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Old Aug 6, 2005, 2:35 PM   #1
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I'm going on vacation in about a week and will be taking a lot of landscape and 'around-town' type photos. For these photos,would it be worthwhile toget a polarizer filter?Up to now I've been using just a UV filter on my Fuji S5100. Also, with a polarizer is it OK to leave it on the camera when taking indoor and people shots? I don't really want the hassle of taking a filter off constantly when going in and out of places while site seeing. If there is something besides a polarizer that will work I'd be interested in that too.

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Old Aug 6, 2005, 5:28 PM   #2
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my understanding of the polarizing filter, is to minimize relections... so taking pictures of or through glass, water, etc, the filter is necessary. And it will make the greens greener and sky's bluer. Do not use it indoors where flash may be used, as it will cause some distortion in the picture. I found this out the hard way.!! have a great trip!


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Old Aug 6, 2005, 8:50 PM   #3
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I'd suggest that you get a polarizing filter (or whatever) after you return from your vacation. New equipment on a vacation is a good way to spoil your time and likely to spoil your photos as well.
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Old Aug 6, 2005, 11:54 PM   #4
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No one that takes pictures outdoors should be without a polarizer. They offer advantages that even Photoshop would be hard pressed to replicate.
If there's some primo scenery where you're going, you might kick yourself later if you don't bring one.
Then again, you will have to remove it indoors. Only you can determine if the hassle outweighs the benefit.
You know, someone should make a hinged filter holder that you could just swing out of the way in such circumstances. Maybe there is such a thing. Anyone heard of it?
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Old Aug 7, 2005, 12:26 AM   #5
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With the Cokin series you just pop it in then pull it out real easy to do. Have a great vacation!!!


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Old Aug 7, 2005, 1:40 AM   #6
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I don't necessarily agree that a polarizer is that useful if you are into post processing. I would rather make the sky a darker blue in post processing than mess with a polarizer. It will help with reflections from water, but it usually doesn't help for glass unless the reflection is from an acute angle. Sometimes the water looks better with the reflections anyway.

I always carried a polarizer with my film cameras that would take them. But I find the digital darkroom superior. Polarization isn't even across the sky and I find I do better in post processing.

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Old Aug 7, 2005, 2:00 AM   #7
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Polarizers do a lot more than just darken the sky; they will remove reflections and alter the light. Some of it can be reproduced in software. Some cannot, you cannot alter in software what was not captured in the first place

Think of your polarized sun glasses,look at water with and without them, without them all you see is glare and reflections. With them you see down into the lake/river bottom.
Does similar things for controlling reflections coming off of wet leaves and such.

The Cokins are optical acrylic, pretty good but they can't match quality glass filters like B+W or Hoya HMC Ultras. They do have some interesting ones like the 173 blue/yellow polarizer.

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Old Aug 7, 2005, 9:26 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies. Yes, there will be some very scenic landscapes where I'm going. One thing I forgot to mention is that alot of the shots I will take may be from a moving car through a window, so it sounds like a polarizer may be very useful. I think I'll head down to the camera shop today!
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Old Aug 7, 2005, 11:20 AM   #9
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I doubt a polarizer would help at all shooting through a car window for reflections. It would cut your light and therefore your shutter speed to a fourth or less of what it would be without the polarizer. Most polarizers also act as 2X neutral density filters which gives a quarter the light. I have seen polarizers that are 3X for 1/8 the light. That might be good if you are trying to create motion blur, but for normal snapshots through a car window I would leave the polarizer off.

If you aren't into post processing a polarizer can give some nice skies on days where there is blue in the sky. It won't help an overcast sky at all and could cause blur caused by camera shake. Use it only in bright conditions and when there is something in the scene the polarizer might improve.

As for reflections off water or leaves, just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should. Since you don't apparently plan to follow BillDrew's suggestion to learn to use the polarizer before trusting your vacation photos to it, I would suggest you take pictures with reflections both with it on and off so you have a choice when you get home.

Polarized sunglasses can be a big help using a polarizer. If you tilt your head you can see the effect without the polarizer and with your head level you can see the effect with polarization. It can be hard to properly evaluate the effects of a polarizer in a LCD or EVF. If you have a DSLR you can easily see the effect. If you don't have a DSLR the sunglasses help you align the mark on the polarizer. For most shots it has the best effect straight up, which would be the same effect as having polarized sunglasses level. Wal-Mart usually has a decent selection of polarized sunglasses in the $10 range.

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Old Aug 12, 2005, 4:21 PM   #10
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One of the drawbacks of digital cameras is a rather limited capability of capturing a broad range of lighting. I mean a situation in a bright sunshine where there are a lot of very bright and very dark objects at the same time. What you get is "overexposed" the lights (completely white), and "underexposed" the darks (completely black). You can't correct this in any program! But as I understand the Circular Polarizer acts as a neutral density filter as well, reducing the lightness range. Though I havn't got one for myself yet:-)

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