The site contains the best tips, tricks and solutions to problems you may encounter. Secrets, life hacks, stories and everything related to life and relationships.

What is a polarizing lens filter. Polarizing filter. What is it and how do I use it?


What is a polarizing filter?

The essence of the filter is the polarization of light. I will not describe in detail what it is, you can read about the physical meaning of this phenomenon, for example, on Wikipedia or some other specialized site dedicated to physical phenomena. To be honest, I tried to figure out what was written there, but I could not – everything that I was taught at the Polytech in higher mathematics and physics 15 years ago was hopelessly forgotten. I’m sure the same thing happened for 99% of readers, so I’ll tell you in simple words – what does a polarizing filter give? Polarizing filterremoves reflected light in photographs – sun glare, reflections from surfaces, the glow of the sky due to the reflection of sunlight from ice crystals in the atmosphere. As a result, shiny objects appear matte, and the sky in clear weather turns out to be not blue, but dark blue. The polarizing filter can be rotated around its axis, and the nature of the polarization effect will change. Check out the example below and compare what the sky looks like and what the water looks like in these images. There is a What is a polarizing lens filter. Polarizing filter. What is it and how do I use it?reflection of the sky There are no reflections of the sky, the bottom is visible. The blueness of the sky became slightly dimmer. Another example of an unprocessed photo with an evening sky in Photoshop (by default, the camera had a higher color saturation for the landscape).What is a polarizing lens filter. Polarizing filter. What is it and how do I use it?A bit unnatural, but beautiful! If you do not have a polarizing filter yet, perhaps now a thought begins to appear in your mind – you have to take it! I do not argue that a polarizing filter is a necessary thing for landscape photography. But he has a number of features that you need to know about in order not to be disappointed in the purchase.

Buy a circular polarizer

Polarization is linear and circular, respectively, polarizing filters are also divided into two groups – linear and circular. It is impossible to distinguish them in appearance – both have a rotating part, the external difference is only in the marking. Circular polarizers have the words CIRCULAR, CIR, or just group C (for example, CIR -PL or C-PL) in the marking. If there is no such designation, then the polarizer is linear. It will shade the sky in the same way and remove glare from the water, but autofocus will not work correctly with the DSLR – the phase focus sensors will malfunction. With a circular polarizer, there will be no such problems.

Buy an AR coated polarizer

AR coating eliminates the effect of light reflection from the lenses in the optical system. If there is no antireflection layer, then a noticeable blurring of the picture is possible if the sun hits the lens. Also, uncoated optics have poor glare resistance. If you got hold of a lens with a red or gold ring (“top-end” Canon and Nikon optics, respectively), you shouldn’t hang a Chinese polarizer on it for 600 rubles. rubles.

Which polarizer manufacturer is the best?

Each optics manufacturer has its own division into classes, so this question is incorrect. In principle, you can take a filter from any manufacturer, if the average price for it is higher than the indicated bar. Much more depends on the diameter of the filter. The larger the diameter, the more expensive the filter. I do not have exhaustive information on which filter to choose for N rubles, and I don’t want to give recommendations “from the ceiling”. I use HOYA CIR-PL HD 77mm polarizer, it suits me completely. If you want a solution verified by me personally, take HOYA CIR-PL HD.

For wide-angle lenses, buy a thin bezel filter

These filters are also called “slim” filters. They cost a little more, but their frame will not fit into the frame when the lens is wide-angle. If you shoot with the wide-angle and the standard “wide” frame filter screwed on to it, it will look something like this: What is a polarizing lens filter. Polarizing filter. What is it and how do I use it?On “full-frame” 24 mm, the wide frame filter gives noticeable vignetting (darkening of the corners) If you have an APS-C sensor (1.5 or 1.6), and a 15-16mm wide angle lens, you will have the same. At 18 millimeters, there is no noticeable vignetting from the wide bezel. Basically, these are all basic recommendations regarding the choice and purchase of a polarizing filter. I will also give some recommendations on how to use it.

When to Apply a Polarizing Filter

Using a lens polarizer is not easy the first time around. There are also enough nuances when it is better to refuse to use it. The first use, without prior familiarization with the features, can lead to a sad result. The first problem is the lack of effect when shooting in the direction of the sun’s light or against it. A polarizer is most beneficial when shooting at a 90 degree angle to the sun.

The second practical problem is incomplete filling of the frame when using wide-angle optics for cameras. So using an 18mm lens will lead to uneven coverage when using a polarizer. If one side of the frame, conventionally, falls on the desired 90 degrees to the sun, then the other side will fall on unfavorable angles, where the work of any polarizer will be reduced to zero. In practice, it is a three-dimensional spectacular sky of one color in one part of the image and a less expressive sky in another part, while having a different shade.

The use of a wide angle is also undesirable for another reason. Any light filter makes design changes due to its thickness. The polarizer lengthens the end of the lens, pushing it back a good 3-4 millimeters. Wide-angle optics instantly respond to such changes with vignetting. Often in such cases, editing the vignette during post-processing is indispensable, or it is worth abandoning the wide angle in favor of more standard ones.

