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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 31 May 2012 (Thursday) 08:16
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CPL Or Not

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Joined Nov 2008
Location: Belgium
May 31, 2012 08:16 |  #1


My girlfriend a I are packing for a trip where we will take some nature pictures. She's thinking about a CPL. I said that I've saw many nice pictures, but I don't use it because I can't work with it. During a period of time I've bought a few B+W's, but never used them again after I took some pictures with it and disliked the results.

I'm curious if there are people here that also not like using a polarizer.

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May 31, 2012 08:19 |  #2

For landscape shots with lots of blue or partly cloudy sky, and/or water, they help tremendously with saturation and elimination of glare. They can bring drama to otherwise bland shots, bringing out deep sky blues and cloud detail. they bring out detail in shallow clear water making the bottom visible. With wildflowers, they increase color saturation. I think a CPL is an essential tool for a landscape shooter. that said, they are also excellent for shooting things like cars, trains, planes, etc outdoors. You can't just slap it on and shoot away, it takes some time to adjust the CPL to get the optimum results. Depending on the angle of the sun, that sweet spot can be very small where everything is adjusted to look just right.

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"Sorry for being a noob"
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May 31, 2012 08:33 |  #3

Definitely bring a CPL. But experiment. Walk around with just the CPL and hold it before you eye and see what happens when you rotate it. Learn the results if looking at a car (notice how you can see reflections in the car windows or how you by twisting the CPL can see through the car windows).

Notice how it can change the look of the clouds in the sky.

Notice how it matters if you look at the blue sky depending not only how you twist the filter, but also where the sun is.

Notice how it can change the color of grass, trees etc.

It is a very valuable tool. But you need to train using it.

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Scott ­ M
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May 31, 2012 08:39 |  #4

While I do not use a CPL all the time, I find it a useful tool under certain circumstances. I would never travel to an outdoor destination without one.

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Cream of the Crop
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May 31, 2012 12:32 |  #5

I use mine a lot, I like them.

Shooting the breeze
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May 31, 2012 13:28 |  #6

I also highly recommend learning to properly use a CPL (something I haven't mastered yet); they really can improve the quality of the pictures you take with them.

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May 31, 2012 13:31 |  #7

I hardly ever use my CPL because I'm too cheap to buy the ones that fit in the Lee holder, and most of the time I'd rather use my GNDs than a CPL when there's sky in the shot. I only ever use them when I happen to have them with me and I want to eliminate reflections.

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May 31, 2012 13:42 |  #8

I wouldn't be without a CPL in the bag. There are some shots where it really helps with saturation, colors and separation of elements.

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May 31, 2012 13:42 as a reply to  @ Sirrith's post |  #9

Use mine a lot. I don't think i've ever "not liked" the results with one, with the exception(depending on available light) of the light-loss.


Rocky ­ Rhode
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May 31, 2012 14:16 as a reply to  @ 1Tanker's post |  #10

Will be spending this upcoming weekend at Yosemite National Park and cannot imagine not having my CPL firmly attached to the front of my lens; my 10-20 will be situational however.

While Photoshop can do a ton of things to your photograph; glare is something that only a CPL can remove.

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May 31, 2012 14:37 |  #11

I think CPLs are great. I would bring them and experiment with them.

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Jun 01, 2012 21:21 |  #12

bought one for our trip to the Carribean and I'm glad I did. learned that images looked better when I dialed back a tad on the deepest blue.

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Jun 02, 2012 10:10 as a reply to  @ firefighter4u's post |  #13

I am never without mine. I use it all the time for daytime bright sunny day shots. Usually sunny shots can turn out flat and the CPL brings out the saturation a little bit and give the shot a bit more pop. Another trick I use is to wear a good pair of polorized sunglasses. You know how the polarizer is going to effect your shot. Also learn to use your CPL. I cant even tell you how many times I hear of people just slaping the fliter on and then wonder why their picture sucks. The filter element turns for a reason.

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John ­ from ­ PA
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Jun 02, 2012 10:18 |  #14

I'd be interested in learning why the OP makes the statement "I don't use it because I can't work with it."

One has to understand that a CPL works best when the sun is relatively low in the sky. At "high noon" the effect is minimal. The effect should be readily visible on a sunny day with some big puffy whoite clouds. Also, there should be, on any quality polarizer, an index mark. Typically this is a small white dot on the rim of the rotating portion. Maximum effect is obtained when that is pointed near the position of the sun. The effect as you rotate the adjustment ring is quite noticeable in the viewfinder, but far less noticeable in the LCD make sure you aren't judging effect on the LCD.

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Jun 02, 2012 16:20 |  #15

CPL is basically the only filter I routine use. You can easily rotate it to control the effect. Nothing in post production software can replicate the effect of removing haze/glare. IMHO, a CPL is a basic component for outdoor photography.

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CPL Or Not
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