Polarizing filters are a helpful tool to counter the reflections, deepen the blues and add contrast to the picture. All photographers don’t like reflections and glares. A total reduction of reflections from images including water and windows is a further advantage of the polarizing filter.
The function of the Polarization Filter
You may ask now what the functionalities of the polarization filters are. Well, the explanation of the technical feature would be hard to explain to me, because it is very technical and I did not study physics. Maybe it is better to focus on the question how to use the polarization filter and when to use it.
The pol filter is in my opinion next to the features a great tool to protect the lens. Yes, lenses are very robust, but it is a protection against dust and dirt. Some people will say that a filter will reduce the optical quality of the lens and I did not recognize any loss of image quality when using a polarization filter. As a result of my studies, I highly recommend using good filters to keep the quality of the images as high as possible.
In the golden years of editing software, filters became for many people unnecessarily. I can understand the point, but a pol filter is more than just a tool, it is beneficial, even in post-production processes. Due to the effect that a pol filter will reduce flares and reflections (which is very hard to edit in Photoshop), it is one of the most underestimated tools for photographers. Thanks to the significant advantages the polarization filter is not comparable to other filters like color filters.
Sony cameras have some extensions to simulate the effect of a polarization filter internally. The simulation is part of an application, which you can buy. Nevertheless, I highly recommend using the polarization filter anyway.
In which situations do I need the polarization filter?
- In situations where you have many reflections
- Reflections at 90° angles
- Polarising light
A polarising filter will not work on every case. The direction of the light differs or the angle of the source. Using a pol filter is very good to train the skills. You have to investigate which things are reflective and which not.
Quality and price
There is a big discussion about the correlation between the price and quality of a filter. You can compare it with a lens. Sometimes there are manufactures which provide excellent results at a lower price. Usually, you get what you pay. The more you pay for the filter, the less color casting it will have, and it is less susceptible to scratches. If you are a beginner and have a cheap lens, you don’t need a filter which is more expensive than your lens line-up. You always have to mind the price-performance ratio.
Finally, the polarization filter is in my humble opinion one of the most important filters for the modern photography, next to the ND filter. For me, it is the difference between an average photograph and a real pro. Once you used the filter, you will wonder how you ever shot without them. However, always remember that a polarization filter will rob you about 1 to 2 stops of light.
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