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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 03 May 2009 (Sunday) 13:04
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Linear vs Circular polarizer filter - what's the difference?

 
GDH
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May 03, 2009 13:04 |  #1

Am considering buying a polarizing filter. What's the difference between a circular and linear? Am looking to use this on my 24-105 and my 10-22 for outside photos of houses for the real estate business.

Any suggestions on brand, source, etc... would be much appreciated!


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Wilt
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May 03, 2009 13:08 |  #2

A linear polarizer will not work correctly with the AF system. And depending upon the meter design of a camera, that might not work accurately either. For the Canon dSLr use only Circular polarizers.

On a more technical basis the CPL places a quarter wave plate after the linear polarizing filter, to 'scramble' the polarized light back into multidirectional waveforms (minus the reflections, of course), so that AF can metering becomes usable.


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Dailow
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May 03, 2009 13:13 |  #3

Circular polarizers were created for use with digital cameras, because linear polarizers interfere with auto-focus operation in digital cameras.

As far as brands go, B+W and Hoya are a couple of popular brands. No matter which route you go, make sure you buy one that's multi-coated. Also keep in mind that if you're going to use it with a UWA lens, some filters will vignette while others won't (normal brass mount B+W filters won't for example).


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Wilt
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May 03, 2009 13:18 |  #4

Dailow wrote in post #7849713 (external link)
Circular polarizers were created for use with digital cameras, because linear polarizers interfere with auto-focus operation in digital cameras.

As far as brands go, B+W and Hoya are a couple of popular brands. No matter which route you go, make sure you buy one that's multi-coated. Also keep in mind that if you're going to use it with a UWA lens, some filters will vignette while others won't (normal brass mount B+W filters won't for example).

Circular polarizers pre-existed digital cameras by decades! Film cameras with behind-the-lens meters which were behind a semi-silvered reflex mirror required the CPL because polarized light would not properly pass through the semi-silvered mirror to the meter.


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GDH
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May 03, 2009 13:18 as a reply to  @ Dailow's post |  #5

Excellent, thanks for the information!


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pip ­ boogaloo
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May 03, 2009 13:40 |  #6
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linear polarisers work perfectly with bridge cameras that dont have prism or other beam splitting devices to do with the auto-focus that modern dslrs have.
basically any phase-detect autofocus needs a circular and any contrast-detect (aka bridge or point and shoot) work great with the considerably cheaper linear type


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Sep 25, 2011 08:43 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #7

HUGE Thank-you for this information!


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Daniel ­ Browning
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Sep 25, 2011 12:29 |  #8

GDH wrote in post #7849665 (external link)
What's the difference between a circular and linear?

Circular:

  • Never breaks metering
  • Never breaks autofocus


Linear:
  • Almost always breaks metering
  • Sometimes (infrequently) breaks autofocus
  • One stop less light loss
  • Less flare
  • Better color accuracy
  • Stronger polarizing effect
  • Cheaper
  • Less interaction with anti-alias filter (and aliasing artifacts)

GDH wrote in post #7849665 (external link)
Any suggestions on brand, source, etc... would be much appreciated!

I recommend B&W from B&H. :)


Daniel

  
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amfoto1
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Sep 25, 2011 13:29 |  #9

Lot's of good info here already...

To reiterate...

If using an AF camera, most of the time you need to get a circular polarizer. Has nothing to do with digital or film, mostly with auto focus, but some metering systems also require a C-Pol.

But, using a linear wouldn't actually "break" anything. It would just cause auto focus accuracy problems (with Phase-detect AF systems, which is what pretty much all DSLRs and film SLRs use), and might also cause exposure errors in some cases.

That's sort of a shame. Linear polarizers are not just typically cheaper, they also often work better than circular.... A linear filter of equal quality can give smoother transitions and can be dialed in for a little stronger effects when wanted.

If using Live View with Contrast-detect AF (which is slower) in many of our Canon cameras, you probably could use Linear polarizer. Certainly might be possible if using manual focus lenses, too. I haven't tried it with my Canon cameras, so can't be sure whether it would mess with their metering or not.

Nearly all polarizers of either type have about the same reduction of light coming through them. Most have filter factors of 2.3 to 2.8, which is up to about 1.3 stops of light lost at their strongest setting.

There are a number of good brands and places to buy them...

I like and mostly use B+W Kaesemann C-Pol. They are very good quality, multi-coated, and have a nice, smooth transition (about as good as it can be with circular).

B+W Pro MRC are also quite good, a little cheaper than Kaesemann.

Hoya Pro 1 with HMC or SHMC (multicoatings) are excellent, too.

Heliopan SH-PMC are also top quality, more expensive than most though.

Singh-Ray is another top brand.

Marumi is a newer brand I haven't tried, but have heard a lot of good things about.

There are others, I'm sure.... Just be sure to look for multi-coating... and use your lens hoods for best results, even though it's a little inconvenient when adjusting a polarizing filter.

There are also a lot of good sources... B&H and Adorama both give discounts, I believe, if you buy multiple filters at the same time. There is also a popular online seller who offers most of the top brands at good prices, but I'm forgetting the name and URL. Amazon might find you some good deals (such as Beach Camera), but may be overpriced themselves.

I believe both your lenses use 77mm filter, so you only need to get one to share between them. And, I'm pretty sure you won't need a more expensive, special "slim" filter for your 10-22 if you get B+W (which are pretty slim even in their standard mount). If you do choose to go to a "slim" in another brand, watch out that some of them don't have front threads, so you can't even cap them when not in use.

Experiment with the C-Pol when you get it. Don't just get it out for sunny day shots... making blue skies deeper and white clouds pop. It's also excellent on overcast days, to help saturate foliage and other reflective surface. Of course, shooting buildings, you'll probably be dealing with window reflections some of the time, too... Might sometimes be useful inside if the view through the window is important.

I just realized this is a really old (2009) thread that's been restarted. Oh well.


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albatros
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Sep 25, 2011 15:57 |  #10

Good that you asked, in a shop somebody once wanted to sell me a polarizer as "circular" because it rotated! Needless to say, I never went back to that shop again.




  
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Mark_48
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Sep 25, 2011 17:59 as a reply to  @ albatros's post |  #11

Of course you may occasionally have a need for a square circular polarizer 8-).

Century 4x4 Circular Polarizer (external link)


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Wilt
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Sep 25, 2011 18:22 |  #12

Mark_48 wrote in post #13161477 (external link)
Of course you may occasionally have a need for a square circular polarizer 8-).

Century 4x4 Circular Polarizer (external link)


Well, for the square format shooters, of course! ;)


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hania
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Sep 26, 2011 02:35 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #13

I bought a LP not realising the difference. Worked fine on a 30D and 17-55, but with a 70-200 wouldn't focus at all.


I was almost in tears wondering what was wrong!!!

Asked the question here afater & found the answer (of course)


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Linear vs Circular polarizer filter - what's the difference?
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