Polarizing filter

The essence of a polarizing filter is very simple - such a filter is capable of delay reflected polarized light... For example, reflected light from water, glass, etc. can be blocked, thereby making water and glass transparent. But the filter's capabilities are not limited to this.

Polarizing filter

Polarizing filter

The polarizing filter itself consists of two parts - movable and fixed. The fixed part of the filter is screwed into the thread of the lens filter. The movable part can rotate 360 ​​degrees freely. Through front rotation polarization filter is the adjustment of the filter for a certain type of polarized light, and at the same time with its delay by such a filter. Due to the fact that the filter is connected with the rotation of the front part, such a filter is best used on lenses with an internal focusing system. If the front lens of the lens rotates with the lens at the lens, this introduces inconvenience when working with a polarizing filter.

The polarizing filter can be wound onto protective filter. You can wear a lens cap on the polarizing filter, or you can add some other filter. The only thing, the more filters are screwed into each other, the greater the probability of getting vignetting at the corners of the image. Some polarizing filters may not have threads on their front.

That pick up a polarizing filter for the lens, you must know the diameter of the thread of the lens under the filter. For example, a standard lens for the Nikon CZK Nikon 18-55mm f / 3.5-5.6G VR has a diameter of 52mm, and it needs a polarizing filter with a diameter of 52mm. This may seem ridiculous, but many people can’t choose a filter because they don’t know if it fits their lens. The effect of the polarizing filter can be seen on any lens.

Some features:

  1. The polarizing filter does not transmit reflected polarized light. This is the main property of the filter; it can be used in a large number of situations. For example, using a polarizing filter, you can remove glare from the water (light reflected from the water) and photograph the bottom.

    Sea bottom with different position of PL-CIR filter

    Sea bottom with different position of PL-CIR filter

  2. The filter also removes reflections of the blue sky from the earth, grass, leaves. The sky adds extra cool tones (blue, cyan) to the photo. When using a polarizing filter, everything acquires a warmer and more natural color. Lung color changes can be traced to other examples.

    Different colors at different positions of the polarizing filter

    Different colors at different positions of the polarizing filter

  3. When using a polarizing filter for subject shooting, it is possible to reduce glare on the subject.
  4. Such a filter allows you to achieve a pleasant blue sky with white clouds. Due to the small particles in the air, the light of the sky is partly polarized. In general, the effect appears more saturated colors.

    The sky when using a polarizing filter

    Sky when using a polarizing filter. The filter allows you to align the luminosity of the sky and provides a slightly different color rendering of greenery.

  5. In general, a polarizing filter works like a neutral filter, passing less light. For example, with a polarizing filter you can easily shoot on a bright dayusing aperture F / 1.4 with a shutter speed of 1/4000 s and ISO 100 will be enough for correct exposure without overexposure. Many people overlook the fact that, in any case, a polarizing filter reduces the luminous flux. In low light conditions, I recommend shooting the polarizer so that the lens can receive more light. A combination of ND and PL filters is very interesting to use.

    Slow shutter speed

    Long excerpt. When using a polarizing filter, you can significantly increase the shutter speed, which can serve, for example, for the effect of smoothness of water in photographs.

  6. If you turn the circular polarizing filter back to front, you can get a neutral filter, when you rotate around its axis, you can shift such a filter white balance in warm and cold tones, while the polarizing filter stops blocking polarized light.

    The color of grass and leaves when using a polarizing filter on a bright sunny day

    The color of grass and leaves when using a polarizing filter on a bright sunny day

  7. When using polarization filters with a linear type of polarization on modern digital SLR cameras, serious measurement errors can occur exposure and focus accuracy. It is treated by manually adjusting the focus and exposure. But when using filters with circular polarization some special problems with measurement exposure and focus accuracy I don’t observe.
Water transparency

Water clarity by filtering glare from the filter

The operation of the polarizing filter is easy to see using a conventional computer monitor. The display light is always polarized in a certain plane, and with the help of a polarizing filter it is easy to remove it as shown in the example below:

An example of a polarizing filter

An example of a polarizing filter

The polarizing filters themselves are of two types - with linear and circular polarization. In general, circularly polarized filters are better. I don't want to repeat myself, this has already been written many times, for example here.

An abbreviated polarizing filter is called a 'PL filter' or simply 'polarizing'. A good polarizer is not cheap. As usual, the more expensive the filter, the better it is. However, inexpensive polarizers are also suitable for amateur photography. For example, I am using Hoya 58mm PL-CIR Made in Japan. My colleagues say that very high quality polarics are B + W and Rodenstock, but very often the difference between the cheaper Hoya, Marumi, Kenko is very difficult to feel.


A polarizing filter is an interesting and useful device for achieving unique effects in photographs. Such a filter is an indispensable thing for shooting landscapes, outdoor work in sunlight, etc.

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Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 154, on the topic: Polarizing filter

  • Azake

    Bought Vitacon 58mm cpl Made in Japan. On some frames, the picture quality deteriorates greatly due to the filter. The position of the filter seems to be affected. Everything is so muddy and smeared. I checked the filter on the smartphone screen. Everything seems to work as described in the article. Appears clear to black. If you turn it from soft yellowish to bluish.

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