Circular Polarizer Filter Options

photoling Posts: 457 Points: 1743
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2018 11:14:20 AM

Having a good cicular polarizer filter is neccesary for you if you will be shooting a lot outdoors. A circular polarizer filter cuts glare and reflections, allowing deep, natural colors to show through with great saturation. This effect is perhaps most noticed in blue skies where white clouds will pop from the darkened blue skies. So polarizing filters are a must when photographing waterfalls or other wet scenery with vegetation.

The most common use for a pola is to cut reflections off of car windows. When you are driving down the road, nasty glare can affect just how much you see the faces inside the vehicle. By using a pola, you can choose exactly how much reflection you want to keep of overhanging trees or buildings on your windshield, or you can choose to eliminate all reflection to see deeper in the vehicle.

photoling Posts: 457 Points: 1743
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2018 11:31:12 AM

This is not a filter that most people leave on a lens all the time – CP filters are not used in all photography situations. As just discussed, there is less light reaching the sensor, so I seldom use a CP filter when shooting action and/or in low light. I generally do not use CP filters for portrait photography.

Polarizing filters reduce the exposure by about two stops, for example, if the exposure was f/11 at /125th sec without the filter it will be f/11 at 1/30th sec with one fitted, soo you should watch your shutter speed when shooting with a polarizer hand-held. Due to light loss, you should also use a polarizing filter only when needed.

photoling Posts: 457 Points: 1743
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2018 1:03:49 PM

In low light or days when the sun is filtered by clouds, the filter will have no effect, other than to reduce the amount of light entering your lens.  Typically, a circular polarizer will cost you 1 to 2 stops of light so under those conditions, you should remove the filter.  But on bright, sunny days, a CP filter can be really effective.

I say “can be” because the sun needs to be shining on your subject at a 90 degree angle.  There’s an easy way to determine if your subject is in the optimum position: hold your finger as if it were a gun (like a child would), and point it at your subject.

With your thumb standing up at a 90 degree angle while you’re finger is pointing at the subject, see if you can rotate your wrist and point your thumb at the sun.  If you can, then the sun and your subject are at 90 degrees to one another.  In this photo, my finger is pointing at the birch trees, and my thumb is pointing at the sun to my left, so the trees are in a good position.  If the sun is approximately at 90 degrees, you can still get some effect from the filter, but if it’s way off, the effect will be little or none.  Worst case, if the sun is behind you or your subject, there will be no effect from the filter.

The pointed finger also is helpful to determine what subjects are at the correct location with respect to the sun: point you finger at the sun, and then rotate your wrist, so that your upright thumb travels in a circle.  Anything that your thumb points at will be at 90 degrees from the sun and will be able to benefit from the circular polarizer. 


photoling Posts: 457 Points: 1743
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2018 1:05:48 PM

The most important part of a CP filter is of course the glass and foil. This is what your image's light must pass through. Manufactured from Water-White Schott Glass, B+W's clarity is world class.

Aiding the clarity/transmissivity of the glass and highly recommended by me is multicoating. B+W's 7-layer MRC (Multi-Resistant coating) significantly improves light transmission and reduces flare/ghosting for improved contrast. "MRC by B+W is not only an extraordinarily effective multiple layer coating, it is also harder than glass. So that it protects filters from scratches, and it is also water and dirt repellent, thus facilitating filter maintenance." [Schneider Optics]

Being easier to clean also reduces the risk of scratching. The MRC coating causes water to bead off (the lotus effect) and the XS-Pro Nano version of this filter takes this feature one step further. The XS-Pro Nano includes an 8th coating layer. "The nanotechnology based characteristic (lotus effect) produces a better beading effect with water, making the cleaning of this filter even simpler and faster than ever before." [Schneider Optics]

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