Polarizer

PeteS

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Which polarizer for 12-45mm f/4 PRO on an OM-D E-M5 MARK III? In the past I have only owned inexpensive linear polarizers. Does the Mark III need a circular one? How much do you spend to get a decent polarizer for scenic photography? Any specific recommendations? After springing for an expensive lens I am thinking it may not make sense to buy a $12-15 polarizer. On the other hand the inexpensive ones I have owned seemed pretty good.
 

Mack

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Whatever polarizer you decide on, check your AF with and without it. My Marumi DHC CPL takes a lot of correction with the 300+MC1.4 TC (i.e. 420mm). See below where the FocusTune software showed it differed by 12 points. I think the 300mm alone was around 5-6 as I recall. I don't really use them anymore to avoid the issue and just use software instead.

It is less troublesome with the wide-angle lenses, other than the sky can exhibit extreme darkening and lighting issues. Stitching a panoramic is a total nightmare with one.

Polarizers-420mm.jpg
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Quadna71

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I bought a Gobe CPL (3 Peak) to use with the 12-45. It’s not the cheapest nor the most expensive but seems to work okay. I like that the 58mm also lets it work with my 75-300.
 
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I buy B+W filters. Made in Germany, the filters are very durable, do not develop blisters as some cheaper ones do, do not get stuck on your lens and optically they are a match for the lens. I am using the polarizers less and less. They are an extra weight if you cary them for a few lenses, they take time to fit and adjust and readjust when you switch from portrait to landscape orientation (or vice versa). The main reason is to reduce reflections. I usually do not have a problem - mostly I do like the reflections. Reflections on leaves may reduce saturations, but there are imperfect remedies in postprocessing. The truth is, I often do not cary them with me anymore.
 

doady

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Get a multi-coated polarizer, and a thin one so that it won't cause vignetting at 12mm.

I bought B+W F-Pro, with "MRC" or "Multi-Resistant Coating", so not just multi-coated but supposedly water and scratch resistant. And me not being used to faux "SLR" style cameras or clumsily fumbling around with pinch lens caps, I can say it is definitely scratch resistant, as advertised. It was definitely worth the $90+ CAD, at least for me.

Spending more on lens and then spending less on filters is a waste, in my opinion. Not saying you need to spend $70 USD, but certainly you should spend more than $12 USD, especially if you are serious about landscape photography. If you are patient, you might find a good deal on a high quality filter. I got my B+W from Amazon for $20 CAD off the regular price of $110 CAD. But I've seen people talking about counterfeits from third party sellers, so maybe be careful of that too. If price is too good to be true, it probably is.
 

PeteS

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Thanks for the tips.

I haven't used one in years, but I fondly remember the stunning skies and saturated foliage with a polarizer on my Kodachrome transparencies. Control of reflections on water and glass surfaces was handy as well.

FWIW, I was very serious about my photography some decades ago and at some point quit the business and became a very casual only photographer for years. These days at age 70 I am bit by the bug again. So I find myself once again going down the rabbit hole, this time in a digital world.

It had never occurred to me that a polarizer would have much effect on the autofocus setting. Is there a particular factor in choosing a filter that would minimize that?

I hadn't thought about the issues of stitching panoramas with polarized sections, but it is certainly something to keep in mind. Upon reading that it seems it should have been obvious though.

Like Quadna71 I plan to use it with a 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II so the 58mm will see duty on two lenses. I can foresee many cases where the two will be the only ones in the bag.

So far I am thinking thin, not too cheap, 58mm. I'll look into MRC. It looks like people are using circular ones. It isn't clear to me if that is a requirement, but I figure it is probably a good idea for compatibility across different cameras.
 
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Thanks for the tips.

I haven't used one in years, but I fondly remember the stunning skies and saturated foliage with a polarizer on my Kodachrome transparencies. Control of reflections on water and glass surfaces was handy as well.

FWIW, I was very serious about my photography some decades ago and at some point quit the business and became a very casual only photographer for years. These days at age 70 I am bit by the bug again. So I find myself once again going down the rabbit hole, this time in a digital world.

It had never occurred to me that a polarizer would have much effect on the autofocus setting. Is there a particular factor in choosing a filter that would minimize that?

I hadn't thought about the issues of stitching panoramas with polarized sections, but it is certainly something to keep in mind. Upon reading that it seems it should have been obvious though.

Like Quadna71 I plan to use it with a 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II so the 58mm will see duty on two lenses. I can foresee many cases where the two will be the only ones in the bag.

So far I am thinking thin, not too cheap, 58mm. I'll look into MRC. It looks like people are using circular ones. It isn't clear to me if that is a requirement, but I figure it is probably a good idea for compatibility across different cameras.
Check your manual, pretty sure it says to use a circular polarizer.
 

PeteS

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I have Marumi DHG circular polarisers for each of my lenses. I had no idea this was a thing. I will conduct a few tests if it ever stops raining here.....
I assume you are referring to the autofocus issues Mack mentioned. I am interested as well. I wonder if that is specific to polarizers or filters in general. I have to say that I am super impressed with the autofocus on my Mark III. It would suck if the polarizer screwed that up, but at least I think it would be less critical with the focal lengths where I'd be using the filter the most. In any case please check back in if you do some testing.
 

PakkyT

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I don't really use them anymore to avoid the issue and just use software instead.

