Recommend me a polarizer

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Martin.au
Martin.au Forum Pro • Posts: 14,098
Recommend me a polarizer

I have a nice Hoya HMC Super low-profile polarizer in 62mm for my 12-40 (and smaller lenses).

However, I notice that it tends to degrade image quality, especially obvious on hi-res shots. The filtered shots are very obviously less sharp than the unfiltered shots.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a low-profile polarizer that doesn't have much of an impact on IQ? It also probably can't have a thread on the front of it, or it may vignette at 12mm.

Polarized hi-res

Unfiltered hi-res

Polarized normal shot

Unfiltered normal shot.

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Wu Jiaqiu
Wu Jiaqiu Forum Pro • Posts: 26,916
Re: Recommend me a polarizer
2

always found B+W polarizers to be excellent

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the computer says no

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cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 3,141
Re: Recommend me a polarizer

Wu Jiaqiu wrote:

always found B+W polarizers to be excellent

B+W make 3 polarizers. The ones with foils from the Kasemann factory are the premium line (Schneider owns both B+W and Kasemann factories). The XS has a low profile frame, the F a standard frame. Frames are made of brass.

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rashid7
rashid7 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,642
Re: Recommend me a polarizer

cba_melbourne wrote:

Wu Jiaqiu wrote:

always found B+W polarizers to be excellent

B+W make 3 polarizers. The ones with foils from the Kasemann factory are the premium line (Schneider owns both B+W and Kasemann factories). The XS has a low profile frame, the F a standard frame. Frames are made of brass.

i have a B&W F-Pro, that i'm not impressed with.  It just doesn't cut the glare as well as my Hoyas.  Obviously there are many dif levels in each brand.  You probably (usually?) get what you pay for.

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AndyH44 Senior Member • Posts: 2,122
Re: Recommend me a polarizer

Breakthrough Technology X4 CPLs work great for me.  Not cheap but they also have a 25 year Guarantee.  

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rogerstpierre Veteran Member • Posts: 4,564
Re: Recommend me a polarizer

C-PL is one thing where you often don't get what you pay for, in other words higher price, or brand reputation is no guaranty of better result. Did a lot of research when I bought my last C-PL filters, and the Marumi DHJ Super came out as a very good value and I like it. From the reviews I've seen I would get the top-of-the-line B+W but it is quite expensive, I would not bother with their cheaper options. This said I can't do high res tests to see if the Marumi affects sharpness or not as it does for you, but you might find that a vast majority of filters do, but not to the point of loosing details (which you didn't with your current C-PL), which can be easily recovered with a good sharpening tool such as Topaz Sharpen AI.

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Roger

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RobbieBear Senior Member • Posts: 2,109
Re: Recommend me a polarizer
1

I use a Marumi DHG Super on my 12-40.

It is very low profile.

Check out Lenstip review from 2009

Just be careful using it at 12 with sky.

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TheEye
TheEye Veteran Member • Posts: 4,835
B+W XS-Pro, extra-slim Käsemann

I'd only get a Käsemann because its edges have been sealed for environmental resistance. I have a 30-year-old Heliopan Käsemann that has survived cold, hot, and humid environments. The B+W XS-Pro has a very slim mount and would be my current choice.

boxerman Senior Member • Posts: 1,807
Breakthrough, Marumi, B+W

Polarizers are important to me. I have one on my 12-40 at all times, except when the light gets really dim. So, I've been shopping around. Don't look for anything cheap on this list.

1. Breakthrough Photography X4 - My current best choice. They advertise best-in-class color uniformity, which has been validated in independent tests. Also, very high transmissivity. The downside is that they can be sticky on the lens, hard to get off. I got a wrench (cheapish plastic coated wire) and that always works. Pain to worry about carrying it, though. Still, I have absolutely no qualms about the optical performance.

