ND Filter or Polarizer


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Jan 14, 2007
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Colorado Springs, CO
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I need to prioritize the purchase of either a ND Filter or polarizer for a 12-24 W/A lens. Which would you buy first and why would you select it?

Also, do you layer over a skylight or use direct? Thanks in advance folks!
Polarizer should be your first purchase.
ND filters are not needed, but are good for lengthening exposure times, unless it's a graduated ND filter which are great for scenes with mixed light intensities, like horizons

The polarizer will cut glare(reflections) on reflective subjects, give colours a boost and cuts some haze in the sky to give great skies.

check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_(photography)#Polarizer
Be aware that the effect of a polariser depends on the relative position of camera, subject and light source. When used with a wide angle the effect won't be uniform across the frame. For example, if you were to use a polariser with a wide angle (wider than 24mm on full frame) to take a picture of a blue sky, the intensity of the colours would not be the same across the frame and the result could look very unnatural.
unless you were using a special wide-angle skylight filter, (and even then, i'd probably still take it off) you'll probably be catching the edges of the filter if you decide to stack them. I also see a greater use with a circular polariser than an ND, but it depends upon the kind of photos your wanting to shoot.
definitely a polarizer. ND is useful for some things, but a polarizer is good for far more situations.
I'd rock it straight up on the end of the lens.
In the digital world, ND filters are needed a LOT less than on film. You can always doctor an exposure to a lower level as long as the highlights are not blown out.
Some great comments here folks. One of the great benefits about this forum is leveraging everyone's knowledge and experience. Thank you.
I'd definitely have the CPL before the ND. I bought this B+W CPL and this Hoya ND for my 12-24mm lens. The CPL is "slim" and has no problems, for me, of showing on the edges. I just make the adjustments before I slide on the hood.
Yep go for the polarizer first. It also acts as a poor mans ND, as it reduces light by 2 stops.

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