polarizing filter advice

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Ig7, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    OK, this is probably a stupid question for the experts that are usually posting on this forum, but I moved up from my wonderful ZS3 and would like to hear expert opinions on how often everyone uses their polarizing filter? Anxiously waiting for my OMD at home with 14-140, 20mm and 9-18 lenses and was wondering if I should get a polarizing filter. I am an amateur shooter using the camera for travel, family photos and my dog, when I can get him not to run away from the camera :). I have UV filters on my lenses at all times for protection and was wondering from the experience of others if its worth the hassle of having to switch filters all the times. Would I get "close enough" effect by using a lens hood on a sunny day? Did anyone ever tried to just mount the Polarizer on top of UV (considering both are top quality glass filters)?
    Thank you for the advice and not laughing:smile:
     
  2. CarlB

    CarlB Mu-43 Veteran

    I use polarizers extensively. I have a few UV filters but just have not found them that useful - no real need for protection, and no efficacy that I can discern.

    The polarizers are great for sunny conditions outdoors. Rotate them to find the spot you want for contrast and glare reduction. They help make colors deeper as well. Here are a few examples of late:

    <img src=https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7040/6879773880_f454889575_c.jpg>

    <img src=https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7057/6834936994_7cf46ca291_c.jpg>

    <img src=https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7065/6879772254_f9395dfda7_c.jpg>

    Perhaps I'm a rich color junkie - but I really enjoy polarizers for outside shots. Marumi makes some great ones. If you shoot mirrorless (m43 is mirrorless), then you don't have to worry about spending the extra on a circular polarizer - mirrorless cameras focus quite well with linear polarizers.
     
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  3. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    Wow! great shots! I love color too so there is hope for my shots yet :)
     
  4. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    I use one more often than not when shooting outdoors in sunny conditions.
     
  5. arbutusq

    arbutusq Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Aug 10, 2011
    I use a CPL sparingly to avoid the postcard sky. All the above shots show good polarizer use. Having said that I recently dropped my polarizer on a snow camping trip and it fell in a snowbank to vanish until spring thaw.....
     
  6. chicks

    chicks Mu-43 Top Veteran

    876
    Feb 1, 2012
    The Big Valley, CA
    Found one of these in the bag of goodies with my Pentax ME Super thrift find. After looking at Carl's shots above, will definitely give it a go!
     
  7. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    301
    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    That is sound advice, but it is quite difficult to find new linear polarisers. When you do find them, they are often more expensive than the much more common circular type.

    So perhaps the message should read: "If you shoot mirrorless (m43 is mirrorless), then you don't have to worry about whether you have a linear or circular polariser as both work equally well."
     
  8. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Remember that the effect of a PL is variable. You don't always have to rotate it for the darkest, bluest sky.
     
  9. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Jan 2, 2010
    Europe
    With polarizing filter you can get really cool lookin clouds and vibrant foliage:

    [​IMG]

    or get really deep blue skies:

    [​IMG]

    This is G1 and kit lens with B+W linear polarizing filter.
     
  10. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    65
    Feb 14, 2012
    I will hijack this thread a bit. I bought Hoya 46mm linear polarizer for my GF2, but I have troubles figuring out how to use it, especially the mentioned variable effect.

    How do you understand when the PL effect is disabled, when it is at half effect or when at full? Do you all have viewfinders, because the LCD doesn't show much of a difference when I rotate the filter.
     
  11. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    As others mentioned a polarizer is quite useful to bring up the sky color. Also, it can remove reflections from some surfaces, most notably, water. For instance, I could not have made this one without it as the bottom would not have been visible because of the reflections.
    However, most of the time I would say I don't need it.
    Things to avoid in polarizer:
    Don't buy cheap ones - imho stick with Hoya or B+W multicoated.
    :43: zooms, especially superzooms, often vignette, I would recommend a thin filter.
    Polarizer's effect on the sky depends on the angle to the sun, so you can get unpleasant effects with ultrawide lenses if the sky changes color twice in the same image...

    Hope it helped.
    Also, you can use step up rings to fit a larger polarizer on a lens with a smaller front thread (assuming it won't vignette much).

    Regards.
     
  12. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    Gorgeous shots! thank you for posting. I cant wait to get my new EM5 and play with it
     
  13. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    JW, did you use a wide lens for this shot? From everything I read, polarizers don't work on wide angle lenses
     
  14. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    They do work with wide angle lenses, it's just, especially with ultrawide lenses, depending on the angle to the sun the effect may be unpleasant. You can see an extreme example here (scroll to "Avoid polarizers on wide-angle lenses"), but it doesn't mean it will always happen. Also, Ken Rockwell's conclusions should be taken with a grain of salt.

    To make a short story long, polarizer has the strongest effect along the line perpendicular to the sun. For instance, if a telephoto lens with polarizer is pointed away from the sun the polarizer will have practically no effect. If it's pointed to the side it will have a strong uniform effect (example). In a wide angle shot one side of a frame may have a weaker effect (along the same line with the sun), and another side - stronger (example). In ultrawide shots there may be 3 such areas, which would result in the described effect.
    The best option is, probably, to get one for a normal zoom, experiment and then decide whether to use it for ultrawide :smile:
    Also, using polarizer costs 1-2 stops of light, so it's probably not a good idea to always leave it on a lens.
     
  15. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Aug 24, 2011
    Roman and everyone
    Thank you. Your advice is greatly appreciated. As I mentioned before, I am just a beginner and have to go through the learning process before I can get my shots to look like some posted here. It's one of those times when practice does make it perfect :)
     
  16. Phoque

    Phoque Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Sep 18, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Using polarizing filter seems to make these pictures as though they used HDR technique.

    Is this actually the case, does it increase the DR of a scene?
     
  17. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Always use a UV filter for protection. That is the most polarizing filter advice I can give.
     
  18. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    803
    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    I have not tried using a polariser with a digital camera so far, so there might be specific LCD/OLED related advice, but one thing to remember is that polarisers only work in direct sunlight and on reflections from non-metallic surfaces. You will not notice any significant difference (aside from loss of light) in using a polariser in cloudy weather or under artificial lighting, except in a reduction of reflections from non-metallic surfaces.
     
  19. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    301
    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    What a polariser can do is decrease the brightness of the brightest parts of the scene, such as sky and clouds, bringing the dynamic range of the scene closer to what the sensor can record.

    But that is reducing the DR of a scene, not increasing it.
     
  20. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Polarizers do not reduce the DR of a scene. Neither will a neutral density filter. Changing the exposure by reducing the amount of light entering the system has zero effect on DR as the exposure will simply compensate for the reduction in light resulting with the same amount of photons hitting the photo sites.