Podcast Episode

The Lensrentals Podcast Episode #48 – Ask Lensrentals: Filters, Finances, and the Future

Published September 30, 2021

Each week Roger Cicala, founder of Lensrentals.com, hosts conversations about the art and science of capturing images. From photography to videography, film, history, and technology, the show covers a wide range of topics to educate and inspire creators of all kinds.


Ask Lensrentals: Filters, Finances, and the Future

Ryan, Roger, and Joey are back with more of your questions, and some of our own too. Ranging from where to eat when visiting New Orleans to what cameras and lenses and optical arts will look like 50 years from now, we’re coving a wide range of topics with mostly questions about lenses in the middle.

One of the many topics discussed is our rental policy, which the team breaks down in easy-to-understand terms. Does the rental process start when I place the order, or when I receive the item? In short, the rental terms don’t include transit times – so your rental process starts when you sign for the package, and ends when it’s dropped back off at a shipment center. Among the other topics are the team’s thoughts on UV filters, and how they negatively affect lens sharpness, and how you need to manage that risk with the cost of a front element replacement if your lens was to break. We also discuss how to properly format memory cards, the broad differences in wide-angle lenses and telephoto lenses in portrait photography, and what we expect to see in future lenses.

Mentioned on the episode:

Blog Posts About Filters:

Gear Mentioned In this Episode:


1:05 – Well, we’re obviously getting comfortable being back in the studio because we’re starting off with a round-up of everyone’s shirts.

2:35 – Several people wanted to know what is the correct day to ship a rental back? The day it’s over, or beforehand so we get it on that day? Does the rental time start when you get your order or when we ship it? Answer: Your rental starts when you get it and ends when you send it back, we don’t charge you for the time in transit.

3:50 – LR Pro Tip: When do we charge for rental orders? When it’s placed, when it’s confirmed, or when it ships? The day it ships!
Crucial to know: We don’t charge cancelation or restocking fees. If you’re planning for a shoot 3 months in the future and think you need 15 Sony FS7’s you can order that day, change it as many times as you want, even cancel it (as long as you cancel before it ships), and at no point are you going to be charged. It’s the best way to make sure you’re reserving the equipment you need.

6:00 – UV vs clear glass filters, why do we use filters, and do each of the guys use them with their own gear? Roger reveals that when Lensrentals began we didn’t use UV filters because at that time font elements were often just a flat piece of glass ranging $60-80. About six years ago that changed, when replacing a front element on most modern lenses could cost around half the price of the lens.

8:55 – Joey mentions an ongoing mystery we haven’t solved yet involving the Sony 200-600mm’s and filters possibly affecting AF performance and resolution.

9:30 – Rule of thumb from Roger is, if you’re under 100mm, you’re almost never going to see an adverse effect from a filter, but in longer lenses, you might. That doesn’t mean don’t use filters. It means when you notice something that doesn’t seem quite right, take the filter off and try again.

10:55 – We’ve replaced just a few front elements over the years…

11:15 – If the “sweet spot” for sharpness with a zoom is 2-4 stops from its widest aperture, is the sweet spot of the performance, including sharpness (a word we really try not to use) vignetting and other distortions toward the wide or far end of the zoom range? Roger wrote an article a decade ago discussing how to test a lens.

12:40 – Break

13:30 – Are there specific lenses that work best in specific lighting conditions? Short answer, yes. For beginners to better understand why, we break down what differentiates a “fast” from a “slow” lens.

16:10 – Why do some people use wide-angle lenses for some portraits and others use short telephoto lenses? We skip the internet arguing, disagree with each other, and talk through the rationale behind using each.

19:45 – Is swapping memory cards between different camera bodies a risk to your data? Or is this Big Storage trying to get more money out of all of us? Please, for the love of everything, format between uses. If you take a card from a 5D and then put it in a Nikon Z without formatting it, it can definitely lead to problems. Even if you’re only using your card in one camera over and over, format it every time you start a shoot.

23:40 – Do we rent split diopter lenses? For all 2 of you wondering, we do! And if you don’t know what we’re talking about and want to, you can read up here.

24:45 – And to end on a fun one, what kind of camera equipment will people be renting in 50 years? We air our theories and are depending on time travelers to let us know if we got it right!


The Lensrentals Podcast is a production of Lensrentals, founded by Roger Cicala. Our production staff includes Drew Cicala, Ryan Hill, Sarah McAlexander, SJ Smith, Julian Harper, John Tucker, and Zach Sutton. Other contributors include Roger Cicala, Joey Miller, Ally Aycock Patterson, Joshua Richardson, and Philip Robertson.

Thanks to Jacques Granger for our theme song.

Submit a topic idea, question, or comment, leave us a voicemail at 901-609-LENS, or send us an email at podcast@lensrentals.com.


Author: Lensrentals

Articles written by the entire editorial and technical staff at LensRentals.com. These articles are for when there is more than one author for the entire post, and are written as a community effort.

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