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Photography Question 
Lynda Driscoll

What's the Best Polarizing Filter?

Should I stick with the basic polarizer filter? I will be taking photos of the tropics.

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7/9/2004 12:04:05 PM

Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  Lynda: Which camera are you using? For an SLR camera, you need to buy what is called a Circular Polarizer (as opposed to the Linear, but they both look the same to the naked eye.) You cannot go wrong with these brands: B+W or a more affordable brand, Hoya Multi-coated. Cheers!

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7/9/2004 12:42:25 PM

Lynda Driscoll   Thanks, Peter. My camera is a Nikon N55.

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7/9/2004 6:49:59 PM

Scott Pedersen   Like above, but if you rotate the polorizer and don't see any change take it off for the shot as you do loose two stops. I switch between polorizer and a UV filter.

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7/13/2004 3:57:31 AM

Jim Collier
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/4/2004
  I use an AF SLR with a LINEAR polarizer. That's right. They always say to use a circular polarizer. They say a linear polarizer messes up the AF system, and/or metering. I've owned several SLRs, and have always used a linear polarizer. And it has always worked just fine. The metering does seem to be somewhat affected, because the shots are usually slightly darker than normal (not by much), but this is easy to compensate for, and it's actually a pleasing effect without compensation, IMO.

What's the difference, you ask? A linear polarizer only allows in photons that are vibrating with an orientation on a certain plane (or close to it)--basically, that fits through narrow slits. A circular polarizer only lets in light vibrating in the correct corkscrew configuration (clockwise or counter-clockwise). Sounds exotic I know, but that's only because the "normal" behavior of light and other quantum wave/particles does not behave even remotely like what we are used to on the macro scale, and it's very hard to wrap your head around.

The ultimate effect is similar, but a linear polarizer gives a better effect IMO, and is more predictable--just point the camera at a right angle to the sun, and orient the filter perpendicularly relative to an imaginary line drawn from where you are pointing, to the sun.

This gives you optimum see-through water, strangely non-shiny skin, and dark blue skies. The effect is strongest with the least atmospheric reflection (which tends to randomize the orientation of light hitting the lens)--meaning on crisp clear days with little cloud cover.

There are some negative effects of a polarizer. 1) When taking shots on deep water, with maximum polarizing effect, the water can turn out severely blue, even unnaturally so. This can be hard to compensate for because everything else in the shot will be normal color. You may prefer and desire this effect, or you may not--just be aware of it. 2) Like I said before, with shots of people with exposed skin [e.g. bathing suit], it can look like they are wearing full-body makeup. 3) Some car windows look funny. There may be light and dark spots evenly spaced all over the window. Some cars [notably the ugly aerodynamic minivans that GM used to make] have some funky additive to their front windshield, which gives it a strong [and quite unnatural] irridescent effect. 4) There are other issues but I've got to go. Hope this helps!

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7/13/2004 6:36:40 AM

Penny Steiner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/16/2002
  Look at B and H. I haven't yet purchased one but at a seminar someone had a Moose Peterson circular polarizer and it did a beautiful job. check it out...I tried his and really liked the effect.

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7/13/2004 8:05:32 AM

Thomas    I have a Nikon N80 and use the Nikon Polarizer. I can only recommend this one, very good Filter!

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7/13/2004 8:26:36 AM

Michael McCullough   If your camera calls for a circular pol. use just that and thats what your Nikon calls for!!!!Stay away from the filters with a brown or greenish cast,not recomended either!!! a past post recomends the hoya ,good reasonable choice,the B+W will run you half the cost of your camera body...... the Hoya is well made!!!!!!

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7/13/2004 10:53:53 AM

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