Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jerry_milroy, Sep 30, 2009.
Do many of you use polarizing filters? Are they worth while getting?
I use a polarizer to cut down reflections in glass, etc. I don't particularly like how polarizers darken the sky. I shoot film exclusively, by the way.
Not to mention Water, it will eliminate sky reclection and you can see through the surface of water. you should try this filter by taking a picture of a glass window (As Vincent said) or standing water....Sky.... I have C-PL for all my lenses (52mm, 62mm, 67mm and 77mm). Also see if you can get a Moose warming C-PL...
I use polarizers a lot for outdoor shots. They help saturate color. I almost always use them for shots that have water in them. I buy the multi-coated ones to cut down on problems with flare/ghosting.
Kent in SD
If you're using an SLR or any camera where you can see the image through the shooting lens, a circular polarizer is very valuable. If you're using a rangefinder camera, a twin-lens reflex (relatively rare), or a small point-and-shoot camera where you're not looking at the scene through the lens, a polarizer is useless.
When you buy a circular polarizer you'll have to get one that matches the diameter of your lens' front element. If your lens has a diameter of 67mm, for instance, your polarizer will have to be the same size, or you won't be able to mount it. If you have numerous lenses of different sizes, you might have to buy multiple filters or some sort of step-down adapter.
Buy a good brand, not an el cheapo. B+W and Singh-Ray are a couple of good options, but there are others.
A polarizer with a slight warming filter added will work okay. Avoid any "color" polarizers or "color enhancing" polarizers. These are special effects filters that don't work well in most circumstances.
Polarizers offer the following capabilities:
1) Cut through haze (to some degree)
2) Make blue skies look more saturated (variable by how much you rotate the filter). This also can darken the sky enough to bring it closer to the brightness of the ground in many circumstances.
3) Diminish reflections on water, leaves, glass, etc.
4) Saturate colors (in some cases)
The polarization effect CANNOT be added in post-processing. If must be applied at the time of capture.
I find the use of Polorizing filters here in Hawaii to be indispensable.
Just remember, the effect is adjustable!
If someone looks at your images and asks if you used a polarizing filter, you dialed in too much effect.
Circular polariser is the one filter that cannot be faked in photoshop, so yeah, I consider it a must-have. Mainly for reflections (water/metal). The deeper saturation of the sky can be a nice bonus, but it's not the prime reason for me to grab the filter.
I've had a very cheap one, which had hardly any visible effect. I'm now using a B+W (77mm, with a step-down ring to 67mm so it fits on all lenses I want it for); it wasn't cheap but it works properly. So you get what you pay for - bargain CPs are better avoided.
Polarizer filters are great. I periodically use circular and linear types on SLR film cameras. They have limitations. In landscapes, they work only if the clear sun is about 90 degrees to the camera view. They will not work well with overcast skies. Avoid using polarizers on lenses wider than 28mm, or the sky will not be evenly darkened. Autofocus will not work well if the taking lens' maximum aperture is f/5.6, and a polarizer is placed in front of it. In that case, manual focus only.
If you are looking for blue skies, you can capture that natural blue without using a polarizer. But, if you seek that nice, saturated red Utah sandstone rock formation color, by all means use a polarizer. You can preview the effect, and remember, all filters should be used only if you absolutely need the effect.
Dan South wrote:
"If you're using a rangefinder camera, a twin-lens reflex (relatively rare), or a small point-and-shoot camera where you're not looking at the scene through the lens, a polarizer is useless."
Dan, you offered some good information. However, it's quite possible to use polarizing filters with these kinds of cameras. Many if not most polarizers have a white dot on the rotating ring. Hold the filter over the lens, and then simply orient the toward the sun for maximum polarization.
More rare than a twin-lens reflex: a double polarizing filter (I wish I had one), one for each lens; they rotate in tandem, of course.
m allegretta wrote:
"They will not work well with overcast skies."
I don't think this is so, based on years of personal experience. Polarizers definitely cut through glare in water and will also saturate colors, even when skies are overcast.
Several posters have mentioned that polarizers can cut through the glare in water. I don't disagree.
However, I've discovered that I can seriously reduce the apparent effect of glare with Photoshop (or any other similar program - I usually employ Aperture with my Mac computer).
Specifically, I use the contrast and brightness controls, upping the former and decreasing the latter. Sometimes it allows me to look right through what appears to be total glare, to view, say, rocks beneath the surface of water.
Why not just use a polarizer? There are times when I don't need or want to carry anything more than I have to. I often prefer just keeping it simple, and sometimes that just means leaving the polarizer at home or in the car. That might mean passing up a shot, or spending time with it in my computer rather than in the field.
Anyway, as good as a polarizer is at cutting glare with water, there are some ways around it.
If you take any pictures involving the sky, especially with clouds, I would suggest that you get a circular polarizer.
I leave mine on my 50mm during 90% of daytime shots; they will make clouds have more complexity and detail. It's an effect that is hard to mimic in Photoshop, and I prefer to do most of my editing *before* I press the shutter button.
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