Sunday, March 25, 2018

Circular Polarization Filter

While many filters can now be replaced with digital photo-processing applications there are several types of lens filters that allow for quick and versatile ways to improve photos.
These filters are situation specific so you may want to consider the types of photos you will be taking when experimenting with filters or choosing what to carry around with you.
Recently I have been experimenting with a number of filters; mostly a snow-cross filter a linear polarization filter, both of which are fairly inexpensive (new for 1300 yen). You can sometimes find cheap lens filters in the used part of a camera that are half-price or less.

Below is a Marumi Cicular PL (polarization); note the textured adjustment ring. Also in the photo is a coin purse from a 100 yen store (Daiso) which serves as a great way to carry a 55mm filter as it can attach to the outside of a bag and you can choose different case colors which are made of soft interior cloth with nylon zippers. This way different filters are easy to identify and don't rattle make rattling sounds like the hard plastic cases.

Marumi CPL, Daiso coin purse/ filter case.

A circular polarization filter adds another layer of treatment to the lens the filter-out light from different directions. This is good for reducing glare from reflective surfaces (such as water) or shooting through glass (to reduce glare and reflections). The circular polarization is quite similar to the linear filter when shooting through glass but gives you a lot more flexibility to adjust the image when shooting scenes with bodies of water or against diffuse skylight.  
Polarization filters work depending on the direction of the light entering the lens so the lens is design to rotate independently from the connector, so you can turn the lens and shoot rapidly for several slightly different images

Below are four different images, shot in rapid series. Note how the blue of the sky changes and the brightness/whiteness of the tower pops more, all within one rotation of the lens.

The least contrasted position. Note how hard it is to make out the eye on the "face of the present"

Letting in more of the reflected sunlight.

Brighter whites, the blue of the becomes deeper.

The brightest point, the contrasts are sharper so the arms of the statue look less brown.

A burst of shots taken while adjusting the circular polarization filter ring.