CPL filters helpful?

35mm4me

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What are your thoughts on using a CPL Filters?

Thanks
 

Stevepwns

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I use them on sunny days to slow down my shutter speed, and to bring a little more color in my lesser expensive Tamron lens.
 

hirejn

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The CPL does two things that you'll usually do in post anyway, if used correctly: enhance saturation and contrast. A CPL gets your files to a better starting point out of camera. However, the only time I use it is for landscapes. I don't have time to fiddle with it for weddings or portraits. I try to get as much done in camera as possible, not because I hate the computer but because nobody is paying me to process my landscapes. Unlike a lot of pros, I don't hate the computer. I don't mind it. If a client is paying me for images, all the more reason to get done faster and do what I want with the rest of the time I'm getting paid for.
 

Derrel

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My thought: use a circular polarizer to eliminate glare on leaves and water and wet rocks--but do not remove so much glare as to render the scene fake-looking. A good part of the gestalt of many landscape and marine scenes is the diffuse reflection that forms on top of the water; polarizing away almost all of the reflection can often make the photos look very bad, very odd, very "wrong".
 
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35mm4me

35mm4me

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My thought: use a circular polarizer to eliminate glare on leaves and water and wet rocks--but do not remove so much glare as to render the scene fake-looking. A good part of the gestalt of many landscape and marine scenes is the diffuse reflection that forms on top of the water; polarizing away almost all of the reflection can often make the photos look very bad, very odd, very "wrong".

Very cool advice, as I get ready for a trip to the California coast with my new Nikon D3100 finally out of the point and shoots.. Its been a long time coming
How about a UV for all-around shooting. Any thoughts?
Thanks
 

HughGuessWho

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The CPL does two things that you'll usually do in post anyway, if used correctly: enhance saturation and contrast. A CPL gets your files to a better starting point out of camera. However, the only time I use it is for landscapes. I don't have time to fiddle with it for weddings or portraits. I try to get as much done in camera as possible, not because I hate the computer but because nobody is paying me to process my landscapes. Unlike a lot of pros, I don't hate the computer. I don't mind it. If a client is paying me for images, all the more reason to get done faster and do what I want with the rest of the time I'm getting paid for.

CPL's will remove or limit glare from water, glass, etc, which cannot be accomplished in post.
 

cgipson1

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My thought: use a circular polarizer to eliminate glare on leaves and water and wet rocks--but do not remove so much glare as to render the scene fake-looking. A good part of the gestalt of many landscape and marine scenes is the diffuse reflection that forms on top of the water; polarizing away almost all of the reflection can often make the photos look very bad, very odd, very "wrong".

Very cool advice, as I get ready for a trip to the California coast with my new Nikon D3100 finally out of the point and shoots.. Its been a long time coming
How about a UV for all-around shooting. Any thoughts?
Thanks

Digital sensors are not UV sensitive.. eliminating the need for a UV filter.
 

TCampbell

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I also use CPL to shoot through glass.

What's cool about a CPL is that it can selectively decide what light can pass through the filter based on each waves polarity. Light reflections off a surface will generally all have (mostly) the same polarity whereas ambient light will have random polarity. What that means is CPLs are particularly adept at removing "reflection" ... ANY kind of reflection.

The reason leafy green foliage looks "greener" through a CPL is because leaves have a waxy coating that reflects light... giving them a bit of a shine (even leaves that you wouldn't normally think of as shiny have this coating.) By eliminating the reflection off the leaf, what you see is the true green of the leaf itself rather than the reflection of the bright sky. This is something you CANNOT correct in Photoshop (not unless you plan to clone in leaves from someplace else.) The ability to cancel out reflections in the air, on walls, on glass surfaces, on waxy surfaces, on water, in foliage, etc. means the CPL just generally creates superior contrast and makes colors look more vibrant -- but not because you cranked the saturation, but really because you eliminated reflections from all those surfaces which were muting the colors.

Not all CPLs are created equal. Low cost CPLs may create a color-cast in your images and may not reduce as much glare as a high quality CPL. If you've got a polarized monitor (a lot of monitors have polarized surfaces) you can hold the CPL in front of it and rotate it slowly. Make sure the side that mounts to the camera faces YOU (yes... it matters. Just for fun, flip it around backwards and do the same thing and you'll see the result is COMPLETELY different.) A good CPL will take the image almost completely black at some point. A budget CPL will just dim the image but it wont go nearly black. BTW, use the filter backward and you'll notice that instead of being color neutral... the image shifts between a gold/amber color and a blue/violet color (you can actually "buy" blue/gold polarizers to create interesting polarization effects in photos and they're just normal polarizers with the filter installed backwards.)

Sometimes a hint of reflection is a good thing... so depending on what I'm shooting, I might find the optimum tuning for the CPL, but the deliberately de-tune it slightly. This way I don't completely eliminate reflection (which wont look as realistic), but it allows me to show off a hint of it without the reflections being distracting.

Every photographer should own a CPL and at least one ND filter.
 

grafxman

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Several years ago I put the best CPL filters I could find (B+W) on all my lenses. I was plagued with reflections from museum displays and info placards in zoos. The filters did nothing to reduce the reflections. I was so annoyed by this failure to perform that I wrote to B+W and requested an explanation. It turns out that while CPL filters are pretty good at reducing reflections from glass they don't work at all with plastics. The B+W rep said this was because the plastic material was random in structure. Reflections were occurring internally all through the plastic.

Leaving them on my lenses while shooting outdoors degraded the image quality and often required an adjustment to reduce darkening thus causing a missed photo. I took the damn things off and haven't used them since. I do put B+W UV filters on all my lenses however that's just to protect the front element in case I bang the lens into something. I'd rather break a filter than the smash the lens. I've never used a neutral density filter.
 

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