The use of camera filters on ‘scope objectives

These days I often wear shooting glasses and have sets in clear, tinted and yellow and find they all work in certain scenarios albeit the tinted seem to be the least used. I see more and more competitions stipulating that eye protection is mandatory and this cannot be a bad thing. Personally, I use the shooting glasses for a couple of reasons, firstly safety, I wear ear protection so why not eye protection. We only come with one set of eyes as we do ears so best to look after them.

The clear lenses are a level of protection between myself and the firearm, OK I accept a set of shooting or safety glasses is not going to act as true ballistic protection however it might just make the difference if things went terribly pear shaped.

With the gloomy UK weather a set of yellow glasses seems to make everything brighter which given the age of my eyes is a perceived advantage plus it seems to give better contrast between the black and the white of the target.

The tinted shooting glasses, well I seem to remember that was an August Saturday about three years ago 🙂

Anyway the use of coloured shooting glasses set me thinking, I always fit a 1A Skylight filter to new camera lenses to act as a protective screen as they are easier to inspect and clean, this practice stems back to the good old days of SLR roll films and my Father always ran his cameras with a Skylight filter,  I simply continued the practice. These days the Viking has numerous filters for her MF (Medium Format) Roll film cameras, being quite honest I am not sure if this is down to my influence or something of her own doing. Having said this I just checked her ‘Go To’ camera, a clunky old Mamiya RB67 Pro SD and the fitted lens is devoid of any filter, I have no idea what the lens is however I suspect it would do significant damage if dropped on a foot…

So why not use a filter on a ‘scope? Something I soon forgot until it came up in conversation and I had to source a set for a rifle build. Finding them was not so difficult however I still had no direct experience of something on the end of a ‘scope for myself.

Certainly the filter would not act as a replacement for shooting glasses however it could offer an initial layer of protection for the objective plus filters of a reasonable quality should give good clarity and definition. I was primarily thinking about yellow however there is always the option of using a polarising filter correctly adjusted as well. These days you can source camera filters in just about every conceivable thread size so fitting on the vast majority of ‘scopes should not be a problem.

I would be interested to hear of anyone’s experience or observations on the subject. TR shooters have been using filters for years so why not extend this to glass.


2 Replies to “The use of camera filters on ‘scope objectives”

  1. Filters have been a long and controversial subject in photography as you probably know. There are 2 distinct camps. Those who use them and swear by them and those that suggest adding another layer of glass (whatever the quality) cuts down available light transmission. Science backs up the latter but to what degree does the reduction effect the final outcome? Personally I have found no noticeable difference when using a good quality filter in terms of light transmission. My camera certainly can’t tell the difference as it has no effect on f stop values between the two. I’m sure there are times when using a scope that slightly lower light transmission would be a negative. That is why people pay 3 grand for a scope instead of 300 quid. Improved light transmission. The guys that shelled out 3k may be dubious about screwing a piece of glass onto the end of it. My opinion is that daytime shooters are being sucked in by marketing hype when it comes to light transmission. If you hunt at dawn and dusk I can understand the need for every available photon but if your laying on century at 8.30am then it just won’t offer any benefit. Scopes do operate at higher mags than most standard camera lenses. Higher mag will obviously reduce light transmission and increase imperfections noticeable in glass. I would certainly be interested to see the results of your experiments in this area. I love filters for no other reason than the protection they offer to the very expensive glass underneath. Better to replace a filter than the whole lens so I hope its a viable option.

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