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Photography Question 
Matthew M. Paulson

member since: 5/11/2006

Polarizing Filters: Linear Vs. Circular

Can anyone tell me the difference between a "linear polarizing" and "circular polarizing" filters? And how much should I pay for such a filter?
Thanks, Matt

5/15/2006 6:43:45 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  If you have an older manual-focus camera, you can use either type. If you have an auto-focus camera, you'll need to use a circular polarizer.
How much should you pay? That depends. Like most things, you tend to get what you pay for. Some very cheap filters have cheap coatings that scratch easily.
Tiffen, Hoya, and B+W all make good quality products that are reasonably priced. The actual price will depend on the filter thread diameter of your lens.

5/15/2006 8:27:12 AM

John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  Chris is right. A linear polarizer acts like a Venetian blind, letting light pass through to the lens in one plane. By turning the lens, you adjust the angle of said plane, but still keep control of the uni-directional vibration of the light rays.
A circular polarizer maintains controls but the rays are controlled around the lens' axis. This type of lens is a "must" for all auto-focus cameras.
Singh-Ray and Kassemann filters are great, but very expensive. Hoya, Tiffen and B&W are lower-cost, very good filters. However, if you go for a Hoya "thin" polarizer, designed for a wide-angle lens, you're still looking at >$100.

5/15/2006 10:15:09 AM

Michael H. Cothran

member since: 10/21/2004
  Simply put, you must use a circular polarizer with an auto focus camera. Either a circular or linear polarizer can be used on a manual focus camera.
Michael H. Cothran

5/15/2006 11:28:00 AM


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