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01-29-2012, 02:45 PM   #1
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circular polarizer on a 50mm prime?

do you folks use a polarizer with your 50mm prime?

I just got a Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM for a good price on ebay and had it sent to my father's.
meaning well, he went with the lens to the local dealer to get a filter for the lens- mainly to protect the lens.

the dealer recommended a circular polarizer (which isn't exactly cheap at this size). I know a good UV filter would do the job as well.

I had planned to use this lens mainly for baby-shots and portaits- I haven't used polarizers so far, but I would think you need this filter mainly for landscape.

I am unsure if I should tell my father to cancel the order of this 100€ filter (if he still can) I know he meant well, but I don't know if it's practical to use a polarizer on a 50mm 1.4 ?

any help appreciated!

greetings from Norway

01-29-2012, 02:48 PM   #2
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If you only need something for the protection, go with a good UV filter.
01-29-2012, 02:57 PM   #3
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yeah, I know- but is it practical with a polarizer on this lens? does anybody do landscapes with such a lens?
01-29-2012, 03:13 PM   #4
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Hoods do a fine job protecting lenses. Modern digital SLRs don't need anything to filter out UV so that aspect of any UV filter is wasted.

Yes, landscape photographers frequently use lenses in the 35-50mm and longer range. A CP filter will enhance any outdoor photos, particularly those with any glare from reflections. It will also allow you to "see through" glass and water as if it were not there when used right. They are definitely useful but if you are only going to do indoors and portraits it might be a waste of money. The other issue is that they vary WIDELY in quality and price is NOT a good indicator of whether you got one that's any good or not.

If you are interested in a good one then look at these reviews:
Polarizing filters test - Results and summary - Lenstip.com

Polarizing filters test - supplement - Introduction - Lenstip.com

01-29-2012, 03:40 PM   #5
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50mm landscape (cropped a bit) with a CPL:



A useful filter for many kinds of outdoor shooting, as Docrwm points out. For portraits, not so generally useful (although there are cases). And certainly not a filter to leave on the lens for protection -- you lose light, for one thing.

As it happens, I own a 77mm CPL which I use on my long telephoto lenses. I also have a 52mm CPL. I try to avoid duplicating filters in different sizes, but a 77mm filter stepped down to a 49mm thread would be ridiculously cumbersome, so I use the 77mm on 77mm and 67mm threads, and the 52mm on 52mm and 49mm threads.
01-29-2012, 03:46 PM   #6
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awesome shot!

I think I'll give it a try - after all it was well meant of my father
01-29-2012, 03:46 PM   #7
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If you don't know enough about PL filters--why not look for a good linear one used (a standard tiffen or hoya is fine). And try it out. Anyway I believe the circular one is of no benefit for pentax cameras--and certainly not in manual focus (I use linear single coated ones.). Anyway its use is very limited--often used after rain to saturate colors and to darken sun lit sky. And under these conditions multi-coating is not a big benefit--just use a hood.
01-29-2012, 04:12 PM   #8
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I just realized that theSigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC has the same filter size-(which is on my wish-list as soon as I have figured out which zoom I'm going to have as my walkabout lens)

01-29-2012, 04:46 PM   #9
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The real question is if you want to use a filter at all - the lens is mostly irrelevant except in the case of very wide ones.

A lens hood and lens cap, plus common sense, is usually enough "protection". Salemen love filters.
01-29-2012, 04:52 PM   #10
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CPL takes away about 1 1/2 stops of light, so it's not something for general use, especially on a lens that is a great low light lens.

If you want to protect the lens just use a hood. If you still really want a filter for protection buy a "UV" or a "protection" filter.
01-29-2012, 05:01 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote

A lens hood and lens cap, plus common sense, is usually enough "protection". Salemen love filters.
Yes, I know... I'm not quite sure why this salesman recommended this filter. If my father just asked for a "protection" then I would love to cancel the order. If my father asked for a good filter instead without specifying, then one can hardly blame the salesman for selling him one

I really wish my dad would stop doing this kind of stuff without asking me first. I know it is well meant, but it is also a lot of money.....
01-29-2012, 05:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by slartibartfast Quote
Yes, I know... I'm not quite sure why this salesman recommended this filter. If my father just asked for a "protection" then I would love to cancel the order. If my father asked for a good filter instead without specifying, then one can hardly blame the salesman for selling him one

I really wish my dad would stop doing this kind of stuff without asking me first. I know it is well meant, but it is also a lot of money.....
Well, if your father hasn't bought this filter already, tell him that a CPL simply isn't the right thing to use for protection. As others point out, it eats light and it is NOT meant for being used at all times in all situations.

But if the deal is done already --- then try to make the most out of it. CPL filters do have their uses. Which and how can be found in this easy tutorial from "Cambridge in Colur":

Understanding & Using Polarizing Filters
01-29-2012, 05:39 PM   #13
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Bad polarizers can be uneven in how they let light through, they can change the light and add a huge or cast to your pictures, and they can even make your photos look like you shot in fog. Polarizers are more complicated to manufacture than most other filters and certainly than the UV, single huge, and macro filters commonly used. There is a really great article by the folks at LensRentals.Com about the differences between good and bad filters. I recommend it to folks that think that putting an $8 polarizer on a $1000 lens is just fine......

LensRentals.com - Good Times with Bad Filters
01-29-2012, 06:09 PM   #14
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One simplistic way to think of a circular polariser is like Ray-Bans for your camera. You wouldn't wear them inside because they make things much darker, but they enhance the sky and color outdoors, especially the greens on trees.
I'm not sure how sunny it gets in Norway, but it may be useful in the snow with lots of glare?
In short, not much use for lens protection, as it's expensive in it's own right and you need to keep taking it off when you go indoors or in low light situations.
01-29-2012, 09:31 PM   #15
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There's some great advise here. I have a CPL, and most of the time it is in the case , but when I want it, it comes in handy. I just don't need it that often. I have a stack of UV filters that have come on lenses. I don't even use them on my film cameras. For me they cause more problems than they solve.
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