Circular Polarisers - Image Quality Reduction

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TheReef, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. TheReef, Mar 16, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #1
    G'day crew,

    I bought some standard Hoya CPL filters off eBay last year (not HD, Pro1 or Evo series), and have been less than impressed with them.

    I'm thinking they may be fakes... from what I read Hoya filters are meant to go well.
    Images I get from them are soft and un-contrasty, and I sometimes see double vision in out of focus areas... so bad I just don't use them at all.

    My question is, am I expecting too much? I've attached some quick and dirty 100% crops as a comparison (unaltered RAW, same focus for both shots).

    Without filter:
    [​IMG]

    With filter:
    [​IMG]


    I'm tempted to go for the "HD" line of Hoya CPL filters from B&H, they seem to get good reviews and just cop the high shipping costs to down under.

    This would be the one I'm specifically interested in: B&H link.

    Can anyone offer any input/suggestions here? B+W seem good as well but expensive.

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #2
    If they're the standard $50 Hoyas, then I think you're expecting a little too much.
    The HD and Pro1 series seem to have good reviews; try them out!
    Also if your wallet can handle it the B+W filters are great.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #3
    Just out of interest, what size (diameter) are they? I read somewhere that over 77mm they are useless.
     
  4. macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Over there------->
    #4
    Wow, that second example is incredibly bad. My CPLs are Hoya Pro 1 (some are "Super" Pro 1, and some are Pro 1 "Digital"). I've never had any problems with resolution. They do affect contrast a bit, but that's the nature of polarization. I purchased mine from Maxsaver.net, which sells Hoya and B&W at pretty good prices.
     
  5. macrumors newbie

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    #5
  6. macrumors 68000

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #6
    I may be incorrect but early on with digital cameras, it was made pretty clear to me to avoid circular polarizers (as opposed to film) and use the standard linear polarizers.

    If someone knows different on this, please jump in.
     
  7. macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #7
    No, it's the other way around. Linear is for film, circular for digital.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #8
    Thanks for the replies, much appreciated. :)

    That one was a 58mm CPL on a 55-300 zoom. Yeah they're not that great on wider angle lenses that typically use 77mm threads. Different areas of the sky become varying shades of blue. I believe this is due to the differing angles of light in such a wide FOV being effected by the polarisation.


    Thanks P, I had a look over at Maxsaver.net, those look like pretty good prices. I found there's talk regarding the authenticity of some of their Hoya and B+W products... it should be ok but now I want to play it safe, so B&H it will probably be. The free shipping is very tempting vs B&H's $30 though...


    After much reading today I thought I was set on the Hoya HD CPL, they are meant to be tougher, more scratch/smudge resistant and clean easier than regular filters, but then found reports of them physically falling apart. :eek:

    The next best (value) I've found is the B+W Kaesemann CPL with the MRC coating, $105 @ B&H. It seems to offer a similar level of ease-of-cleaning as the Hoya HD with it's special coating. It is also more "sealed" against moisture, so I think that's what I'll go with unless anybody can convince me otherwise?
    I'm specifically after the anti-flare/scratch/gunk coating.
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    #9
    Can't go wrong with the B+W. More often than not, you get what you pay (or don't pay) for.
    If IQ is at all important you can't scrimp on a layer of glass going in front of your lens.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

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  11. macrumors regular

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    Cheese&Apple

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    #12
    Wow, it's hard to believe that there are filters out there that can degrade image quality that much. This leaves me wondering what my mid-price range (mid-quality?) protective UV filters are doing. :( I'll have to set-up some shots to check for a difference.

    There was a lively and interesting discussion in a thread on this topic sometime last year...I can't seem to find it but there were clearly two opposing points of view (both very polarized :D)

    - One side of the discussion was that for one thin single layer of glass, quality really doesn't matter that much and you don't have to spend a lot.
    - The other side of the discussion was of course the opposite. To prove the point with an exaggerated example, images were posted of someone shooting through about 50 stacked filters and the resulting loss of image quality.

    Bottom line I think the image through the stacked filters was better than your single filtered shot. :(
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Fukuoka, Japan
    #13
    Are you sure? I seem to remember back in the film days that even then you were supposed to go for circular pol filters, because otherwise the AF won't work properly. I've never owned anything but circular pol filters, so I haven't tried the linear variety on either film or digital.
     
  14. macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #14
    I just checked the Wikipedia entry to be sure. Linear polarizers can interfere with auto-focus and anti-aliasing filters on DSLR sensors. So circular polarizers are preferable for digital cameras, but it sounds as though you could probably get away with using a linear one if you're manually focusing something like a Nikon D800E. But yeah, apparently you're correct about the later film SLRs with auto-focus: if you want to use a linear polarizer on one, you have to focus manually.

    Bottom line: for digital cameras, a circular polarizer is best.
     
  15. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Fukuoka, Japan
    #15
    I didn't know there are additional problems between linear pol filters and the sensor, I just assumed they'd have the same issues as film cameras with AF. Thanks for the info.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #16
    Many thanks for all the replies :)

    I just ordered the B+W Kaesemann CPL with MRC from B&H.

    I made the most of the order and filled up my cart with a x400 ND, fresh new Hitech ND/grads and some Portra 400 film ...it didn't increase the international shipping charges. :D


    I'll report back with my results with the polariser.

    Cheers. :)
     

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