2. Marumi Exus - I was looking around for an alternative to my go-to B+W when it seemed people had problems with the B+W thin frame made the lens touch the filter. Haven't actually had any problems, but I did love my Marumi Exus, particularly the water-repelling coating and the teflon coated threading. BUT, the coating began to deteriorate after a bit, so I moved on to Breakthrough.

3. B+W Kaeseman - I never had anything bad to think about B+W. But, I began to meander and got to ones I like better for various reasons, the most important of which are listed above.

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The BoxerMan

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cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 3,141
Re: Recommend me a polarizer
2

rogerstpierre wrote:

C-PL is one thing where you often don't get what you pay for, in other words higher price, or brand reputation is no guaranty of better result. Did a lot of research when I bought my last C-PL filters, and the Marumi DHJ Super came out as a very good value and I like it. From the reviews I've seen I would get the top-of-the-line B+W but it is quite expensive, I would not bother with their cheaper options. This said I can't do high res tests to see if the Marumi affects sharpness or not as it does for you, but you might find that a vast majority of filters do, but not to the point of loosing details (which you didn't with your current C-PL), which can be easily recovered with a good sharpening tool such as Topaz Sharpen AI.

No need for tests. If it is a bad filter, it will be very obvious if you use it on a long focal length. The longer the FL, the more obvious it will be.

If it is not obvious, well then it is "good enough" for the particular purpose.

Polarizers are particularly notorious at degrading IQ because of their complex structure. It involves embedding a plastic foil in a resin between two glass plates. No other filter is that complex, except a variable ND filter which is made of two stacked polarizing filters.

What you pay for in a premium polarizing filter is:

- grinding flat and parallel and polishing the glass-foil-glass sandwitch after the embedding resin has set. This also implies coating be done after this step, not before.

- superior anti reflective coatings on the glass surfaces, sometimes an extra anti wear and dirt/water repellant coating

- use of a superior grade plastic polarizing foil, that is additionally selected for minimum color tint. This implies that the rejected foils are sold to other filter makers or users of such foils where a slight tint does not matter. Or are used in the non-premium filter range. B+W owns the Kasemann factory that specializes in making polarizing foils for the industry (like needed for display manufacturing).

- foil with a low neutral density, letting more light through for the same or almost same polarizing effect. You do not always use polarizers for outdoor shots in full sun. You use them also indoors at low light, for example in a museum against glass box reflections from skylights, windows, spotlights...

- sealing of the edges of the filter to avoid the plastic foil absorbing humidity.

- better QC and less variation

- filter rings made of brass, not aluminium which is more prone to galling on the lens threads.

- sometime a hologram sticker on the packaging to discourage faking. Sometime with an encrypted code that can be checked on the maker's website for authenticity. There are fake filters around.

Not saying there are not many other filter makers that make good filters too. But the Kasemann factory made themselves a reputation a long time ago for some of the very best quality polarizing foils. I think if nothing else, it gives some peace of mind, in a market full of brands and often unjustified huge price differences. And B+W is one of the few makers, that actually tell you a little bit how their filters are made and what is in them, at least for their premium range. They still manufacture in Germany by the way.

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glassoholic
glassoholic Veteran Member • Posts: 5,614
Re: Recommend me a polarizer

Many polarisers can degrade IQ far more than "normal" UV type "protection" filters. I settled on the Hoya Fusion range... they are not the top of the range (most expensive) but I cannot fault them and as a bonus, the nano type coating is easy to clean vs the very hard to clean HMC type Hoya coating.

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Wildalaskaken
Wildalaskaken Senior Member • Posts: 1,394
Re: Recommend me a polarizer

Another marumi user here

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Mauro Rau Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Recommend me a polarizer

Hi Martin,

I use a Hoya Pro1 on 62mm lenses and a NISI Pro Nano on 72mm, the latter being low profile and with a warmer tone.

I am happy with both though if I have to be honest I don't use them too often.

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Bernard de Clairvaux Senior Member • Posts: 1,214
Re: Recommend me a polarizer

Wu Jiaqiu wrote:

always found B+W polarizers to be excellent

Agreed,

Bernard

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