Oh how important a simple polarizer filter is...I had my camera attached to the tripod & it fell to the floor...glass everywhere.I went into panic mode and called my friends at my Photo shop.They told me to check to see if it was the Tamron lens or merely the filter.Yeah, it was just the filter!I was so glad it wasn't my 300mm Tamron lens!I immdiately drove the 18 miles to my camera store and replaced it.Please realize how important filter can be not only for its original purpose but it could save that expensive lens!
I'm glad your lens is OK. Have you considered a lens hood for protection?
I'm not a fan of filters for protection. Most people grab a UV filter since they actually served a purpose with film, but they do little for digital. And they can degrade image quality, contrast, affect sharpness and cause flare. A lens hood can provide much of the same protection to the front element of your lens without degrading image quality. A good quality filter that has minimal impact on an image will cost you a couple of hundred dollars and at that point, it becomes a question of is it worth it for the lens and would you rather spend a fraction of that money on a hood that actually serves a purpose. It's a choice that everyone has to make for themselves though and a topic that divides photographers as people are passionate about it on both sides.
Certain filters, like polarizers and neutral density filters do affect the image in ways you can't reproduce in editing. And those are nice to have in my bag and I buy one good quality filter to fit my largest size lens and step down rings for the rest. But I wouldn't use those for protection since not only are they not effects I'd want all the time, they also slow the lens down.
Oh Bev1 I am so glad that it wasn't your lens but the filter.
Photo chick - Thank you for saying these filters are not effective on digital as they were for film. I was so frustrated with the expense polarizing lens I bought when I first got my dslr. It was so drummed into my head from the film days I didn't even think not to purchase one. I have hardly used it after seeing how much it messed me up.
I should be better about the hood and it is a good tip to have some sort of protection on the camera! My other tip is always use the strap preferably around your neck. I have seen so many people with nice cameras not use the strap and walk into something as they are focusing. Accident waiting to happen.
Polarizers are actually one of the filters that DO work with digital just as they do with film. They block reflected light and that cannot be replicated in post production. They're great if you're taking a picture of someone with glasses. They can make the sky more blue if there's a lot of moisture in the atmosphere that's bouncing sunlight around. They can also diminish reflections on windows or off water.
UV filters are the standard filter people leave on thier lenses all the time and they don't do anything really with digital like they did with film because UV rays don't affect digital like they did film.