Circular Polarizer

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by greg fight, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. I intend to buy a circular polarizer filter in 52mm for my 28, 35, and 50mm Nikkor lenses. I will use it mainly for fall scenics in North Carolina. I have always had good results with Hoya filters, however, B&W seem to be highly regarded, as well as the more expensive Nikon filter. I will be using my 12 MP D300, but I intend to get the 20MP D500 in the future. I want to choose a filter that will not degrade image quality. And, yes, I have researched the topic but a lot of the information about circular polarizers on the Internet is dated and/or inconclusive. So what are your recommendations? Hoya (possibly the Pro-1 digital multicoated), B&W (possibly the MRC or the Kaesemann High Transmission MRC), or the Nikon Circular Polarizer II?
  2. I've had good luck with Marumi in the past (highly rated,) and they're probably the best performance for the price. Since I do use a polarizer a lot, I went ahead and spent the bucks for a B+W Kasseman MRC -1.5 stop polarizer. It's very neutral in color and works well. I ended up buying two.
    Kent in SD
  3. Kent, did you notice any difference in image quality between the Murami and the B&W? Any difference in the quality of the filters themselves?
  4. Don't get the one from Nikon. While optically it's fine, the effect on the sky is not very pronounced.
  5. When I shot Nikon (slr/dslr), I used Nikon filters and they were great. When I switched to Sony mirrorless, I bought B&W filters and have found them to also be great. You'll be happy with either.
    Happy shooting. cb :)
  6. At this point I am leaning towards one of the B&W filters. Thanks folks for your responses.
  7. All filters degrade image quality, badly if sunlight strikes the filter directly, even outside the field of view. Filters with multiple coatings reduce but do not completely eliminate this effect. A polarizer produces effects you can't emulate in software, but you have to balance the good and bad effects of any filter in practice. While the quality of manufacturing is important, the effectiveness of the coating is the most important consideration. Hydrophobic coatings are touted to stay cleaner, and do have less tendency to pick up dust, in my experience. They may repel water, but fog up like any other going from an air conditioned room to the humid outdoors.
    Hoya makes a wide range of filters, and those at the top seem to perform very well. The mounts are aluminum, which can gall and seize more easily than brass. Filters with sealed edges, notably Kaesemann filters, are a definite plus for longevity. B+W owns the Kaesemann brand name and technology. B+W is a division of Schneider.
    Nikon polarizers are wider than the filter mount, presumably to avoid vignetting. This, plus the name inflates the price. Most filters are threaded so that other filters can be stacked. So-called "thin" mounts omit this feature, and are less likely to vignette on wide angle lenses. The downside is that you can't attach a normal lens cap to "thin" filters. Slip-on caps are often supplied, but they slip off at inopportune moments.
  8. I've had good success w/ the Nikon Slim CPL II (77mm)
  9. Nikon polarizers are wider than the filter mount, presumably to avoid vignetting.​
    Once upon a time, but not today. Looking at Nikon pol filters on our site, for the 52, 58, 62, 67, 72 & 77 sizes we say, "Front/Rear Threads Same Size."
    Henry Posner
    B&H photo-Video
  10. Edward, thanks for the detailed response. Whichever filter I choose, Hoya or B+W (I don't think there is anything to be gained by spending more for the Nikon filter) I will make sure to pick a higher-end model with good multicoating. I don't require a thin filter - the widest lens I will use it on is a 28mm on a DX body, and I won't be stacking filters. And I will make sure it has threads in the front for the Nikon OEM lens cap. I like the idea of the brass mounts on the B+W. That's probably what I will choose for 52mm. when I'm ready for a 77mm I may go for a little lower priced Hoya.
  11. Henry, I'll be placing an order with B&H soon.
  12. I recently picked up a Hoya Pro1 (which has the improved transmission that I guess is also a feature of at least one of the B+W options - it gets closer to the theoretical 1-stop loss of a polariser than cheaper options). Generally I'm happy and it's been robust (having dropped it...), though it wasn't ridiculously cheap (in 84mm size). It is a little tricky to get off the lens - my fingers can grab it, but it shreds a nail before it rotates - so Edward's advice about brass threads and binding may be accurate. I've not compared with an alternative other than cheap off-brand options - I used one a lot on my recent holiday (on a 24-70), but in the UK I don't normally have enough daylight to make massive use of one, and I'm often doing landscapes on a 14-24 that won't take the polariser (or use one sanely) anyway. I had an IR filter for my holiday that turned up rattling in its ring, so my standards for "acceptable filter" are pretty low right now.
  13. The Hoya is just fine. I doubt that you'd notice anything better optically from the undeniably better constructed B+W.
    The catch with "one size fits all" idea is that it makes it nearly impossible to use the large filters with lens hoods, arguably more needed when filters are tacked on the front of the lens. There's an argument for getting things that actually fit.
    BTW, it's B+W,not B&W.
    Also, you can get circular polarizing filters for practically nothing on eBay. You might try one of the cheapies before you invest in a more expensive filter. I can't resist shiny cheap things (awk, caw), and have found some of these to be astonishingly good for their price. When I'm "serious" I use the better ones, of course. But try getting B+W or Hoya in red or blue metal mounts!
  14. JDM: right you are-good catch! cb :)
  15. AJG


