      2. It's usually better to buy the ultra-thin filters with outer threads.  The outer threads are so your lens cap will stay attached, and the super thin is for wide angle lenses.  You might buy a filter for a 70-200 today, but then want to use it on a wide angle later.
      3. Lens hoods protect your front element from most types of physical damage, and filters protect your lens from smudges, smears, water drops, and that sort of thing.
      4. The more you clean your front element, the more chance you have to put micro scratches in it.. and they do build up.  After years of use it's easy to change a filter, much more expensive to replace a front element.  How to properly clean a lens is a subject to cover in another area, let me know if you'd like me to cover it.
      5. The very best filters DO attenuate light.  You could very well lose from 1/3 or more of a stop depending on which filter you choose.
      6. The very best filters DO NOT cause flair and other such issues that wouldn't be there otherwise.  Cheap filters do.


What I do:


      1. Any "studio only" lens never sees a filter.  If I'm not taking it out in the elements I prefer to use them without filters just so the little things you have to deal with, with filters, aren't a factor.
      2. Any lens I take outdoors has a filter on it.  Period.  The only exception would be lenses that don't have filter threads such as my Sigma 12-24 ultra-wide angle, and my super telephotos.


About your equipment purchases:

I might be tempted to hold off on that 24-70mm F2.8L purchase a bit.. there's a rumor floating around that Canon is ready to release a new version with upgraded optics and IS.  I don't know if this rumor is true, but it sounds credible.

The Canon 5d Mark II is currently 89,900 baht which is $2720 in USD's..  down from 99,900 when it first came out.. and batteries are very expensive at 4500.

Does the Canon 5d Mark II come with a full warranty?  It might be worth it for the readers to visit Vietnam for some better deals..

The lens on the other hand is about $200 more than in the states.  Curious..

Let me know if this answers your questions.  I hope it helps.



Hi Steve,

Just a question about Windows 7, I have an ASUS laptop with a 1.8 Intel processor, 2gb of ram and a 160gb hdd.
Should I upgrade to windows 7 or just stick to XP?


Charles -

Did you catch my special on Win7 in last week's column?

If you're laptop is currently running properly and you have no need for higher platform security and no need to reload an operating system.. then I'd leave XP on the laptop.

However, if you need more platform security or you need to reload your operating system anyway.. and you don't mind the cost.. then Win7 is really nice.



Hi Steve,

I do need to re-load my O.S. But what I was wanting to know was, will my computer be able to run Win 7, since it's just a stock standard notebook, will a built-in video card.
Also in regards to a file converter, what I was wanting to do was use a program to convert the Cannon raw files to another file extension without losing the raw data.
E.g.; I can convert the Nikon raw files to DGN and they keep all the info but I cannot convert the cannon CR2 files. The camera he uses is a Cannon 40D


Charles -

Yes, I think it will run Win7 fine.. but go to Microsoft and download the Win7 Upgrade Advisor to make sure.. it will take a look at your laptop, printers, scanners, etc.. and advise you if Win7 is supported.

Lightroom and most other raw converters don't ever change the raw file.  They simply attach side car files that contain a recipe which holds your 'adjustments."  This means you can adjust, export to TIFF's or Jpegs, or whatever you want.. and the original files remain intact.  Lightroom also supports DNG file conversion. 

You can get a free DNG converter from Adobe.. look on the right hand side of this page.. it will convert your raw files to DNG's.

Personally I don't use DNG's.  I just use the raw converter to make my adjustments and then export in the desired format for printing.. and that's usually Jpegs.  Some clients want TIFF files, but most places that make prints prefer Jpegs..  The original raw files remain the same as the day you shot them..  This is why every raw converter made today offers a "reset" button.. resetting the image takes it back to the start with no adjustments.

I hope this helps


Please submit your questions to QandA@Bkkimages.com  All questions will be answered and most will show up in the weekly column.