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10-14-2012, 08:22 PM   #1
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Polarizer (CPL) Questions

How do you folks use your polarizer filter?

Do you only put it on your lens when you think it's "necessary"; or, do you leave it on all the time when outside in daylight?

Do you go for maximum polarization (e.g., max blue sky), or do you back off a bit?

Aside from concerns of loss of light and uneven skies with wide angle lenses, is there any downside to leaving a polarizer in place all the time (night time and indoors excepted of course)?

Polarizers can have dramatic effects; I just want to make sure I'm using them correctly.

Any and all comments greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

penfred

10-14-2012, 09:52 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by PENFRED Quote
I just want to make sure I'm using them correctly.
Using 'em correctly implies using 'em only when they make sense and enhance the effect you're trying to achieve. Even at the zero effect setting they adversely affect your exposure by a stop or so. Treat a POL like any other special effects filter such as a star-burst filter and only mount it if, and when, you've analysed the scene and determined it's complementary to the situation.

Assuming a POL filter is always a good thing is like always using HDR effects whether the scene calls for that or not -- both filter reality.

Note that the POL filter offers one of the very few effects you can't duplicate in post processing however.

H2
10-15-2012, 12:20 AM   #3
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I would agree that they are a specialty filter and should be used when it makes sense. I use mine for the polarizing effects on skies or reducing glare. I have also used it as a neutral-density filter. On some days when I was travelling this spring, I left one on for an entire hike and found that in the harsh mid-day light it was useful for most of the landscape shots I took. So you can keep it on for lengths of time if you are going to be in consistent light or situations that would benefit from it. But I wouldn't keep it on all the time. Not at all.
10-15-2012, 12:22 AM   #4
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I generally leave a polarizer on most of the time when shooting outside. If I'm shooting with wide angle lenses or in low light (or if I need a super high shutter speed) I'll take it off. You get some weird effects with wide angle lenses that can be hard to fix. I love them for the most part. Just don't buy the slim varieties as a regular lens cap won't fit on.

10-16-2012, 02:10 AM   #5
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Use As Needed...

Hello Penfred,
I only the CPL as needed, but always have them with me. Sometimes the 1-1/2 to 2 stop reduction in light can be the difference between getting the shot or not.
They do make a substantial difference when the bright sun glare or reflections from shiny surfaces would otherwise ruin a photo.
When I do use the CPL, I set it to the maximum effect. They usually have a dot or arrow on the outer rim; This should point towards the direction of the sun. You can also see the effect through the VF, but I find the arrow helps to tune it more accurately.
With wide angle lenses, the CPL will (generally) show a darker sky in the center of the frame and lighter (less effect) towards the outer edges. I've noticed this with 24mm and wider lenses and suprisingly, less so with WA zooms.
They also make a handy ND filter for times when you want to slow the shutter speed down for effect.
Ron
10-16-2012, 02:31 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PENFRED Quote
How do you folks use your polarizer filter?
I take it out of its little box and screw it on. I usually leave the little "doors" (for lack of a better description) on my Pentax lenses' hoods off so it is easier to rotate the filter. I use the filter mainly to get rid of reflections, not so much to get blue skies. I prefer to use pseudo-HDR for the latter.

QuoteQuote:
Do you only put it on your lens when you think it's "necessary"; or, do you leave it on all the time when outside in daylight?
That would make no sense at all! I'm even not a user of the socalled "protection" filters or UV on my lenses and I would leave a CPL on? Might as well leave the lenscap on then...

QuoteQuote:
Do you go for maximum polarization (e.g., max blue sky), or do you back off a bit?
See above: I do not use it for blue sky except maybe, possibly, sometimes on the 50-135. On most of the wider angles I find the effect on the sky too uneven.

QuoteQuote:
Aside from concerns of loss of light and uneven skies with wide angle lenses, is there any downside to leaving a polarizer in place all the time (night time and indoors excepted of course)?
Yes, as with every piece of glass you add on there is some image degradation, some additional flare issues, reduced light transmission, unwanted polarization effects etc. etc. It makes no sense at all to leave anything at all on your camera all of the time - every gadget has its time and its place.

QuoteQuote:
Polarizers can have dramatic effects; I just want to make sure I'm using them correctly.
Using them correctly means using them sparingly, only when needed, to achieve a particular effect at a particular time etc.

Hope that helps!
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