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Questions on circular polarizer
  
 
Herb
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Questions on circular polarizer


When is it best to use a circular polarizer and when is it least advised?

Best way to adjust?

Do you have any photos you can share that you have taken that might show the benefits with and without. Best examples would be the same photo with only the difference being the addition or deletion of the polarizer.

Thank you in advance!



Sep 06, 2017 at 06:12 PM
dmcphoto
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Questions on circular polarizer


It depends what you're shooting. They darken blue sky the most when the sun is at perpendicular to the lens. For that reason it's often a bad idea to use them on wide angle lenses because the sky will not be uniform. For instance, if the sun is perpendicular to the lens the sky will be darker in the middle of the image than at the left and right ends.

Polarizers can sometimes make the sky too dark, almost black. That's fine if you want it for effect, not so fine otherwise.

Polarizers reduce (depending on angle to the surface) glare and reflections from various surfaces like water, glass, plants, asphalt and nearly anything else except metal. For metal the light illuminating the object must also be polarized, which it never is outside. For other materials it intensifies colors by removing surface glare and reflections.

Polarizers can reduce haze by reducing light reflected from tiny water droplets and particles in the air.

Polarizers reduce light entering the lens so they are often ill advised when high shutter speeds are needed.

edit: I always adjust them by looking through the viewfinder and turning the polarizer for the desired effect.

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of at the moment. Good luck!



Sep 06, 2017 at 06:34 PM
hotdog12
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Questions on circular polarizer


In the right light, a quality CPL is extremely useful for cutting aerial haze, saturating foliage, darkening blue skies and adding about 1-2/3 stops of density.

BUT! But I rarely use any filter. Any filter is an optical tool to be used sparingly and only when it improves the shot. That said, a high-end CPL is one of the most useful tools available. It can achieve results that you simply cannot emulate in post processing.



Sep 06, 2017 at 06:44 PM
johnctharp
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Questions on circular polarizer


Direct answer?

When you need to block polarized light.

Two examples: shooting on water and around glass reflections. On water, a circular polarizer filter can block the 'glint' off of the waves which can be extreme with low sun angles. With glass reflections, whether talking about windows in homes, on cars, or eyeglasses, the reflections that would otherwise block detail can be filtered out.

In both of these cases, the overexposure due to glint or reflections cannot be well addressed in post, simply because they usually represent blown highlights.



Sep 06, 2017 at 07:08 PM
Milan Hutera
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Questions on circular polarizer


I just spent two days shooting forests and waterfalls. CPL lived on my 16-35 L IS. I won't be able to share the photos for a few days though, I'm still in a hotel and returning home tomorrow.


Sep 06, 2017 at 07:19 PM
lighthound
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Questions on circular polarizer


In addition to all the above advice, I'd also add to never use a CPL when shooting a pano for the obvious reasons. I've forgotten to take mine off before and the results ain't pretty.

A CPL is the only filter I use on a regular basis. A UV filter only for the beach to protect my glass from salt spray is the only other time I use a filter.



Sep 06, 2017 at 07:27 PM
Paul Mo
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Questions on circular polarizer


And with CPL's sometimes less is more. You can dial them in just a little.


Sep 06, 2017 at 11:49 PM
RobDickinson
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Questions on circular polarizer


Milan Hutera wrote:
I just spent two days shooting forests and waterfalls. CPL lived on my 16-35 L IS. I won't be able to share the photos for a few days though, I'm still in a hotel and returning home tomorrow.


^ that.

I dont shoot many waterfalls but they are well worth using there.

Most of my landscapes are direct to sun and wide angle so a cpl isnt useful.



Sep 06, 2017 at 11:52 PM
 

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Milan Hutera
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Questions on circular polarizer


Never is a strong word...

If a pano includes a large amount of blue sky, then yes a CPL will probably do more harm than good. But again, for fall foliage or inside a forest (and a number of other cases) it can enhance the colors and contrast even in a pano.

lighthound wrote:
In addition to all the above advice, I'd also add to never use a CPL when shooting a pano for the obvious reasons. I've forgotten to take mine off before and the results ain't pretty.

A CPL is the only filter I use on a regular basis. A UV filter only for the beach to protect my glass from salt spray is the only other time I use a filter.




Sep 07, 2017 at 12:32 AM
lighthound
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Questions on circular polarizer


Milan Hutera wrote:
Never is a strong word...

If a pano includes a large amount of blue sky, then yes a CPL will probably do more harm than good. But again, for fall foliage or inside a forest (and a number of other cases) it can enhance the colors and contrast even in a pano.



You got me there! No argument about that one. My mind was wrapped around having sky in the image but yes, with just foliage and even water, you can get away with it. I was shocked the first time I ever used a CPL and witnessed the difference it made in foliage.



Sep 07, 2017 at 01:31 AM
Paul Mo
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Questions on circular polarizer


Herb, another interesting point is using them at altitude vs sea level.

Higher altitudes can naturally have dark blue skies and adding a polariser... they need to be used carefully.



Sep 07, 2017 at 02:12 AM
Mikehit
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Questions on circular polarizer


As hotdog says,the CPL does things you cannot replicate in post processing.
I most often use a CPL for intensifying colours, especially things like foliage after rain. I have also used it as a secondary neutral density filter to lengthen exposures (a CPL generally has a 1.5-2 stop effect on exposure)



Sep 07, 2017 at 12:17 PM
Robin Smith
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Questions on circular polarizer


The trouble with CPLs are that they can make a photo look completely unnatural, particularly with seascapes. They can make the scene look "nice", but realistic, no. It depends on your artistic sensibilities how much you like them. They are sometimes useful for removing reflections, and sometimes this may make you like the result better, but not always. When used on flowing water for example, I very often prefer the unfiltered view. In the film days their ability to darken blue skies and emphasize clouds was important. I have to say nowadays I usually just fiddle with the blue channel luminance or adjust the density of the sky in post, so I rarely use polarizers, but there are times when they are useful, but I don't personally consider them essential any more.

I agree they are quite useful for dual use as a neutral density filter which is probably when I use them the most, with the added possibility of polarizing effects should you need them.



Sep 07, 2017 at 04:18 PM
AJSJones
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Questions on circular polarizer


Robin Smith wrote:
The trouble with CPLs are that they can make a photo look completely unnatural, particularly with seascapes. They can make the scene look "nice", but realistic, no. It depends on your artistic sensibilities how much you like them. .

"Realistic" is not fixed. I often wear polarized sunglassed (the only kind I have) so the CPL will capture what I see It may look unrealistic to someone without sunglasses. On the other hand, it is often detectable to me that someone used a PL - often with distant haze shopwing a "filtered" look but the balance is the artistic choice, indeed. (With manual focus situations, a linear polarizer seems to do a little better in the haze reduction, I find.)




Sep 07, 2017 at 06:02 PM
Tapeman
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Questions on circular polarizer


I don't use one often but when using one on a wide angle (16 mm) sometimes the whole image is not effected and the sky in particular seems uneven.


Sep 08, 2017 at 02:54 AM
D.Hussey
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Questions on circular polarizer


I mostly use one for rainbows .... or when water glare ill be a problem for me



Sep 08, 2017 at 08:20 AM







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