Circular Polarizers and digital photography

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by erichsande, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. I got into photography in 1997, as 35mm film gear was in its last great years. A circular polarizer was one of the must-haves and they were not cheap in those days. When I first acquired a zoom with 62mm threads in 1999, I'm pretty sure I paid ~US$60.00 for a Tiffen from B&H.

    I was just going through my gadgets & filters and no longer need a 67mm polarizer. Found that it sells for $26.50 now at B&H. Kind of hard to sell something online that can be had new for so little.

    I haven't been very active in photography for awhile but are polarizers still valid? I suppose the reflection reduction is still unique but saturation can be done on the computer and their current price doesn't suggest that they are money-makers anymore.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  2. Yes, they are still valid. Reflection reduction can be important. It is probably the only filter I still use. If you buy a premium brand with good anti reflection and brass construction you will pay more than 26 dollars. I would hang on to it and do some experimenting. Even in the world of digital, polarized light is polarized light and can best be tamed in the camera I believe.
  3. I never had a problem with Tiffen's quality and it's too late in the game to prove that one of the high-priced offerings during the film years would have made a slide frame look better.

    I do see that there are very high priced polarizers out there, up to $400. I'm happy with the old Tiffens I still have.

    Eric Sande
  4. Gup

    Gup Gup

    I use my Nikon polarizing filter all the time. It still serves the same purpose on my DSLR as it did on my SLRs and I paid $240 for it 15 years ago. I was delighted at the price! My Hasselblad filters were almost twice that. Rather than buy them for all my lenses, though, I instead bought adapters which work well except then the original light shades no longer fit. I wear a large brimmed hat that doubles as a light shade when needed.
  5. As said, the reflections that you cut with polarizers in film are still there in digital, and you can still make the sky look more blue(if other conditions are right). You can't "see through" reflections in post the way you can with a polarizer, and if reflections cause you to blow a highlight that's also probably not something that you can fix.

    I know some folks who use NDs more with digital than they did with film. Folks who used to use ASA 50 or 64 slide film now are working with a digital camera that has a base ISO of 100 or 200. For folks who used to use print film, digital is a lot less tolerant of overexposure than print film(although this is something that has improved in the past few years. A polarizer can be used instead of a standard ND in a pinch(I don't carry NDs).

    In addition, I seem to see a lot more folks using grad NDs these days, and there again digital has historically been a bit cramped for dynamic range although again this is something that has improved recently.

    Then you still have the "clear lenscap" type filter, although I think most folks have settled on a plain UV. I routinely use a skylight filter with slide film(if I'm not using something stronger like an 81-series) but there's no reason to use any kind of colored filter in this role with digital.

    Those are your major digital filters, though. Color correction is just as easily done with a white balance adjustment either in camera or in PP. If you're doing B&W from a digital original, it's usually best to shoot it in color and then replicate the effect of colored filters.

    All the old special effects filters like stars, soft focus, vignettes, and what have you really are, IMO, best done in post processing. Were I inclined to use one(I've never really been so inclined) I'd prefer the better control offered by doing them in post and I prefer still having the unmolested original.
  6. I find it difficult to see polarizer effects in an electronic viewfinder. It seems to automatically compensate for exposure and contrast. The actual image does what itโ€™s supposed to do.

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