Polarizing in one of the few filters that usually are not easily replicated in SW so curious what it is you are doing in SW? For example, when taking a photo of something under the water of a pond, the polarizer can remove all the reflection on the surface. Likewise when shooting something through a window from outside. Unless you are strictly talking about making skies more blue?


Check your manual, pretty sure it says to use a circular polarizer.

Are you sure? My own observation is Olympus rarely includes information about things like using filters in the camera user manuals (maybe in lens manuals?).


To the OP, Linear vs. Circular shouldn't make a difference but you will likely find circular being the dominant type for sale these days and would have to make an effort to find a linear one if that is what you wanted. Also check used places like KEH (especially their eBay store where they don't charge extra for shipping) as you can often get good quality filters for much less. Brands like B+W which for some of us new are outside what we want to pay can be had for much more reasonable prices. As to other brands, stick to names you know and you should be fine (B+W, Tiffin, Hoya, etc.) there are some newer brand that look good as well, but definitely avoid the cheap brands on eBay that may be fine but you won't know until you buy them and try them. Where as something like a Hoya, etc. you know will be decent.
 

PeteS

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I am considering springing for something fairly expensive, possibly the "B + W Circular Polarizer Kaesemann - Xtra Slim Mount (XS-PRO)". At about $65 it is more than I have typically spent for a filter in the past, but it is going to be used with a more expensive lens than I have tended to buy in the past. It seems like splurging on a high end body and a pro lens and buying a cheap polarizer wouldn't make sense.
 

RAH

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I think that circular polarizers were needed for DSLRs, where the AF system split the image. So for mirrorless, it shouldn't matter, I would think. Like a lot of folks from the DSLR days, I just started buying circular ones and stayed with them. But linears are much cheaper and I'm glad I have now been reminded why I first started buying circular ones. Concerning the circular ones, I also like Marumi DHGs.

Also, don't use a polarizer for a series of shots for stitching panos, generally speaking.
 

RAH

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I just did I little more looking into my notes about linear vs circular. I found this on World Photography Forum many years ago. I don't know if it's true or not:

"Contrary to popular belief most linier polarzers work OK with AF...the biggest problem is with the metering . As a general rule if you have an auto focus camera the manufacturer will recommend that you use a Circular Polarizer. Most modern SLR cameras use a polarizing half mirror system, this is called a split beam metering system. A circular type Polarizer is required for the meter to function correctly."

So if that is true, maybe it's the metering that can get screwed up. With m43? I don't know.
 

fortwodriver

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There's no beam-splitting going on in your mirrorless camera so you don't have to use a C-Pol, but I find the modern C-Pols today have less of a colour cast than the (even just 5 years old) L-Pol filters I have. Filter companies have just put more work into C-Pols because they are basically defacto for the film/video market now, too (due to video-taps in motion-picture cameras being mirror-based) ...

I'd recommend getting the nicest C-Pol you can afford, put it on, make sure you're facing the right direction, and have fun!
 

PeteS

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After reading all this and some independent reading online I decided that I probably could use a linear one but won't. I went ahead and ordered the somewhat expensive Kaesemann model I mentioned earlier in the thread.
 

doady

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Keep in mind, a typical polarizer is thicker than other filters, but B+W's ultra-slim "XS-Pro" line of polarizers is even slimmer than a typical UV filter, which might have disadvantages in terms of gripping/rotating the filter and putting on the lens cap. Their "F-Pro" polarizers are the size of a typical UV filter and that probably should be slim enough for the 12-45mm. On their Amazon page, they have a picture that compares the sizes of typical polarizer, the F-Pro, and XS-Pro.
 
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Another vote for B+W. Breakthrough Photography also has good options. In my experience, it's pretty hard to replicate a circular polarizer in software, so I do carry and use them. But not for ultra wide...they can create uneveness across the frame for very wide shots.
 

Generationfourth

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I am considering springing for something fairly expensive, possibly the "B + W Circular Polarizer Kaesemann - Xtra Slim Mount (XS-PRO)". At about $65 it is more than I have typically spent for a filter in the past, but it is going to be used with a more expensive lens than I have tended to buy in the past. It seems like splurging on a high end body and a pro lens and buying a cheap polarizer wouldn't make sense.
I only use the Kaesemann's- In terms of light transmission they are the best. Typically I notice .75 to 1.33 reduction in light transmission with the B+W's where as other good brands (gobe/urth, moment, etc) reduce transmission by 1.33-1.5. The cheapest ones are as bad as 1.5-2 stops of light. They are also made of brass so they do not become fixed on my lenses. I find them used on classifieds or on CL.

I rarely use tripods or filters but the CPL is a must for me as I'm in bright light or around water. Never noticed any AF problems on my 100-400 while shooting CAF/action
 

PeteS

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Keep in mind, a typical polarizer is thicker than other filters, but B+W's ultra-slim "XS-Pro" line of polarizers is even slimmer than a typical UV filter, which might have disadvantages in terms of gripping/rotating the filter and putting on the lens cap. Their "F-Pro" polarizers are the size of a typical UV filter and that probably should be slim enough for the 12-45mm. On their Amazon page, they have a picture that compares the sizes of typical polarizer, the F-Pro, and XS-Pro.
I saw that and was worried that at 12 mm some models/brands would vignette the corners. I figured that slim was good in this case. Hopefully it will work fine with the lens cap. If not, I find one it works with.
 

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