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01-25-2013, 11:29 AM   #1
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So I've got a Sigma 10-20mm lens coming to me. I'm wanting to try my hand at some landscape shooting. My question is what would be the better initial investment, a CPL or graduated ND filters?

01-25-2013, 11:46 AM   #2
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Hi Eccs,

Personally I would choose a CPL- it adds something to your pics you cannot add in pp. (or at least, I haven't found out yet ND filters are relatively easy to simulate in LR, although you may need to bracket and HDR... Just my thoughts...
01-25-2013, 12:05 PM   #3
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Be careful with a CPL on a wide angle lens. Polarisation varies across the sky relative to the position of the sun, so with a wide angle lenses you can/will get a variation in the colour of the sky across the shot. It will, however, help with reducing reflections from leaves and water.

ND grads allow you to 'balance' exposure between land and sky, but as 'fishy' says, you may be able to correct exposure in pp.

Personally, I'd just get out there and enjoy your new lens and only worry about CPL's, ND grads, etc once you find a need, because you'll need to spend a lot of $'s in order to get CPL's and ND grads that won't degrade the image, add colour castes, etc.

Not wishing to teach you how to suck eggs, but this is a useful resource> Choosing a Camera Lens Filter
01-25-2013, 12:07 PM   #4
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True - the polarizing effect is one attribute you can't effectively duplicate in PP while ND and GND effects are relatively easy.

However, very wide landscape scenes that include the sky don't work well with polarization because the effect isn't uniform across the panoramic view of a 10-20mm lens. The polarizing effect varies from minimum to maximum across 90 degrees of field of view of the sky. If using polarization for OTHER THAN panoramic landscape scenes (e.g., using the WA lens for perspective control) the PL filter could be useful and in some cases it may be used as an alternative to a variable ND filter.

H2

01-25-2013, 12:18 PM   #5
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ND for shooting moving water. CPL is problematic with blue sky on ultra-wides, making PP a better option for sky tinkering.

Last edited by civiletti; 01-25-2013 at 12:18 PM. Reason: add info
01-25-2013, 12:56 PM   #6
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Regular or variable NDs (not graduated NDs) is your only option to SLOW your shutterspeed, useful for flowing water and sometimes other special effects. Of course a CPL can help a little in this case.

Personally I don't like the limitations of graduated filters being split in the middle, with corresponding limitations in composition, and prefer LR adjustments or HDR (I am using tripod anyway for those type shots).
01-25-2013, 01:10 PM   #7
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Wow, great info there people. I never would have thought about that issue with a CPL on a wide lens. Excellent info. I has thought about the grad ND and being able to duplicate it in LR, but someone had suggested it as an option, so wanted to see what others had to say. A regular ND is a good idea. One I didn't think of, but completely makes sense. Thanks again.
01-25-2013, 01:57 PM   #8
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I have a DA 12-24 and after some use, I've basically abandoned using a CPL: on it for most things.

01-25-2013, 02:27 PM   #9
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Above all, remember to shoot in RAW format so you can recover both highlights and shadows if the exposure was not spot on, or if there was too much dynamic range for the 8-bit JPG file to capture everything.

A good tripod also will help a lot, more than any filter. As others already mentioned, CPL is tricky at the very wide end, and most graduated filters can be implemented in Lightroom assuming that you have a RAW image.
01-25-2013, 05:30 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by demp10 Quote
Above all, remember to shoot in RAW format so you can recover both highlights and shadows if the exposure was not spot on, or if there was too much dynamic range for the 8-bit JPG file to capture everything.

A good tripod also will help a lot, more than any filter. As others already mentioned, CPL is tricky at the very wide end, and most graduated filters can be implemented in Lightroom assuming that you have a RAW image.
RAW all the time, so no fear there. :-) Tripod is a good tip as well. Luckily I've got a decent once of those.
01-25-2013, 10:39 PM   #11
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I have had a CPL for years. I love it. It is a must have for shooting water and outdoors to take away the glare. I love my Polarized sunglasses. I think to take away the glare with the camera is better then trying to fix it in Lightroom or photoshop. That said the CPL is not something I keep on all the time. There are times where you just don't want to mess with the shot. Its still a good filter to have.

It is a must have for photographers. I also use a UV filter and leave it on always. It give added protection and helps with keeping a photo looking good.
01-25-2013, 11:51 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by eccs19 Quote
Wow, great info there people. I never would have thought about that issue with a CPL on a wide lens. Excellent info. I has thought about the grad ND and being able to duplicate it in LR, but someone had suggested it as an option, so wanted to see what others had to say. A regular ND is a good idea. One I didn't think of, but completely makes sense. Thanks again.

Polarization of clear sky varies from a maximum at 90 degrees to the sun to a minimum toward the sun and at 180 degrees from the sun. So with an ultrawide, the value of the sky will be quite uneven, especially in landscape orientation.

Before Lightroom, I used a large neutral density gel held in front of the lens to get the exposure adjustment where i wanted it. LR is much easier and more precise. Also, I can alter the highlights and shadows separately, which sometimes can alter what's needed with less chance of showing uneven exposure nearby.
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