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03-09-2011, 12:29 PM   #1
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Which filter to get?

I'll be heading to the sunny Caribbean in two weeks. Which filter would be better for shooting in bright sun, over water, etc. - a circular polarizing filter or a neutral density filter?

03-09-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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A Polarizing filter will cut down on reflections from the water, your also likely to see better color saturation because it cuts down on reflective glare on almost anything that can reflect light. You also have the benefit with a polarizer in that it cuts down light like a weak neutral density filter. A neutral density filter cuts down light by its rated number of stops. Hope this helps, have fun.

BTW: With a Polarizer, be sure to slowly rotate it while looking through the viewfinder until you achieve the desired polarizing effect.

Last edited by average-guy; 03-10-2011 at 07:26 PM.
03-09-2011, 01:12 PM   #3
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+1 on the CPL, the ND is most useful for slowing right down (i have an nd 8 for this, good for water motion shots) another useful one for the bright sunny days is an nd grad to balance the sky a little
03-09-2011, 03:05 PM   #4
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CPL, but consider how many lenses you are bringing and which filter sizes you'll be needing.

03-09-2011, 04:15 PM   #5
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Rena, do you currently own a Circular Polarizer?

If so, if you buy correctly, one filter will handle all of your lenses with the proper modification rings.

If not, let us know.

But an ND is the last thing you need right now.
03-09-2011, 05:36 PM   #6
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Definitely a circular polarizer over a nd filter. However, have you considered a neutral gradient density filter? Might be helpful in bright sky conditions
03-09-2011, 06:37 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rena Quote
I'll be heading to the sunny Caribbean in two weeks. Which filter would be better for shooting in bright sun, over water, etc. - a circular polarizing filter or a neutral density filter?
where are you going in the caribbean? went down in dec to belieze, roatan hondaras, caymen islands and cozamel mexico.
what great photo opertunities you are going to have!
I would suggest a lens shade for sure

randy
03-09-2011, 08:56 PM   #8
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Generally, you only need an ND filter if you are trying to extend shutter speed, such as to create a smooth effect with moving water. And in very bright conditions, you'd need a very serious ND filter, not the typical 1 or 2 stop filter, to achieve that effect.

Polarizing filters can be useful, but I actually find them more useful in overcast conditions, where I'm trying to reduce reflections from foliage. You have to be careful to avoid overusing the filter - sometimes you want to rotate it so that you get a little effect, but not too much. It's sometimes possible for the filter to cut reflections to the point where the results can be somewhat flat and dull. Also, you have to avoid over-darkening already-blue skies, and avoid creating inconsistencies in sky color with wide-angle lenses (the polarizing effect varies in different parts of the sky.)

You may want one of those infamous clear filters for lens protection in the environment you'll be in.

Paul

03-10-2011, 12:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
You may want one of those infamous clear filters for lens protection in the environment you'll be in.
I had big image quality problems caused by a poor example - I'm not sure if the coatings or the optical quality were the problem, but the results were horrid. Got a Hoya HMC and it's all fine now, just as good as without the filter. And yes, I'd not consider going on the beach without one. I walked about 1km each way along the beach and could taste the salt on my face, if would have been all over the camera as well.

The Hoya HMC was top of the Lenstip UV filter tests:

UV filters test - Introduction - Lenstip.com

They have tested CPLs as well:

Polarizing filters test - Introduction - Lenstip.com

It's worth checking around for prices - I got mine on Ebay for about 2/3 the price from a 'normal' retailer, and it is genuine and arrived the next day.

(However that was a UK retailer, not a US one.)

PS the other option for a CPL, NDs and so on is to look into Cokin-style square filters - the P-size - and for graduated filters it's a much more flexible system as you can slide the filter up & down to get the graduation in the right place.
03-10-2011, 05:27 PM   #10
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Thanks to all who replied. I purchased a C-polarizing filter today to take on my trip. I'm only taking one lens--18-135 WR--which I purchased specifically as my "walk around" lens. Hopefully the combination of K7 and this lens will do it all. Thanks again for your comments.
Rena
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