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Problem with using a circular polarizer

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by urban, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. Hi, all. I just went out shooting with a Tokina 12-24 to which a B+W SLIM C-POL is attached.
    Upon reviewing the photos, I find that when I am shooting against the sun or a bright sky, a film of haze is very evident in the photos, as demonstrated below. I was just wondering if this is normal under this circumstance, and how would I circumvent the film of haze when shooting against the sun.
    And a quick off the topic question: What function does the the ability to rotate serve on the circular polarizer?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. The polarizer is better suited at 90 degrees angle to the sun
  3. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    It appears you have sun hitting the front of the lens. Rig something to shade the front of the lens and you'll do much better, but mind what Dave said about 90° to the sun.
  4. billg71


    May 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    "And a quick off the topic question: What function does the the ability to rotate serve on the circular polarizer?"

    The CP has 2 elements, a front element that rotates and a fixed rear element. Rotating the front element sets the amount of polarization. Rotate the front element while looking through the viewfinder and at some point the sky will become bluer and the colors more vibrant. The amount of change will vary based on the direction of the light source, as dmwphoto pointed out. Best results are when the light source is 90 degrees from the lens axis.

    Pointing a CP at your light source will not give you much polarization and you're putting two extra pieces of glass(plus polarizing screens) between your lens and your subject. You've already seen the results.

    You don't specify if you have the MRC(multi-coated) filter or not. The MRC filters will perform better in keeping down unwanted reflections from the filter.

    When shooting into a light source, especially with wide zooms, I try not to use any filters at all.

    Hope this helps,

  5. henryp


    Dec 29, 2005
    New York, NY
    Your problem looks like flare and a lens hood will help significantly. Keep in mind the 12-24 is a very wide angle lens and a hood plus pol filter could result in vignetting. Rotating the pol filter while it's on your lens changes the amount of the pol effect. It is strongest when the camera is 90° to the sun, but the effect is noticable in most shooting positions unless the sun is directly in front of or behind you. Another unfortunate feature of very wide angle lenses with pol filters is that you may see more pol effect on one side of the image than on the other if the lens angle of coverage ranges from 90° to the sun to 180° or thereabouts. This will be apparent in the viewfinder once you've learned to see it as you rotate the filter. On extreme example is here:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  6. Thanks Bill for your explaination. I doubt my filter is MRC as it would've been too expensive for me to purchase, plus it doesn't indicate so on the filter. I notice that the CP stops down my lens too.

  7. Thanks Henry for the explanation. I purchased the slim version of the CP in hope to avoid vignetting and it seems to have worked. I haven't had the patience to play with the CP as I am still actively trying to absorb all the other photographic techniques. Photography is now like a discipline.

  8. photoshooter

    photoshooter Guest

    Just to offer a bit of help.

    If you stand in front of a window or glass door, something with a reflecting quality. Stand about 30 or 40 degress, some type of angle works best.
    Look thru the viewfinder and turn the polorizer, whatch what happens, to your reflection in the glass. This will help to make using the polorizer easier. Polorizer filter will cost you some light. Not sure how much, but they are best used in daylight.
  9. I recall that in Thom Hagan's ebook, he reiterates Nikon's advice to not use matrix metering, use center-weighted, when using a filter that forces you to lose a stop or more, i.e. a CP
  10. I will def. give it a try. Thanks for the tip.

  11. Never would have known w/o your help. Thanks.
  12. Happy to help, show us some 'new' pics when you get a chance!
  13. AtlPikMan


    Sep 21, 2008
    Atlanta Ga
    So, How important is a Polarizer? Is everyone using one?
  14. TimK


    Apr 17, 2006
    Hong Kong, China
    CPL is like your driving glasses! I think every photographer should have one for their landscape and portrait lenses.

    I think it is probbaly best to get Nikon CPL2. While it is quite expensive, it is really good. It is effective and will not add a color cast to your photos.
  15. 89WLS


    Jun 11, 2008
    I'm a landscape photographer, and I use my CP on at least 50% of my shots. Not only are they great for darkening skies (this can be overdone) and making clouds pop out, but I use them very often with foliage shots, whether the leaves are wet or dry. The CP takes the glare (unwanted white light) off of the leaves, and allows the rich shades of green to stand out.

    Check out Darwin Wiggett's great informational articles on CP's that he did on his site, and in conjunction with Singh Ray. The articles are very imformative. Yes, he uses Canon, but his landscape work is phenomenal. He uses CP's on most shots. :smile:

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