Linear or Circular Polarizer For PEN

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Holymoly, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    I am in the throes of adding a polarizing filter to my small arsenal. I have seen suggestions of linear rather than circular. This most appeals to the purist in me. My question however is this: can one actually see degrees of polarizing through the digital viewfinder? I would really hate to have to guess and then end up with half pale and half dark blue skies.

    With thanks for your thoughts.
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  2. WT21

    WT21 m43 Boom-a-rang Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    In DSLRs, linear polarizers interfere with metering and AF. Not sure if that's still the case with EVF-less, CDAF pens.

    I have CPLs anyway, because I have used both types of cameras. I don't think quality or effect from either is different -- it's just that linear polarizers are cheaper.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Jan 2, 2010
    Buy linear. You won't have any problems with it and they are cheaper than circular polarizers. I have linear on my G1 and it is WYSIWYG, you can see the degree of the polarizing effect.

    For the price difference, buy high quality linear polarizer.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Definitely buy linear polarizers, they are much cheaper and give identical or superior performance. DSLRs need a circular polarizer because of the mirror, but we don't have that hindrance. A circular polarizer is just a linear polarizer with the addition of a quarter wave plate, so keep it simple.
    • Like Like x 4
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The only purpose of a Circular Polarizer that I know of is to avoid confusing the camera's PDAF system. If you're not using PDAF then I don't see the point in using a CPL. In fact, even with PDAF I prefer a linear polarizer as it has a stronger effect and I don't rely on AF. Unfortunately though, manufacturers believe that consumers rely on every Auto camera function, and as such would not even sell linear polarizers here for as long as DSLRs dominated the industry. Thank you to Micro Four-Thirds for opening the path back to linear for us. ;)
    • Like Like x 6
  6. punkman

    punkman Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 30, 2011
    I got a cheap CPL for my Cokin P holder. I can notice the effect on reflections and such, but looking at the sky it doesn't seem to be doing much. Plus it's a hassle to use.

    What brand do you guys recommend for a reasonably priced linear polarizer?
    • Like Like x 2
  7. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012

    I don't see any high-quality and cheap linear polarizers, at least 46mm. Marumi CPL Super is available for ~ $50 and it's a good one (and slim!), was going to get it for my 20mm f/1.7 but then found this thread. The thing is that the only linear option I see is B+W MRC which is $58 at b&h and not even in stock. Can anyone recommend a high-quality 46mm linear polarizer that is better and cheaper (or at least about the same price) than Marumi CPL Super DHG?
  8. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Since I shoot with Nikon's and m43's, I use 62mm circular pol's. The 62mm size fits my Nikon lenses, and with step-up rings, they also work well on my m43 lenses. Besides that, who's to say m43 will not need a CPL in the near future! :biggrin:
  9. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I have a Hoya LPL and a Tiffen CPL and they both work equivalently on my E-PL1/2 cameras.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Photographically, a linear and a circular polarizer have the exact same effect, neither is stronger or weaker - polarized light is polarized light.

    OP: The recommendations are correct though, if you don't plan on ever using a PDAF system, then there's no reason to spend extra money on a circular. I don't generally like Tiffen's filters, but I use their linear polarizers with satisfaction.
  11. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    Linear v Circular Polarizers

    Thank you all. My prejudices were in favour of the linear when I asked the question and they probably still are. I wonder if the effect doesn't seems more dramatic because you actually see the light/dark transition whereas you don't with circular. I am encouraged that this transition is visible through the VF2. Tangibly seeing that you are darkening up the sky I find appealing.. just as I do being able to look through the VF2 and seeing that my image is more or less correctly exposed.

    I did not enjoy the lottery which was my Nikon D60's less than decent metering and I found I resisted checking exposure by replaying each shot. I could never tell from a sunlit LCD whether I was within cooee anyway.

    Now along with you choose a brand? Ken Rockwell says Hoya every time. Some of you here are probably aware how Tiffen greatly outperformed the Hoya in terms of UV filtration of their Haze -1. A lesson to be learned that you can't generalise.
    Filters - UV or not UV? -
  12. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    B+W 49mm Linear Polarizer Glass Filter 65-075279 B&H Photo Video
    B+W 58mm Linear Polarizer Glass Filter 65-062136 B&H Photo Video

    I'd venture that even the cheaper, basic Hoya and Tiffen linear polarize are at least equal performance the Marumi Super. Those multicoatings are there to offset the QWP's image degradation. When all you have to worry about is a linear polarizing element, making the filter is child's play. Still, if you want to REALLY save money, buy an older used linear polarizer, from a respected company, before circular polarizers were necessary (i.e. before the autofocus days). It's harder to find linear polarizers because most photographers that are shopping for filters don't need them.

    There is a rumor that the OM-D will use small rangefinder-style mirrors to get PDAF, but then again, there's so much hopefulness in that thread, there's a rumor that the OM-D will be America's next President!

    Don't listen to Ken Rockwell. The stupidity spewing from his website is staggering. He tells newbies what they want to hear, so that they'll buy stuff through his links and make him money. He's completely shameless. If you want respected reviewers, look at,,,,

    Go with the $30-$40 B+W if you want super-performance for CPL money (performance as in greater light transmission, less flare/ghosts, mm mm yummy Schott glass!). Try ebay if you want a great deal. For example, this older, made in Japan filter:
    PRINZ 49mm PL - POLARIZING filter ( POLARIZER ) | eBay
    Or this one:
    Vivitar Polarizing Filter 52mm for B&W/Color (Japan) Mint cond. in Original Box | eBay
  13. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    Ken Rockwell says a lot, unfortunately not all of it is reliable. He has a tendency to make definitive statements about equipment that he has not used.
  14. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks for the filter suggestions.

    What amuses me about Ken Rockwell is his, "Are you a professional?" test. It is based on the number of shots you take in a week and a few other parameters. He obviously guards the territory jealously. Reminds me of me 20 years ago when I humped a big Tamrac bag around (cringe). I am getting the feeling that most of us here use PENs so we "don't" look like pros.

    In saying that I give Ken his dues.. he puts a peg in the sand and gets the debate moving in the absence of anything else to go on. Having never belonged to a photography forum before I am loving the fact that there are people who do answer correspondence, and have their own unique contribution to make. I can see the gospel according to Ken Rockwall quickly fading into the distance of my experience.
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    How does that work? The fewer shots you take the more professional you are? Because we all know that amateurs spray-and-pray, while professionals take the time to perfect the shot or capture the perfect moment before they commit a frame, right? :biggrin:
  16. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    Man of Mystery

    Heehee. Et tu Ned? I was perfectly happy to be in the minority here. When I take a photograph I need to "see it." Consequently I am lucky to take more than a couple of dozen photos in an outing and they are often different takes on the same thing.

    When the local guy selling memory cards said "Buy a 30GB one and blaze away," I assumed maybe that is what professionals do and Ken's numbers test seemed to bear that out. I assumed I was short on creativity (probably am.. that or lazy) being a "sniper" by nature and in my element cutting my "professional" teeth (ooh can I say that?) back in the day on a one shot clunk Mamiya RZ67 (Ken hates the RZ but has never used one).

    Certainly I remember rapid firing as per instruction once on my Nikon 801 and they were all misses. For some reason Austin Powers fashion photographer comes to mind.. "Yes yes.. no no.." "Look I am not even shooting you.. it's crazy."
    :smile:[ame=]austin powers (part 2) photo shoot - YouTube[/ame]