When it comes to choosing a lens, especially a prime lens, there’s no doubt there are lots of options on the market to choose from. The 49mm filter thread is not the most common these days, being more numerous in the film world or being found on small prime lenses.
49mm filters, just like their larger counterparts, come in a vast array of options, with some being more obscure than others. No matter if you have an old school lens or something more current, commonly used filters for both film and digital cameras come in the form of UV or Circular Polarizing filters.
UV filters don’t just cut out unwanted UV rays, but also act as front element protectors. While Circular Polarizing filters reduce reflections, enhance the contrast in skies while also being variable by turning the filter to increase or reduce the effect.
Thus, let’s have a closer look at the more commonly used 49mm filters. These filters are also a good choice if you’ve never dived into this world before, with most options being affordable and of good quality.
1. B+W 49mm UV Haze MRC 010M Filter (Overall Winner)
B+W has a solid reputation for producing quality filters, with the B+W 49mm UV Haze MRC 010M filter being no different. It boasts a MRC nano-coating, which is essentially 16 layers of protection against dust and moisture, and is made from Schott glass for improved clarity.
This 49mm filter also has an F-Pro brass filter ring for durability, while also claiming a 99.8% light transmission and the ability to reduce blue casts in daylight. This filter fits solidly onto the front of a lens and provides crisp and sharp images across the frame.
There’s no ghosting of flaring exhibited, simply crystal clear images. The protective coating does a fine job of keeping away unwanted moisture.
Hoya is another well-regarded filter brand, with a range of products ranging from the cost-effective to relatively high-priced. The Hoya 49mm Alpha MC UV filter is inexpensive while also offering great front element protection and UV light filtering.
The filter ring is made from aluminum, with a multicoating to reduce reflections and allows up to 96% of light transmission. When using this filter, images are rendered clear and as intended, without any light loss.
The multicoating does a reasonable job of repelling moisture, but most importantly, this filter acts as a great lens protector, without adding any types of cast to an image.
One thing’s for sure when buying ZEISS products, you will be guaranteed high-quality optics, but generally at a higher price point than the rest. This is the case with the ZEISS 49mm T* UV filter, which may cost more than the rest, but also has the renowned ZEISS T* anti-reflective coating.
This 49mm filter doesn’t just absorb ultraviolet light, but it also reduces the blue casts from daylight, without additional coloration. This filter is solidly made, with a slim profile for wide-angle lenses. In use, the filter shows no sign of vignetting and produces a natural clear image, exactly as intended.
There are cheaper filters on the market, which is why the ZEISS doesn’t hit the top spot. But if you don’t mind the higher price point, this is a fantastic UV filter and front of lens protector for 49mm lenses.
Many camera brands produce their own range of filters, some better than others. The FUJIFILM Protector Filter 49mm was recommended to us and as it turns out, it is a superb protecting filter. This is a simple, clear filter with a multicoating to reduce the likes of lens flares and improve overall light transmission.
The ring is made from aluminum and while it’s not very low profile, it’s a very solid fit to the front of the lens. The filter acts as a great protector against outside elements and does an excellent job of repelling water and dust.
Images are very neutral looking with the filter attached and while it’s in the higher price bracket, it does provide peace of mind that you’re getting high-quality glass which won’t impede image quality.
The Sony 49mm MC Protecting filter is another high-priced offering, with the standout features being the Zeiss T* coating and very high-quality glass. The filter has a slim profile making it applicable for wide-angle lenses, while also being a smooth and solid fit to a front lens element.
In many ways your mostly paying for the Zeiss T* coating with this filter, but you are also getting the peace of mind of quality glass, which is a pre-requisite for non tainted images on an expensive lens. This filter is an expensive proposition, but for those who are swayed by the ZEISS multicoating, the Sony is a good option.
6. Tiffen 49mm UV Protector Filter (Budget Winner)
The Tiffen 49mm UV Protector filter represents great value for money while also providing a good neutral protector for the front of a lens. The filter provides no additional coloration or contrast but features basic moisture resistance.
There is no loss of image quality with this filter and the only real negative point is a slight increase in lens flaring in very low light conditions. The filter also feels very robust and quality made, which considering its low price point is a definite plus. For those out there who want a cost-effective solution and very good front element protection, the Tiffen is a worthwhile choice.
Summary of the Best 49mm Filters
The list above should provide you with a good range of expensive to cost-effective 49mm filters. With all the examples acting as great front element protectors, along with being good UV filters in some cases.
Which option you choose will be largely dependent on your quality of lens. But, in every case, it’s always better to spend that little bit more on a quality filter for simpler the peace of mind that light entering the lens isn’t degraded in any way.
Respected filter manufacturers are usually a pre-requisite, as there are very cheap filter examples on the market, but they are never up to the standards of even the cheapest branded models.
Although lens protectors and UV filters are a hotly debated topic, especially in the digital world, you can’t beat the peace of mind of a quality piece of glass protecting your expensive lens.