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Photography Question 
Richard Kowalski

Polarizing Filters Circular

Can anyone recommend a brand of good polarizing filter for my digital SLR? Checking the prices the filters seem to vary in price greatly... what are the differences?

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12/31/2003 4:57:59 AM

Tim Devick   The differences between one brand of filter and another are mainly in the construction - how the filters are made.

A lot of filters that are relatively inexpensive are made of plastic, which I think has poorer optics than glass.
Other filters made of glass are made of window glass rather than optical glass - apparently a poorer quality of glass.

Also significant is the way the housing of the filter is made. Some are made better than others. For example, some manufacturers makes the housings entirely of brass (doesn't rust, and is very solid).

The better filters also have really good coatings (usually multiple coatings on each side) on the glass itself to prevent reflections.

I wouldn't recommend the cheaper filter brands on the rack at the camera stores like Tiffen or Cokin. I've seen mixed reviews on the internet of Hoya filters. Some people have said they had trouble with them falling apart or cleaning them and having the coating come off.

I would suggest B+W brand filters; Heliopan is also a good brand. B+W is made by Schneider, who makes the very best lenses for large format cameras (and some smaller format cameras as well). You can read Schneider's write-up on filter comparisons at

I bought a circular polarizer for my Oly E-20 from B+W and have been happy with it. I guess it depends on how particular you are. If you're not very particular, any brand will do. If you're really concerned about image quality and worried about the possibility that filters could degrade your image, I'd suggest going with B+W or Heliopan.

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12/31/2003 6:42:13 PM

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