We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Ultraviolet Filter?

By Jenn Walker
Updated Feb 25, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

For use in photography, an ultraviolet filter is typically a clear filter attachment that screws onto the end of a camera lens. They're used to filter out ultraviolet rays which can cause outdoor photography to look hazy and bluish. Most any removable camera lens can accept a UV filter, including video, digital and film cameras. These filters are generally not for use on point-and-shoot cameras with fixed lenses.

Though ultraviolet light can't be seen with the human eye, some bees and birds can see it — and so can a camera. In indoor situations this isn't so much of a problem, but in outdoor photography UV light can result in an image that isn't crisp and has a bit of an indigo hue. To avoid this, a ultraviolet filter can be used to help absorb ultraviolet rays, adding clarity and reducing extraneous hues.

Not only is ultraviolet light more of a problem in outdoor settings than indoor ones, it affects film photographs more than its digital counterparts. Still, ultraviolet filters can be useful for both film and digital cameras. In digital photography, the ultraviolet filter also helps curb a color problem known as purple fringing — a purple ghost-like line around a photographic subject.

The typical ultraviolet filter is clear and filters out shorter wavelength UV-B and UV-C rays, while being almost completely transparent to visible light. Therefore, these filters can be left on for almost any shot. Ultraviolet filters offer an added benefit of lens protection as well; if the lens is dropped, the filter will absorb the damage rather than the lens. It also helps to keep the lens clean and free of scratches from frequent cleaning; it generally is much cheaper to replace a scratched ultraviolet filter than a scratched camera lens.

Some stronger ultraviolet filters that filter heavier haze or higher ultraviolet levels can cut off some visible light in the violet part of the color spectrum, causing a yellowing effect on photos. Still, they do an even better job at preventing purple fringing. As a result, using this strong ultraviolet filter might require some color compensation when shooting a photo or during photo processing.

There is some controversy regarding the use of ultraviolet filters. On the plus side, it helps filter the ultraviolet rays that cause haziness and bluish hues, and it offers added lens protection. Opponents argue that added filters can cause flare which degrades photo quality. Another potential downside is that using a UV filter reduces the use of light-blocking lens hoods. This is because not all filters have threads to screw other accessories into, and adding a lens hood to a filter can result in brightness and color saturation problems.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.