Polarizing Filters

Started Feb 2, 2013 | Questions
C17EHSE Forum Member • Posts: 51
Polarizing Filters

I've had my D7000 now for about 3 weeks,  4 days after I got it, I was on my way to an unexpected week long business trip to Hawaii.  It's a rough job, but someone has to do it.  In any case, since I've returned, I've been doing a little research about photographing in bright sun and around water and it was suggested that I invest in a circular polarizing filter.

Amazon lists them from a few bucks to well over a hundred dollars.  I usually think you generally get what you pay when it come to this kind of stuff.  That said, the budget isn't allowing for top of line at the moment.  So, is it worth buying a Hoya or Tiffen in the 25-50 range or should I just save my pennies and buy the 115 Nikon?  I know it sounds kinda screwy after paying 1200 dollars for a camera and lens, but that's the way things go these days.

Thoughts?

Mike

 C17EHSE's gear list:C17EHSE's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP AF 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF)
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punman Regular Member • Posts: 264
Re: Polarizing Filters

I spent $50 on a Hoya 6 years ago and I have been happy with it. I have not had a $100 polarizer so maybe I don't know what I am missing.

RobCMad
RobCMad Regular Member • Posts: 352
Re: Polarizing Filters

I've had a Hoya and a cheaper filter and the difference is definitely worth the money (and I'm very tight).

Vincent O'Sullivan Regular Member • Posts: 310
Re: Polarizing Filters
1

As the others have mentioned, you don't need to go super expensive with filters.  The only point I would add would be: if you are shooting very wide - 10 to 15mm say - then consider a "low profile" polarising filter to help avoid vignetting.  (On the other hand, shooting wide angle with a polariser can mess up a blue sky more than it enhances it.)

_sem_ Veteran Member • Posts: 4,990
Re: Polarizing Filters

Try to google up a good review of polarising filters. Avoid the cheapos; any filters with no or poor coating will cause problems with bright light (ghosts etc). Aside from this, polarisers have different colour tints. Got a Hoya and I sometimes dislike it.

But in case you haven't already, the first thing to do with such light is shoot NEF, learn to expose carefully, and develop in a wide-DR capable raw converter (recommended: LR4, also the free Raw Therapee 4 if you're a bit of a masochists; not VNX2, maybe CNX2 if you use local U-point adjustments). Notice this is because the sensor captures quite some more dynamic range than what the camera is able to process properly.

Shunda77
Shunda77 Senior Member • Posts: 2,132
Get a Kenko, because they're Hoya

I believe Kenko purchased Hoya. Often the cheaper filters with 'Kenko' written on the side are in fact exactly the same filter as the more expensive 'Hoya' filter.

They are made in the same factory.

There are still even cheaper Kenko filters, but their 'better' line is likely exactly the same as Hoya except you pay less money.

Dr Chandra Regular Member • Posts: 122
Re: Get a Kenko, because they're Hoya

My 77mm Hoya filter says made by Tokina Japan on the back. It works well and only cost £25 ($39).

Catallaxy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,724
Marumi

The Marumi brand has done me well. Lenstip.com did a comparison of several of these brands a while back. Marumi was one of the value leaders.

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OP C17EHSE Forum Member • Posts: 51
Re: Polarizing Filters

punman wrote:

I spent $50 on a Hoya 6 years ago and I have been happy with it. I have not had a $100 polarizer so maybe I don't know what I am missing.

  I think I'm going to get the Hoya.  It's at that the mid point in the scale and I've not read anything negative about it.

Thanks!

Mike

 C17EHSE's gear list:C17EHSE's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP AF 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF)
OP C17EHSE Forum Member • Posts: 51
Re: Polarizing Filters

_sem_ wrote:


Try to google up a good review of polarising filters. Avoid the cheapos; any filters with no or poor coating will cause problems with bright light (ghosts etc). Aside from this, polarisers have different colour tints. Got a Hoya and I sometimes dislike it.

But in case you haven't already, the first thing to do with such light is shoot NEF, learn to expose carefully, and develop in a wide-DR capable raw converter (recommended: LR4, also the free Raw Therapee 4 if you're a bit of a masochists; not VNX2, maybe CNX2 if you use local U-point adjustments). Notice this is because the sensor captures quite some more dynamic range than what the camera is able to process properly.

Yeah, I've since changed that.  I decided to save in JPG because I only had one card but I've since invested in a second card so I've changed it to NEF.  I have LR4 and am learning to use it.

Thanks!

Mike

 C17EHSE's gear list:C17EHSE's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP AF 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF)
bravozulu Contributing Member • Posts: 897
Re: Polarizing Filters

In Hawaii the challenge to a photographer is the unusually high contrast to the light. You are, afterall, near 23° Latitude. So at 10am, the sun is directly overhead.

Learning to use a polarizing filter takes practice. I had them for my 6 film lenses, but used them less and less over the years and decades. In a setting such as Hawaii, a polarizer helps out to darken the sky. Making it a deep blue, as your eyes perceive it.

But that only works depending on which direction you are shooting. It is most effective if the axis of your lens is at right angles to the sun. So, aiming toward a Western sky when the sun is in the South is good. It is less effective shooting towards the sun or away from it.

The other good uses are for highly reflective surfaces. The sea, plate glass windows, cars.

On another forum someone laid out the uncomfortable reality of purchasing filters   – you can go broke buying them. Easily reaching $1000 for multiple filters for — say — 4 lenses.

DSLR does not warrant UV protection. That's what the experts say. I've got 1 polarizer. A German-made B+W. Instead, I am getting ND filters, including a graduated density filter that will fit any size lens. My biggest need is dropping down the bright sky above the horizon. A graduated filter does that and reduces the Dynamic Range of a scene to manageable limits. That filter is a Cokin flat glass plate, with adapters for 2 filter sizes. Cost was about $30.

