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Saturday, 23 October 2010


There are some rather heated discussions on forums on the use of filters as protection for lenses. And sure enough, someone has already used this one as an example to point out how wise the use of a protective filter can be:

Somehow I would be more worried about the alignment of my entire camera after something like this. And even that would just take back seat to catering the remains of my nose and eyebrow i think.

Wait for it. It will probably show up on one of ESPN's "Top 10" videos this weekend. Was it a whole bat, or one that shattered? The cameraman is pretty lucky in either case.

So the moral is...

Always use a UV filter to protect the front lens element?

I am a bit confused. If that is truly the front element of the lens, it shouldn't be able to focus properly after being broken in this manner. However, I did see the shots broadcast from that camera during the game after the break, and one could see the cracks in the glass, the hole in the glass, and more importantly, the sharp as a tack batter (or whatever the cameraman was aiming at) through the hole --

    where the glass was totally missing.

All of that leads me to believe that what was broken was something akin to a UV filter not unlike what so many of us have on out DSLR lenses. If it was the actual front element of the lens,

    the object seen through the hole, where the glass was missing, should not have been in focus.

If it is a filter of some sort,it would make a heck of an argument for using something like a UV filter all the time. Stuff does happen. Although, $20,000 for a UV filter is pretty steep.

That is why there is prepaid insurance policies for such devices; a freak accident for sure.
No doubt it was a smashing good view!

That's why God made ash trees...

The bat went further than the ball did - does that score you more points in mens' Rounders? ;)

There was another link at the URL you linked to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3zmnlLi41Q&feature=related It shows the same action, but a little more clearly, and includes a short piece through the lens of the broken camera. It seems it was the filter that was broken, not the lens itself.

@Jan Kusters:
That's hysterical. Someone actually advocates filters for this. On just the *front* of your lens just for for a freak accident like this...

A more reliable and relatively cheap solution for some peace of mind is called insurance. My policy also covers side impacts and swimming and the like. I'd love to see his filter match that.

There are more dangerous places for a photographer to be:
While you are there, have a look at picture 1 in that gallery, showing the same photographer. You don't want to be hit by one of those.

I don't think it was a "filter" I think it is just a clear piece of optical glass, the lens in inside a protective box.


Not as scary as shooting auto racing, back in the 1980s a TV cameraman shooting a drag race in Bowling Green, KY was getting a great image of a dragster's engine exploding, but didn't know that the blower (a GMC 651 I would guess) had been thrown into a trajectory would end at his shooting position. Very very unfortunate.

Good thing he wasn't using a video DSLR.

Damage to the front element of a lens may not have quite as drastic an effect on the image as you might think. See http://www.kurtmunger.com/dirty_lens_articleid35.html. [Be patient--the images might take a very long time to load. --Ed.] I also seem to remember another article on http://www.lensrental.com/, but that site seems to be unavailable at the moment.

Dear Pascal and Bryce,

Thanks for injecting a note of reality.

If one believes adding a filter unnecessarily degrades the image quality, then doing so to protect again a one in a billion freak accident is mondo stupid.

If one doesn't, it still may not make economic sense, depending on how many lenses one owns and how much insurance costs.

Remember, folks, you CAN be too careful. Care has its costs.

pax / Ctein

Thanks Peter Cameron for the shot from the damaged camera. Now there's a pro camera operator! He's tracking the player breaking for home. Then the broken bat smashes the outer element/filter. The camera operator pauses - just for a split second - before continuing to track his subject.

The show must go on!

In addition to the cost of replacing the element physically broken, there may be alignment issues throughout the camera when it's taken a hit like this. Especially if it's a three-sensor camera, which I believe a lot of pro-level video cameras are (splitting the light into separate red, green, and blue paths and giving each its own sensor); the alignment needed in the three paths is pretty precise.

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