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01-04-2010, 02:36 AM   #1
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polarizing filter

Does anyone have an opinion on the cheap polarizing filters selling on Ebay,and of what quality are they compared to the brand names.

01-04-2010, 09:25 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by regbaron Quote
Does anyone have an opinion on the cheap polarizing filters selling on Ebay,and of what quality are they compared to the brand names.
In general, I wouldn't expect much of the no-names. Often they'll lack good coatings or have serious color-casts. Sometimes there's bargains on a good polarizer there (There's just so many sold that everything doesn't always get bid up sky-high) but in general you pay for what you get.

Sometimes there's something to be said for having a polarizer that isn't too precious to want to use if you're in lousy conditions, though: top-quality ones can get pretty darn expensive, particularly in big sizes: if I were living, say, nearer the sea or blowing sand, I'd probably have one that wasn't pristine or pricey just so I wouldn't be dissuaded from taking a chance by using my nicest. A lot of that depends what the money is to you.

It also depends on your budget and what you'll be using the thing for the most... And what size you're talking about (bigger ones tend to be much higher in price with these: it adds up to pretty significant coin, the quality difference, if you're talking about something like 67mm and up, it tends to matter less in smaller sizes.

Maybe try looking for Marumi filters, those are well-regarded and seem to be a good overall price point.
01-04-2010, 11:09 AM   #3
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I've had good performance from Sonia brand polarizers and filters.
01-04-2010, 01:15 PM   #4
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There are several things unique to polarizers, which may at first not be obvious. The unique properties cannot be had for cheap.:
  • a polarizer is build off two glass plates with a polarizing foil in between.
  • that means: 4 glass-to-air surfaces and accordingly a much more pronounced light loss and the possibility of added ghosting and flaring
  • therefore a good multi-coating is very important for a polarizer
  • also, two glass plates with 4 surfaces need polishing to acceptable optical standards. Only very few manufacturers actually do mechnical polishing (B+W, Hoya on the better filter series). Most only apply "flame polishing", which may (just) be sufficient with a single glass, but with two glasses, it is not good enough
  • the foil is prone to degradation over time. Aerosols, simple humidty etc. all contribute to faster degradation and only high quality foil will stand up to many years of service
    also this foil may introduce subtle or severe colour shifts. The Cokin polarizers are "famous" for that and if you do a search, you'll find more examples
  • the rotating mount affords higher precision during manufacturing, to ensure not oinly smooth rotation, but smooth rotation under any thinkable climate, severe cold or summer heat

These are the facts. Whether a special polarizer fails miserably or performs to a useable or even to a high standard cannot, ofcourse, be concluded by these general assessment. But there is "no free beer". I personally would prefer a secondhand high quality filter to a cheap new one.



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