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Old May 18, 2009, 3:37 PM   #1
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Default A case for a polarizer

So many landscape photographers talk about circular polarizers being a necessary accessory. I didn't think about using one for most of Saturday (next time I will!), until we were on our way out of Sequoia National Park. There was a certain amount of haze in the air, giving the distant mountains and trees more of a bluish tint than they should have:

I decided to see if my circular polarizer would cut through the haze a bit, maybe giving the distant scene some more detail:

I was surprised at just how much difference it did make.

People often think of using a polarizer for darkening the sky, and cutting out reflection of light from water. I wish I had thought of it earlier because there was quite a bit of light reflection from leaves and bark - I think my tree pictures would have been better.
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Old May 18, 2009, 3:48 PM   #2
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Definitely a noticeable difference. I've seen this comparison with a UV/Haze filter which makes me wonder if polarizers function as UV/Haze filters as well (except that they also have the polarizing quality and the reduction in f/stops)? The next time you are out and about, you should repeat the experiment with and without a UV/Haze filter.

BTW, that's a beautiful spot you have photographed...I'm envious of the close access you have to mountains scenery!
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Old May 18, 2009, 3:54 PM   #3
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More than worth to take it with you. During the summer I almost never take the polarizer of my walk around lens (tamron 18-200). Even have forgotten to take it of when taking night shot's. And it doesn't help then.

Great picture(s) and scenery

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Old May 18, 2009, 8:22 PM   #4
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Great images. I usually use a CPF when I do my landscape shots as well. I don't think I've every done any side by side shots like you did. Thanks for the example.
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Old May 18, 2009, 8:53 PM   #5
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Nice comparison. When we left LAX week before last I was taking photos out the car window on the way up to Bakersfield. Wasn't thinking anything about it until I was looking at them later. They definitely would have benefited from me having the polarizer on. And, I probably could have used them yesterday when we went up the coast in Maine. But, I'd packed light in a hurry and forgot.

I really do think they make a drastic difference in landscape shots.

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Old May 18, 2009, 8:55 PM   #6
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Man do I miss California. I used a polarizer quite a bit with my Panasonic FZ's and got great results. I don't shoot as much landscape anymore so I don't use it often but do have it just in case.

Great shot comparison.
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Old May 18, 2009, 10:20 PM   #7
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Thanks for the compliments - I was rather surprised at just how much of a difference it really made with this type of scene.

Jelpee - I can't do a side-by-side with a UV filter, since I don't have a good one. I still have a Tiffen that I didn't use for long, along with a couple of elderly ones from film days, that aren't all that much better (and only fit one lens that I don't use much). I've found the CP to do a lot more than I've ever managed with a UV filter.

The Sierras are beautiful, and I don't take the time to visit them often enough. It's seems like our lives have gotten so busy and gas has gotten high enough that I think twice before going on a long day trip. It was a great weekend all the way around.
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Old May 19, 2009, 1:16 AM   #8
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Good comparison, nice shot as well. My polarizer stays on all summer here.

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Old Jul 20, 2009, 4:42 PM   #9
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Hope you're up for a couple of questions:

Which brand of circular polarizing filter did you use?

Do you think you lost more than 1 F-stop when using it?


Faithfully yours
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Old Jul 20, 2009, 5:16 PM   #10
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The picture you posted is beautiful!

My 18-250 has a CP on all the time. Like Ronny I also forget to take it off taking night shots and flash shots.

There is no question as to their value but they are difficult adjust as in a lot of cases it is necessary to remove the lens hood each time you change positions to the sun.

I also find it difficult to see a difference through the viewfinder and need to look for a drop in EV values to alert me that I have set it correctly.


Last edited by Keltech; Jul 20, 2009 at 5:19 PM.
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