Using a polarizer for your lens in low light conditions will make the situation worse. When a polarizing filter is put on, the overall transmission capacity of the lens is noticeably reduced, approximately two times. This should be taken into account, as it is not always possible to increase the exposure. In addition, focusing deteriorates, making periodic misses. The option of increasing the light sensitivity is not very attractive due to the deterioration of the image quality.

In these cases, it is better to refuse to use a polarizer for the lens in order to avoid getting a poor quality result. In such situations, it is better to spend time post-processing photos in the editor in an attempt to repeat the effects of the light filter without using it, since this is more than possible.

Nevertheless, some features of using light filters can never be repeated in photo editors. And if it is necessary to achieve a certain result, then it is recommended to use a polarizing filter for the lens despite possible deterioration in quality. Such a goal may be the need to remove glare and reflections from a photograph. Shooting an object behind a shop window, which is not visible under normal conditions, will become more accessible when a polarizer is worn. The type of flora and fauna of the underwater world is often hidden from view just by the reflections of light on the surface. The polarizer will help out in this situation as well, making the water glare less noticeable. And such a result cannot be achieved with the help of Photoshop.

Price-quality ratio

When used, a polarizing filter becomes an integral part of the optics. If the photographer uses a complete kit lens, or another simple lens of a different brand, then buying a polarizing filter for 300-500 rubles may be advisable as a test. In other cases, you should be more careful about the choice. The abundance of manufacturing firms and price ranges on the market prevents a beginner from quickly making the right choice.

It is worth taking a closer look at the products of the following brands:

  • Rodenstock
  • B&W
  • HOYA
  • Kenko
  • Dirty

These manufacturers have proven themselves well in terms of quality. It is foolish, having top-end lenses, to spoil the quality of the final image by putting on another glass of poor quality. And since top-end lenses, as a rule, have a large aperture and a large radius, light filters for them cannot be cheap either. So, good polarizers for a lens will cost from 3000 rubles.

If the photographs are taken for private use or sharing on social networks, then the use of good optics and a high-quality polarizing filter is not so necessary. But advanced amateurs and professionals who photograph for the purpose of selling artwork understand that at 100% magnification, the difference will be noticeable to the naked eye.

A lens polarizing filter is an accessory for most photographers who take pictures of nature at least occasionally. They know all the advantages of using it. You can find out how useful this accessory is only with its practical use. Therefore, in one price category or another, it is recommended for purchase to every fan. Even the simplest polarizing filter will make the photographer feel positive about the result. Further, everyone will decide for himself whether he will be needed in everyday use or whether it will become another purchase that will lie in a backpack idle and never put on the lens.


Light waves are the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation somewhere between 400 and 700 nm. It is composed of electrical and magnetic waves. They look quite cumbersome together (plus magnetic waves have nothing to do with the question of polarization), so let’s restrict ourselves to the electrical component. The wave oscillates perpendicular to the direction of its movement.

What is polarization? Imagine a wave of light directed directly into your eye. If we rotate the previous figure 90 degrees, then all that we will see is the swing of the wave up and down. This light beam is called polarized. So that light is called polarized if its electric field oscillates in only one direction. Vertically in this case. It can be horizontal or, in principle, any orientation.

Okay, but how do you get unpolarized light then? No problem. Most of the light we see is not polarized. Light coming directly from the sun is not polarized. The same goes for an incandescent light bulb, any hot glowing object. At one moment in time, the field can be directed in one direction, and in another – completely in the other. This happens in a random order.

Linear polarization

Let’s say you need to get polarized light for some reason. How to do it? Just use a polarizer. It is a material that transmits light. But it only transmits light oriented in one direction.

Imagine a polarizer that only allows vertically oriented light to pass through. When placed in line with the lamp and the eye, it will cut off any light other than vertically polarized. Naturally, due to the loss of some of the radiation, we will get a slightly darker picture.

Taking a horizontal polarizer, we get horizontally polarized light.

And how do you use all this?

It’s great, but why is all this polarization needed in everyday life, because few people are going to conduct daily experiments? Think of polarized sunglasses (no, they’re not just called that because marketers have caught on to a buzzword and found an excuse to raise their price multiple times) and how they deal with glare and reflections.

How it works? Imagine yourself standing on the shore of a lake in sunny weather. Light hits your eyes from all directions, bouncing off clouds, any surface in your neighborhood. Calm reflected sunlight. But if you look directly at the water, you will see a bright glare straight from the sun. There is nothing good in him: he blinds, hurts. “It’s time to put an end to those annoying glare!” – say in the marketing department of some firm that produces sunglasses. Fortunately, although direct sunlight is not polarized, it is at least partially polarized when reflected from the surface (completely at some angles of incidence). Moreover, the direction of polarization is parallel to the plane from which the light was reflected.

It turns out that most (if not all) of the light reflected from the surface is clearly polarized. All we have to do is put on sunglasses with a vertical polarizing filter and thereby cut out the glare.

The same glasses will allow you to look under the surface of the water.

