Polarising filter on a 9-18mm lens?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by jamespetts, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    I am aware that ultra-wide angle lenses do not work well with polarising filters in that there is a very unnatural variation in brightness of the sky between the centre and the corners when they are used. However, unlike the various 7-14mm lenses released and announced, the Olympus 9-18mm lenses (both Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds - I have the former) have filter threads.

    Does anyone use a polarising filter with one of these lenses at 9mm? If so, does it exhibit the unnatural appearance in the sky, or is 9mm not wide enough for this to be an issue? I should be interested in any sample photographs of the use of a polariser at 9mm, too.
  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Hi James - I have a polarising filter with my 9-18 and yes, the uneven brightness on the sky that you mention does happen. The effect varies depending on the angle you are from the sun and it's less obvious when there's cloud cover. Don't have an example to hand, but I'll go looking!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I can second that.
  4. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    I don't have the 9-18 lens but I often use polarizer on my Canon 40D + 10-22, and I take a lot of photos at 10 mm (which is equivalent to approximately 8 mm for m43)

    The effect on the sky is visibled, especially when there is a beautiful blue sky with no clouds, and when you frame horizontally (it's not always the case, I also took lots of landscapes photos with a portrait orientations)
    Even without a polarizer, the sky color is uneven! The polarizer only accentuates the variation.
    And when the sky is clear and blue, this is visible even with "normal" wide focal length (like 12-14 mm for m43)

    In fact, even if I like polarizer, I often find that the effect on the sky is too much. The blues are too dark. I don't use polarizers for this, I use them for the effect on water & on trees, for examples.
    They eliminate reflections in a way you I can't achieve in post-processing.

    The variations on the color of the skies can be lowered in post-processing, for example in Lightroom.
    I often do this, when I find that the effect is too visible: more luminance & less saturations for blues (TSL tab) + sometimes, a local adjustment.

    I like the effect of a polarizer on ultra wide lenses.
    Maybe some people won't like the effect on my photos. (or maybe they won't like my photos for other reasons ;) )
    But I like it;)

    So, at the end, it's a matter of taste... like always.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. beameup

    beameup Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 23, 2013
    I use the polarizer at 9mm. It depends on the angle of the sun. If the angle is wrong there will be little effect, so you might as well take it off.
    Doing panoramas, there is a way to even-out the sky, so the same technique could easily be used on a single shot. I generally don't have a
    problem with the sky, at least not noticeable.
  6. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Thank you - do you have any sample pictures of a polariser being used successfully at 9mm?
  7. BigTom

    BigTom Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 23, 2011
    I find my Hoya CPL really useable on the 9-18. I gave up using a CPL on my old DSLR 10-20 because the uneveness was too noticeable, but for portrait orientation at least you get good coverage with the 9-18.

    eg -


    360 degree pano, many shots at 9mm -

    Just realised I shoot almost no landscape landscapes :p

    Given the relatively low cost of 52mm filters I wouldn't hesitate to add one to the camera bag, even if it won't be perfect for every shot.
    • Like Like x 4
  8. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
  9. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    The photos above are a good example that when use in portrait mode, a 9-18 hasn't a so huge horizontal field of view.
    Clearly, in this type of shot, the effect of "uneveness" is not noticeable, and you would'nt have had these green colors and this water rendition without a polarizer.

    I found one image (landscape orientation) where I tested with and without polarizer.
    The photo itself isn't very interesting, but the effect is noticeable in the sky and you can also see what you get better in terms of colors with the polarizer.
    The shot is 12 mm Canon APS-C, so it corresponds to 9.4 mm in horizontal field of view for m43.

    Without polarizer:

    With polarizer:
    • Like Like x 3
  10. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    Is everyone using the slim/thin mount filter for the 9-18 lens to avoid vignetting, or will the regular mount work for this application?
  11. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    I know that the Cokin will work for the m4/3 version without vignetting, so the regular should as well.
  12. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    This summer I took a lot of pictures with my 9-18 and with/without a polarizing filter.

    You indeed have to take care about the brightness of the sky between the centre and the corners.
    (note that this is already visible without a polarizing filter, it's pretty obvious on some pictures I took with the 7.5 mm fisheye. The polarizing filter justs makes it worse).

    Sometimes I took the photo with and without the filter, or trying several angles on the filter, to try to limit the phenomenom.

    When at home looking at the results, I understood why I like using a polarizing filter anyway.
    On most of the pictures wihtout the filter, the light was too harsh, and the pictures were very hard to handle (most of them finished in the trash).
    The polarizing filter makes the light a lot less harsh, and if you manage to limit the effect in the sky when you take the picture, I find the results much more interesting.
  13. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Can't hurt to have in your pocket. Just be careful with anything shot wider than 14mm. Remember that you can dial the effect up or down to suit.
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