    I own both higher end Hoya and B+W circular polarizers, and to my eye, the B+W is a bit more neutral in color compared to the Hoyas that run slightly green. That said, this is an easy fix in Photoshop, not a major problem. I haven't had any problems with either brand with attaching/removing filters from my lenses.
  16. B+W also have high transmission CP's. They are noticeably lighter viewed in the box (where light passes through twice from the top), but I don't have a number on the effect. Low end Hoya filters are questionable optically, but their high end filters are excellent. B+W starts where Hoya leaves off.
    Once upon a time, all filters were 52 mm (Nikon) or 77 mm (Nikon). Now with a Sony system, I have filters from 39 mm to 82 mm, and each new lens seems to be different. Now I need time to get outside and put them to use. I shop B&H (not B+H) pretty consistently, but you may find better prices on filters if you can find a trusted source. I have a thing about gambling, which includes everything from slots in the Vegas airport to the 'bay.
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The old, oversized Nikon polarizer is ancient history. See this discussion from 10 years ago, showing the difference between old and "new," which was new a decade ago but not so much any more:
    As long as you get multi-coated, circular polarizers, I doubt that you'll see a whole lot of difference among the major brands. The higher-end Hoya should be fine. Some high-end B+W filters can be more expensive than Nikon filters.
  18. As long as you get multi-coated, circular polarizers, I doubt that you'll see a whole lot of difference among the major brands.​
    As a user of several of the top brands, I used to think that. The B+W Kasseman (-1.5 stop loss) really is different. It's a bit more subtle, and I think more natural looking.

    Kent in SD
  19. Go with Hoya or B+W, I own the Nikon version and agree with David Edan above, it's weak... Mike
  20. Also, you can get circular polarizing filters for practically nothing on eBay.​
    You can get a lot of filters for low prices, many brand new from China. (Some even mailed from China.) I bought an IR 720 filter to play around with IR with a DSLR, and also to try with some IR film. Just for fun, and not enough fun to be worth the more expensive ones.

    I have polarizers in a few sizes, and don't get as much use out of them as I might expect. Sometimes I just forget to try them. I do remember using one at Yellowstone some years ago, and finding that rainbows are polarized the same as water reflections. If you reduce the water reflection, the rainbow goes away. But the other way, you can increase the rainbow!
  21. I, like you took the approach that this was to me a one shot get the best bang for the buck filter not to look back. I researched filter test results to find that B&W yielded best test results and found in my case an 82mm Kaesemann MRC Slim. It's the best. It's expensive. One shot!
  22. One thing I've learned over the years is that polarizers seem to be somewhat vulnerable. I've gone through quite a few. Early on, I would get in a hurry and stick the filter in a pocket rather than its case. Coated filters and keys, coins, and Swiss Army knife don't play well together. Another time I was right at the edge of Dettifoss (huge waterfall in Iceland) and reached into my shirt pocket to pull out my sunglasses. I caught of a glimpse of my 77mm Hoya SMC polarizer rolling off my pant leg and heading for the abyss below. I managed to squelch my urge to lunge for it. Anyway, while I have become MUCH more careful with polarizers (got tired of taking hundred dollar hits,) I don't see any of them as being permanent "residents" in my camera bag. I have been forcing myself to ALWAYS put them back into their case immediately after taking them off a lens. Maybe the two I have now will do a bit better in the actuarial tables.
    I don't really see the B+W as the "best bang for the buck"--that implies it's the best value. I think the Marumi multicoated polarizers are that. However, I do think the B+W low loss polarizers are the best for preserving shutter speed and look a bit more natural to my eye. Haven't tried those really premium Tiffens, but those are clearly out of my price range. Also not a good idea for a guy who stands at the edge of scary waterfalls either.
    Kent in SD
  23. Kent, I'm glad you resisted the urge to lunge after that filter! Folks, I appreciate your valuable advice. I think one of the B+W filters will suit me just fine, and, in 52mm, won't break the bank. In the future, if I decide in need one in 77mm, I may go with a Hoya to save a few bucks and I'm sure it will be satisfactory. (I don't think it's practical to adapt a 77mm filter to my smaller lenses.)
  24. Henry, I'll be placing an order with B&H soon.​
    Thank you.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  25. As a user of several of the top brands, I used to think that. The B+W Kasseman (-1.5 stop loss) really is different. It's a bit more subtle, and I think more natural looking.
    All pol filters are a sandwich -- a piece of pol materiel between two slices of glass. In general the difference between a Kasseman and the less expensive type is the Kasseman is edge sealed to reduce the chance dust or moisture can get between the inner glass surface and the pol materiel. If the glass is the same and the pol materiel is the same, edge sealing (i.e. Kasseman) should have no impact on image or image quality. YMMV
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  26. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    It looks like prices for the B+W Kasseman polarizers have come down. If I remember correctly, a few years ago, a larger one (77mm, 82mm) would cost several hundred dollars. Today, they seem to be in line with the higher-end Hoya and Nikon filters of the same diameter.
    BTW, the camera store is B&H, but the filter brand is B+W. There is a plus sign, not B&W. However, B&W is a brand of audio speakers: Bowers & Wilkins in addition to black and white photography.
  27. To B? or not to B?
  28. i wonder if i can tack on a polariser question? i find it incredibly difficult to find the dark spot on circular polarisers. Im
    using a D810 with a nisi polariser, often to reproduce paintings. i know it works (I can turn it to black out the tv screen) but
    presented with a painting or a simple shiny surface, i find the circular polariser verydifficult to use. my old linear polarisers
    used to have a remarkablyclear cut off point. anyone else have this issue?

    apologies for orthography, im writing on an iphone

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