All this is also true for a polarizing photo filter. The main difference is that due to the variable plane of rotation, you yourself can set the direction of polarization.

Applying Filters: The Simplest Tips

A useful note here will be the following fact: the polarizing filter is used only in cases where the imperfections of the frame cannot be corrected during post-processing of the frame.

Awareness of such moments, as a rule, comes with experience. Therefore, it is possible, although even necessary, to start using the filter as early as possible. So you will quickly learn to understand when you need it, and when you will get a masterpiece picture without it. But I’ll tell you right away, as soon as you start using the polarizer, you don’t want to take it off.

One of the most important rules for correct use is choosing the right angle. As mentioned in the article on wide-angle lenses, the effectiveness of a polarizer depends on the angle of incidence of sunlight on it. To do this, you need to twist it in order to catch the correct angle.

The most productive in such cases will be the direction of the camera’s “view” perpendicular to the rays.

For a better representation of this, a close to physics rule of the left or right hand should be applied. Here you should point your thumb at the sun, and put your index finger perpendicular to it. If you rotate the hand, the index finger will point to the desired direction for frame search.

Color saturation

Yes, sometimes it is the polarizers that allow you to achieve the best color saturation. How it works? Very simple: direct sunlight is dimmed by the accessory, allowing diffused light from objects to hit the photosensitive element. This is often used to add “juiciness” to frames.

What is a polarizing lens filter. Polarizing filter. What is it and how do I use it?

For example, an image is shown where the polarizer made the photo more saturated. Not always, by the way, saturation will vary so much. It all depends on the angle of incidence of the sun’s rays, as mentioned earlier. If the angle is small, then the effect will be appropriate.

Protective filters

The lens will give a high-quality image, provided there are no scratches or other damage on it. A protective filter on the camera will extend the life of the part.

What is a polarizing lens filter. Polarizing filter. What is it and how do I use it?

  • Protection against damage of any kind.
  • Minimizing the negative effects of UV rays.
  • Increase contrast.
  • Reducing the effect of smoke.
  • Image optimization.
  • It is more convenient to adjust the sharpness and ratio of individual colors.
  • Anti-glare effect.
  • Absorption of the blue spectrum, which most often negatively affects image quality.
  • Deepening the color and creating a “brushstroke” effect.

We recommend choosing a filter for portraits. It will also come in handy on a cloudy day, as it will noticeably increase the sharpness of the resulting image.

Ultraviolet filters

An ultraviolet filter is a universal device that is placed on an external lens. It is most often used with expensive lenses. The device prevents dust and dirt from getting inside. The risk of scratches and other mechanical damage is noticeably reduced. The UV filter is inexpensive. However, with its help it is possible to protect expensive lenses from damage when the camera falls.

What is a polarizing lens filter. Polarizing filter. What is it and how do I use it?

Unfortunately, the UV filter reduces detail and makes the image look blurry. That is why its use is far from always justified. The model is ideal for harsh shooting conditions.

Infrared filters

Lens filters can also have narrow specifications. Thanks to them, it is possible to create a soft effect. They have a softening and foggy effect. The main subject remains fairly clear. These camera filters help smooth out imperfections during porter photography. The picture is given a warm or cool tint. The spherical aberration method is used as an artistic version.

What is a polarizing lens filter. Polarizing filter. What is it and how do I use it?

The IR filter can transmit light from 700 nm. The function allows, for example, to change the color of the sky from blue to black. In this case, the green color becomes white. In this image, the clouds will have the usual color. However, the contrast of the photo is noticeably increased. Lens filters are a photographer’s accessory that you need to know how to use. This will allow you to get high-quality and beautiful images that will amaze with their individuality.

Gradient filters

Gradient filters for the camera are used to neutralize or highlight a specific effect. With their help, it is possible to make the lighting in the frame even. The effect is most often used when shooting landscapes. There is also a difference between the samples used in terms of density and filling factor.

What is a polarizing lens filter. Polarizing filter. What is it and how do I use it?

Gradient gray filter example photo

  • Blue – noticeably enhances the color of the sky and water.
  • A gradient is used to create a storm or sky on a cloudy day.
  • The purple hue makes dawn shots incredible. Soft light radiates all around.
  • Coquin is one of the varieties of gradient. It has the ability to adjust the transition line by simple manipulations with the holder.

Neutral filters

Many people ask why the camera needs this accessory. It allows you to slightly blur the edges of the subject or add some hazy haze. The ND filter with variable density is very popular. With its help, it is possible to reduce the number of light waves several times. Thanks to this, you can focus on individual areas of color rendering. However, the positive effect can only be achieved with proper use.

What is a polarizing lens filter. Polarizing filter. What is it and how do I use it?

Accessories are needed for work in the mountains, near the water or with a snowy surface. They smooth out the current flow and add depth, sharpness. They are also used to blur moving objects. Only in extreme cases can the color balance be significantly altered by the filter. Manufacturers left the opportunity for the photographer to independently choose the flexibility of the aperture.

Used sources and useful links on the topic: https: // https: //

Post source:

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More