Polarizing filters

Polarizing filters eliminate glare and emphasize water and sky. This filter includes two layers of glass, one of which rotates so that you can adjust the various levels of polarization effect in your image.

Polarizing filters are like sunglasses for your camera (see 7-5), and they are one of the few filters that feature the capability to rotate one of the two optical elements to achieve the best effect. A polarizer reduces the glare in an image, while improving the contrast in your photo. Colors appear more saturated and even a little more clear, depending upon the point to which you rotate the glass.

These filters are quite fun and can be very useful, especially for improving images that include water and/or sky — although they can be used to the point that the effect is almost too pronounced and the world begins to look artificially enhanced.

Polarizing filters work differently depending on the angle of the sun and how it’s hitting your lens. You see the greatest effect of a polarizing filter when your subject is at a right angle to the rays of the sun; the more direct the sunlight, the less the effect. So if you have the luxury of changing your position when shooting, be aware that the sun’s position will also change in relation, meaning that you’ll want to use a different rotational setting on your polarizing filter.

When looking for a polarizing filter, you will find that there are two types: linear and circular. Circular polarizing filters are what you want to use exclusively with your dSLR. Linear polarizers are used with film cameras in manual focus; used in a modern digital camera they can cause incorrect auto focusing and metering.

One thing to note: It’s difficult to use a rotating polarizing filter with a lens hood because you may need to physically turn the filter. To do so, you have to remove the hood, turn the polarizer to the point where you want it, and then replace the hood.

Category: Filters

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