Meanwhile, the new German Circular Polarizer is gathering dust. Oh, I worked in Honolulu for 6 months. We had 3 pro photographers on our news agency staff. The thoughts expressed are largely theirs.

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virtualkyr
virtualkyr Contributing Member • Posts: 677
Re: Polarizing Filters

I got the B+W   77mm Kaesemann Circular Polarizer MRC Filter  before my trip to Hawaii in September last year and loved it. It was my first time using it. It really did a great job on the skies and water.

If you've got cheaper lenses, probably not necessary to spend $100 on one, but I was using my 17-55 2.8 and wanted a nicer one on there.

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nasuryono
nasuryono Junior Member • Posts: 38
Re: Polarizing Filters

I use a Hoya thin polarizing filter that costs me around $100 - it's well worth the investment and it beats all other cheap polarizing filter that I got as a bonus to my camera purchase.

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Werner Gansz Contributing Member • Posts: 595
Re: Polarizing Filters

Many gurus suggest spending extra for a thin version to allow WA lenses without vignetting.  That's what I did.  But as mentioned above, the polarizing effect is angle dependent and varies enough to ruin the skies of WA scenic shots with lots of blue sky.  It's a bit better if there are some clouds because they mask some of the changes in color.  Trying to smooth out the color variations with local adjustments is not easy.

I've also shot foliage and blue Caribbean seas with polarizers and they can turn foliage dull and lifeless  and remove the sparkle from water and intensify the color.  That's not always a good thing.  Both can look very unnatural.

A polarizer is not a panacea, just another thing to learn how to control.  It helps with hazy horizons, seeing beyond reflections in glass and water, intensify the colors of fall foliage, etc. but it can also alter the scene significantly and not necessarily for the better.

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jquagga Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Size matters

No one in the thread has mentioned, well threads.  It's probably worth thinking more about what lenses you're likely to get in the future as you'll want whatever filter you buy to be as big or bigger.  I started out buying 52mm filters as that was what my Oly XZ-1 and the Nikon kit lenses took.  I upgraded to a lens that takes 72mm filters so my 52mm B+W polarizer sits on a shelf gathering dust.

Today I standardized on a 77mm filter and I have stepping rings so I can mount that on a 72 or 52mm thread.  Rings are like $5 so easy enough to get if I get a lens with a different thread set.

OP C17EHSE Forum Member • Posts: 51
Re: Polarizing Filters

bravozulu wrote:

In Hawaii the challenge to a photographer is the unusually high contrast to the light. You are, afterall, near 23° Latitude. So at 10am, the sun is directly overhead.

Learning to use a polarizing filter takes practice. I had them for my 6 film lenses, but used them less and less over the years and decades. In a setting such as Hawaii, a polarizer helps out to darken the sky. Making it a deep blue, as your eyes perceive it.

But that only works depending on which direction you are shooting. It is most effective if the axis of your lens is at right angles to the sun. So, aiming toward a Western sky when the sun is in the South is good. It is less effective shooting towards the sun or away from it.

The other good uses are for highly reflective surfaces. The sea, plate glass windows, cars.

On another forum someone laid out the uncomfortable reality of purchasing filters – you can go broke buying them. Easily reaching $1000 for multiple filters for — say — 4 lenses.

DSLR does not warrant UV protection. That's what the experts say. I've got 1 polarizer. A German-made B+W. Instead, I am getting ND filters, including a graduated density filter that will fit any size lens. My biggest need is dropping down the bright sky above the horizon. A graduated filter does that and reduces the Dynamic Range of a scene to manageable limits. That filter is a Cokin flat glass plate, with adapters for 2 filter sizes. Cost was about $30.

Meanwhile, the new German Circular Polarizer is gathering dust. Oh, I worked in Honolulu for 6 months. We had 3 pro photographers on our news agency staff. The thoughts expressed are largely theirs.

Wow!  Thank you for that!  I'm sure I'll be back in HI at some point.  We send a crew out there every six months.  My next scheduled trip is to Riverside, CA in a couple weeks and Anchorage in April.  Well get a chance to experiment in the SoCal Desert.

Mike

 C17EHSE's gear list:C17EHSE's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP AF 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF)
OP C17EHSE Forum Member • Posts: 51
Re: Size matters

jquagga wrote:

No one in the thread has mentioned, well threads. It's probably worth thinking more about what lenses you're likely to get in the future as you'll want whatever filter you buy to be as big or bigger. I started out buying 52mm filters as that was what my Oly XZ-1 and the Nikon kit lenses took. I upgraded to a lens that takes 72mm filters so my 52mm B+W polarizer sits on a shelf gathering dust.

Today I standardized on a 77mm filter and I have stepping rings so I can mount that on a 72 or 52mm thread. Rings are like $5 so easy enough to get if I get a lens with a different thread set.

At this point in time, I only have one lens.  I need a 67 mm.  If I get another size Lens, I'll figure it out when I get there.

Mike

 C17EHSE's gear list:C17EHSE's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP AF 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF)
Larold Contributing Member • Posts: 752
Re: Size matters

I love my CP on my 18-200 Nikon lens, but I can't use a lens cap with the thin filter.

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Larold

madecov
madecov Veteran Member • Posts: 5,278
Re: Get a Kenko, because they're Hoya

Shunda77 wrote:

I believe Kenko purchased Hoya. Often the cheaper filters with 'Kenko' written on the side are in fact exactly the same filter as the more expensive 'Hoya' filter.

They are made in the same factory.

There are still even cheaper Kenko filters, but their 'better' line is likely exactly the same as Hoya except you pay less money.

Kind of the opposite, Hoya owns Kenko, Tokina and recently sold Pentax photographic division.

They just re branded most of the filters.

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