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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Neutral density v Circular Polarizer...I am looking to add a filter to my kit for my 12- 24 lens which is 77mm diameter I ...
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Old 21-01-2015, 11:41   #1 (permalink)
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Neutral density v Circular Polarizer

I am looking to add a filter to my kit for my 12- 24 lens which is 77mm diameter

I was reading somewhere the other day that a polarizer can be used where you might use an ND filter for nice water etc but added bonus of richer colours and so on

Does anyone use a circular polarizer this way? Any advice? The ND for this size was quite pricey in the camera store I pass every single day but it was a Hoya I think but as I'll probably just get one or t'other at this point I'm keen to get the most versatile if possible

I have and ND for one of my old sigma lenses but find I'm using the 12- 24 a lot when I'm out shooting landscapes etc
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Old 21-01-2015, 14:09   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Neutral density v Circular Polarizer

It depends on your interests/style, but for me a polarizing filter is the first one I get and think that 'every photographer should have one' . However, like picking up a long focus lens for the first time and expecting brilliant results, polarizers do take some getting used to. They are certainly worth learning with!

Their positive character is:
  • to cut down glare and reflections
  • they are also very handy for high dynamic range shots as they will tend to cut/control the flare from highlights, enabling you to get more detail out of the shadows by increasing the exposure.
  • It's "in camera" photography. You cannot reproduce the results obtained by a polarizing filter using software. You can probably get fairly close but ...
  • They can be used in all genres; portrait, macro, landscape ...

They have a few negative characters as well:-
  • the most notable of which is their behaviour with wide angle lenses in landscape. Misuse can give unwanted, heavy skies that looks like over emphasized vignetting. Not really recommended, but you can experiment.
  • They can be over used for everything - the difference between full flash and subtle flash (that you're unaware of in the final picture).
  • It seems obvious but they depend upon a correctly positioned light source in order to be effective. In average lighting there is little use in using them unless you need to increase the exposure for say using a wider aperture. (An ND is an ND in all lighting conditions).
  • It's "in camera" photography. Getting the right exposure can be tricky, and needs some experimenting.
  • Linear polarizers confuse the focussing system of many modern cameras and it is normally recommended to use circular polarizers. You can use linear if you manual focus.
  • They are expensive - I would advise against buying cheap

Hope that helps.
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Old 21-01-2015, 14:48   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Neutral density v Circular Polarizer

As Graham said, polorisers on wide angle lenses often will give a graduated effect on skies. I used one with my standard 24-70 zoom at 24mm and the effect was very prevalent.

These were the shots that were least affected, but you can see it in #2, #6 and #8. The portrait ones are least affected as there is a smaller range across the sky.

http://www.pixalo.com/community/land...tml#post364725

#3 in this set taken with a Sigma 10-20 at 20mm.

http://www.pixalo.com/community/phot...tml#post185268

So a useful filter but with limited effectiveness with wide angle lenses. Worth borrowing one if you can before you commit, or trying before you buy.
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Old 21-01-2015, 17:15   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Neutral density v Circular Polarizer

I do not know which lens you have but I have a Sigma 12-24mm and you cannot fit a filter. I do have a polarising filter for my other lenses all of which are 77mm which is convenient as I only need one filter. I did buy a Hoya filter. I also have a 6 stop ND filter. I actually rarely use either. However, they are for completely different purposes. CP filters are obviously very useful for getting rid of unwanted reflections. While CP filters can darken the sky, it can result in an artificial looking image and the increased saturation may also look odd. So on the whole I prefer to make such adjustments by editing the Raw file and thus have more control. The ND filter is probably essential if you want to capture milky rivers, seas etc. Without a strong ND, it is not possible to obtain the correct exposure and very slow speeds to blur the water. If I lived nearer the sea, I would take more of this type of shot.
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Old 21-01-2015, 21:51   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Neutral density v Circular Polarizer

Thanks for the feedback I will ponder it a while longer before I commit, I had a circular polarizer for one of my sigma lenses but it broke and the few times I used it I had mixed results which I put down to inexperience and I think that 90 degree angle stuff increases the complexity. However, I do live in the land of harsh, hot sun so I'm thinking for that reason it may be worthwhile .....
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