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12-11-2015, 06:23 AM   #1
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anybody have experience with Cokin x-pro polarizers?

One online buyer/reviewer found the x-pro circular polarizer of relatively poor quality. The comment said not to expect anything like the quality of B+W filters. Have any of you tried this filter?

Secondly, would it matter if I used a linear polarizer instead of a circular polarizer? Are modern DSLRs still not able to focus accurately on a consistent basis with linears?

12-11-2015, 09:00 AM   #2
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I can't speak to the quality of the newer Cokin polarizers. The old ones weren't anything special.
But the only reason I could see for using one, back in the day, was to keep it compatible with the square drop-in filter system. The last gasp for the square, or rectangular, filters was to allow sliding up and down a graduated neutral density filter. It seems there are still a few companies flogging this dead horse, but I'm completely satisfied that better, and more controllable results can be done in Photoshop. A local pro who does a lot of architectural shots, and used to live and breathe by his filter systems, agrees.
Give me a good quality, screw in polarizer, with high grade coatings, and I'm happy. Aside from low-budget models with weak coating, unflat glass (yup, seen that) and bluish colour casts, it's pretty hard to tell good polarizers apart in finished images - despite the marketing hype, and the desire to believe in magical snake oil properties that come at a higher price point.

As for linear versus circular polarizers, yes, circular polarizers are still required for DSLRs that use beam splitting semi-transparent mirrors for their AF systems (and that's all of them). If you go to live view, or are using a mirrorless, then a linear polarizer would work fine. Technically, if you are manually focusing, then a linear would work there too - unless you're using one of those cameras that use the AF points for spot metering.
12-11-2015, 09:09 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
I can't speak to the quality of the newer Cokin polarizers. The old ones weren't anything special.
But the only reason I could see for using one, back in the day, was to keep it compatible with the square drop-in filter system. The last gasp for the square, or rectangular, filters was to allow sliding up and down a graduated neutral density filter. It seems there are still a few companies flogging this dead horse, but I'm completely satisfied that better, and more controllable results can be done in Photoshop. A local pro who does a lot of architectural shots, and used to live and breathe by his filter systems, agrees.
Give me a good quality, screw in polarizer, with high grade coatings, and I'm happy. Aside from low-budget models with weak coating, unflat glass (yup, seen that) and bluish colour casts, it's pretty hard to tell good polarizers apart in finished images - despite the marketing hype, and the desire to believe in magical snake oil properties that come at a higher price point.

As for linear versus circular polarizers, yes, circular polarizers are still required for DSLRs that use beam splitting semi-transparent mirrors for their AF systems (and that's all of them). If you go to live view, or are using a mirrorless, then a linear polarizer would work fine. Technically, if you are manually focusing, then a linear would work there too - unless you're using one of those cameras that use the AF points for spot metering.
While I agree that PS can handle at least some of the high dynamic range issues that graduated neutral density filters were designed for, sometimes I prefer to use them. More important are polarizers, for which there aren't always comparable PS solutions. For the UWA zoom I am considering, it has no screw ring to attach a screw-on filter, leaving only a drop-in filter system as an option. Thus my question about the quality of those polarizers. If those polarizers are poor enough in quality (as the online reviewer felt), then I'd rather do without a filter entirely. But if they are at least decent, I would rather try them.

Last edited by sholtzma; 12-11-2015 at 06:45 PM.
12-11-2015, 05:07 PM   #4
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I purchased an XPRO circular polarizer for use over a Sigma 15~30mm zoom that I was using in the '90s and early 2000s. Rather than using the huge Cokin filter holder, I just held the filter by one edge over the lens, easiest with the camera on a tripod but clumsily manageable when hand holding. It was not entirely satisfactory on that lens because of the permanently attached petal-style hood which allowed light to peak in at the petal cut-outs causing reflections on the camera side of the filter which then appeared on the chromes. The XPRO filter is BIG.
I never had an issue with "quality" of the XPRO, but perhaps I was overly tolerant of color shifts. I expected, still expect, polarized colors to look different. An advantage of PS enhancement of sky blue - the effect of a polarizing filter varies across a large expanse of sky, stronger in some places, weak to almost no effect elsewhere. When shooting with an ultra-wide, this effect of a polarizing filter can produce a very unreal looking sky. On the other hand, if the blue saturation is increased and blue is darkened in PS, the effect will be applied uniformly across all of the sky in the image.


Last edited by WPRESTO; 12-11-2015 at 05:16 PM.
12-11-2015, 06:46 PM   #5
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But I don't know of a way to eliminate reflections without using a polarizer.
12-11-2015, 08:26 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
echnically, if you are manually focusing, then a linear would work there too - unless you're using one of those cameras that use the AF points for spot metering.
I found on my K10D a linear polarizer with affect the exposure readings too. Just turn on the meter and rotate the filter and you can see the shutter, f-stop, ISO or EV change, depending on mode. This does not happen with a circular polarizer. And yes, the exposure is affected as shown in the histogram. Since metering is taken off the ground glass the mirror polarizes the light causing the problem. It wouldn't matter using live view metering but the K10D doesn't have live view.
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