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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon G-series Digital Cameras 
Thread started 02 Jul 2003 (Wednesday) 20:16
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Difference between Circular Polarizer and Linear Polarizer

 
TriguyTodd
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Joined Jul 2003
     
Jul 02, 2003 20:16 |  #1

Not to ask such a basic question, but I don't know what the diffeerence is. I was hoping that maybe someone on here could fill me in.

- Todd




  
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AeroSquid
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Jul 02, 2003 21:16 |  #2

link- http://www.geocities.c​om …iltersystem/pol​arizer.htm (external link)

Polarizers come in two varieties: Linear 160 and Circular 164. Each has the same effect visually; the difference is just in the way they polarize the light passing through. If you own an auto focus or auto-exposure camera (basically any modern camera), use a 164 Circular polarizer, which won't interfere with its automatic functions. Digital cameras in general do not have reflection mirrors, and, as a result, can use both (linear or circular) polarizers.


LINEAR
Produces deeper colored blue skies, which at the same time creates a striking contrast with white clouds. Minimizes light reflections from glass and water Reduces glare from non-metallic surfaces. Provides a general color saturation to both cool and warm tones. Can be used in extremely bright light situations to reduce the amount of light entering the camera; this enables more selective depth of field control. Manufactured in self-rotating and drop-in formats. Note: using a Linear Polarizer on an auto focus camera with a beam-splitting meter will result in under-exposure of approximately 2-3 f:stops. Light is polarized by both the filter and the beam-splitting meter which results in double polarization. However, Linear Polarizers can be used with both non-auto focus and auto focus video cameras.
Light Loss: 2 f:stops


CIRCULAR POLARIZER
Provides the same filter effects as a Linear Polarizer, but is designed to work with auto focus cameras with beam splitting metering. The Circular Polarizer has linear polarizer construction plus a built-in "Wave Retardant" to ensure proper exposure. The linear element polarizes the light, and the wave retardant de-polarizes it, and then the beam-splitting meter polarizes the light again for proper exposure. The use of a Linear Polarizer with a beam-splitting meter will result in underexposure. Also used in video for video assist. (video tap).
Light Loss: 2 f:stops

What is the difference between the Polarizer and the circular polarizer ?


A circular has an additional quarter-wave plate or scrambler behind the (still linear) polarizing foil. Although not scientifically correct, it more or less restores the natural 50/50 vertical/horizontal balance of polarization, without affecting the initial pictorial result.


Only by restoring this natural balance it will allow the light metering and AF sensors to work properly, as they use polarizing beam splitters. With a linear filter, you would risk a cross-polarizing effect, ie a black-out. Bad for both light metering and AF.


In spite of what most people will tell you: the main reason to buy a circular polarizer is *not* the AF sensor, but the light metering system. You can *see* when AF goes haywire (it won't shift focus, it just has more difficulty to lock on), but you can only guess what happens with your light meter!


Actually, the first circulars were required long before AF existed, and are still required for non-AF cameras today (Rollei 600x series is a nice example).


POLARIZER TIPS


TIP #1: How much a polarizer filter will darken a sky depends on the type of sky and your shooting angle in relation to the sun.


TIP #2: On a sunny day, position your shoulder towards the sun and your subject at a right angle to your shoulder. When the sun is high in the sky, maximum polarization will result along the horizon. When the sun is low in the sky, maximum polarization will result in all areas in front of and behind you.


TIP #3: A polarizer has very little effect when used under a gray, overcast sky.


TIP #4: Remove any protective lens filters when using a polarizer.


TIP #5: Use a polarizing filter indoors only for reducing relections and glare. Any color saturation will be minimal. Remember, a polarizer filter will effectively reduce your lens aperture by up to 2 f:stops.


TIP #6: Use a polarizer filter to control depth of field. This is similar to using a Neutral Density filter, except that the Neutral Density will render "neutral" colors, while the polarizer saturates colors. Neutral Density filters are available in greater light reducing densities than polarizers.


TIP #7: To distinguish a Circular Polarizer from a Linear Polarizer, turn the filter backwards and look through it into a mirror. If the filter image in the mirror is black, you have a circular polarizer. If the image is clear, you have a linear polarizer.


Tip # 8: A Polarizer tends to cool down the image. I find adding a Warm filter will restore warmth and a more natural image.




  
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inthegarden
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Jul 03, 2003 00:19 |  #3

Thanks, Aerosquid, for the great info, which I made a copy of!
Donna J


"A poorly made picture that moves us is worth hundreds of empty masterpieces of technique. And when good photos are made well, that's even better." David Vestal

  
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luke
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Jul 03, 2003 02:36 |  #4

AeroSquid wrote:
TIP #4: Remove any protective lens filters when using a polarizer.

Does that mean you shouldn't use a UV filter between the camera lens and a polarizer? ???




  
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UFObuster
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Jul 04, 2003 08:14 |  #5

Excellent information....there has always been some misunderstanding about whether to use a linear or circular polarizer for the G3.....I chose the linear based on similar info from another web site...have had good results.

Sample: This was a pretty 'hazy day'...just last week (-end of June-), NC coast, high humidity, hot. Sun was high but clearly to my left and perpendicular to my shot.

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/gif'

Roger
S100, 40D, 7D
efirdphoto.com

  
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rxahhh
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Jan 30, 2011 15:57 |  #6

Thank you. Excellent.




  
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frogpoet
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Dec 15, 2013 12:58 as a reply to  @ AeroSquid's post |  #7

excellent description and tips !!!
thanks,
frogpoet




  
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John ­ from ­ PA
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Dec 17, 2013 09:11 |  #8

luke wrote in post #64881 (external link)
Does that mean you shouldn't use a UV filter between the camera lens and a polarizer? ???

Yes, no reason to use anything between the lens and the polarizer. Two reasons, most importantly a problem called vignetting, in which the filter mounting ring actually becomes visible and causes the corners of the image to be dark. This is more likely to occur at large apertures than small and is also aggravated by less expensive polarizers that often have "thick" mounting rings. Good polarizers are often called "thin" in the description. If you put a UV filter in the mix, especially between the polarizer and lens, you have pushed the polarizer out even further, making the effect of vignetting even more likely.

The other reason is the less the number of pieces of glass, the less an effect on image quality.




  
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farmer1957
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Dec 26, 2013 20:37 as a reply to  @ John from PA's post |  #9

Cross polarization.

Linear polarized film between the light and the subject and a Circular Polarizer filter on my lens .

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ryanshoots
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Dec 27, 2013 15:41 |  #10

AeroSquid wrote in post #64807 (external link)
link- http://www.geocities.c​om …iltersystem/pol​arizer.htm (external link)

If you own an auto focus or auto-exposure camera (basically any modern camera), use a 164 Circular polarizer, which won't interfere with its automatic functions. Digital cameras in general do not have reflection mirrors, and, as a result, can use both (linear or circular) polarizers.


Another way of saying that... DSLR's need circular polarizers. Mirrorless such as the m4/3 and point and shoot such as G Series and others can use either type.




  
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Difference between Circular Polarizer and Linear Polarizer
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