How to use polarizing filters

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How to use polarizing filters

Postby Gordon Laing » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:50 pm

Hi everyone, we've published a guide to using polarizing filters over at DSLR Tips!

If you have any questions about this workshop, polarizing filters in general, or examples you'd like to share taken with a polarizer, please do so on this thread!

As always, our usual image guidelines apply - since this thread is likely contain multiple images, please keep the image size to 800 pixels wide or below.

Thanks,

Gordon
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Postby popo » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:41 pm

Coincidently I was playing with a polariser the other day :) I was trying to capture the cloud colours as the sun was setting. No post processing apart from resize.

Image
16mm, 1/30s, f/4.5, ISO125, -1 EV

Image
16mm, 1/30s, f/4.5, ISO250, -1 EV

Not exactly a before and after, but the bottom pic was adjusted to give the most contrast. The top pic is with the filter set about 90 degrees from that, so had about minimum effect if any.

These demonstrate several of the items in the workshop. Firstly, you'll note the vignetting in the top right corner. The lens is normally vignetting by itself at 16mm, so any add in filter makes it worse. At least it is hidden in the darkness in the other locations.

In the bottom pic you can also see the variation in darkness at wide angle as mentioned in the workshop. But note the clouds are much richer in colour, showing much more detail than before.

As a final comment, I did notice the colour balance changing on liveview as I rotated the filter. I didn't fix it, and left it on auto.

Next time I'll have to get the tripod out and have a go at HDR :D
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Postby thestig2010 » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:50 am

anybody have any suggestion for the best quality CPL filter?

I've got a Quantaray Professional Series CPL, and i know it's not brilliant. I've heard B+W filters are really good...

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Postby Gordon Laing » Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:10 am

Hoya Pro HMC polarisers are pretty good...
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Postby Bob Andersson » Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:40 am

.
and I have a couple of Kaesemann (also known as Käsemann) CPLs which I'm pleased with.

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Postby DD_nVidia » Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:47 am

great video Gordon.

I've been thinking about buying some, but at the time I had various filter sizes, now most of my lenses are 77mm, so I'll definately look into getting one!

Also, is it possible to put the Polorizer infront of the UV filter on a cropped frame body like the 40D without causing ant noticeable vingetting? IF so, would it decrease the image quality by any noticeable amount?
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Postby thomasrichards » Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:58 am

hi Gordon,

great review, but you left out a useful piece of info... the best result comes from when the lens is pointed perpendicular to the sun.

this would be useful to those you are completely new to filters :)
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Postby popo » Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:55 am

Just a thought, would a "step up" filter adapter help prevent vignetting? I only have one so far so I can use my 62mm filters on my 55mm lens. It looks quite shallow, and if wide enough should buy a fair amount of space. Only downside of course is you'll need bigger filters...
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Postby Cheezbrgr » Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:11 pm

Newb question: Can a CPL filter replace a lens hood?
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Postby DD_nVidia » Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:06 pm

[i dont think it would reduce flare and such *that* much lol]

If i fire a flashgun into it, it's still gonna flare =)
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Postby Gordon Laing » Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:05 pm

Daniel, I wouldn't recommend stacking filters simply becuase the more optical elements the light has to pass through, the greater the impact on quality. And as you suspect, vignetting also becomes more of an issue. So when using a polariser, I'd recommend removing any other filters.

Popo, a step-up adapter might help with vignetting depending on its design. They can be handy anyway as you could buy just one polariser to match your biggest lens, then use step-down adapters to fit it to your other lenses. (Someone else provided this tip!)

Hi Thomasrichards, you're right, but I try to keep these tips relatively simple, so that's whay I left it at saying the effect can vary depending on your position in relation to the sun. I'm hoping people will try pointing their camera and polariser at the sun, then with the sun to the side and then with the sun behind them to see which has the best effect.

Cheezbrgr, they're no replacement for a lens hood, but you may have to remove the lens hood to operate them easily - so you'll also have to become proficient at shielding the front of the lens with your hand! But then the Sun is normally to the side or behind you when using a polariser, so flare is rarely an issue.
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Postby thomasrichards » Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:36 am

Gordon Laing wrote:Hi Thomasrichards, you're right, but I try to keep these tips relatively simple, so that's whay I left it at saying the effect can vary depending on your position in relation to the sun.


woops... missed that part :oops: :lol:
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Polarizer

Postby LOWEZAHN » Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:11 am

The following is a photo of St. John's Trunk Bay. My question is, what is the fringing on the trees in the distance, is that ISO noise, or was this caused by the polarizer?

Thanks for any input...

Image


Camera Sony Alpha 200
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Postby grahamnp » Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:24 am

Those are JPEG compression artefacts. If you used JPEG fine or RAW and saved as a high quality JPEG, they shouldn't be there.

It could also be Flickr's compression algorithm that is causing that Are you using Flickr?
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-1 EV?

Postby robackja » Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:05 am

If the polarizer is going lessen the light by 1-2 stops, why do you recommend setting a -2/3 or -1 EV? Isn't that going to just make the exposure even darker?

cheers
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