Polarizer vs. UV filter

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by BJB Productions, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. BJB Productions macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Hi guys,
    I recently purchased a Nikon D90, and really want to get some kind of filter for my lenses for protection mainly. So, I'm wondering what the pros/cons are of a Polarizer lens and a basic UV filter lens.

    I like Polarizers because of the richness it gives blues. Will a UV filter do anything for the color like a polarizer?

  2. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    You won't want to keep a polariser on your lens - for protection, or any other reason really - not least because it'll diminish the 'light gathering' power of your lens. A UV filter doesn't do a great deal, optically, but a lot of people use them to protect the front element. I have always had one on my lenses: more of a habit than anything else. If it helps to relax you when taking pix then, IMO, it's money well spent...
  3. kyzen macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    Like Doylem said, a polarizer is going to darken your images, and isn't really good for casual use. A UV filter doesn't really do anything for digital cameras besides add another piece of glass between your sensor and your target.

    I personally have a UV filter on almost all of my lenses. I use multicoated Hoya's for the most part. Got a chip in one a few months ago when shooting a rock crawl and some jeep kicked up a bunch of gravel. It was nice throwing away a $30 filter instead of having to repair a $500 lens.

    Admittedly that was the only time in over 18 months since I started using a filter that I actually benefited from it, but still :p
  4. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Good to hear your comments...Now do you still suggest I get a polarizer for other scenarios? Do you find you use it much?
  5. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    If you shoot outdoors, or like to shoot landscapes/scenics, then a polarizer is an essential tool to have. It will cut out reflections and glare resulting in more saturation.

    An alternative to the UV filters is to get a NC or no color filter. It is said that UV filters can slightly alter the image in the blue/violet spectrum, due to the filters blocking some of the blues/purples right at the edge of UV. I'd say if you're going purely for protection (and don't forget that lens hood... probably the most effective protection you can get) get a NC filter instead. It should cost the same as UV.

  6. maddagascar macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009
    also, from what i read, you have to stand a certain degree with the sun for the polarizer to work properly. i've got a UV filter on my lens kit 24/7...just for protection.

    i know other people will argue about that..but that's just me. :D
  7. John.B macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2008
    Holocene Epoch
    I use a CP a *lot* for landscapes and for anything around water; also useful for taming window reflections. It's one of those tools that you really can't duplicate in post. But you have to already have enough light (b/c the polarizer is filtering up to two stops of light), and that light has to somewhat perpendicular to the shot (can't be directly behind you or directly facing you) to be useful. There are some good example pictures on Wikipedia that show the differences between no CP and a properly adjusted CP.
  8. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    The polarizing effect is most noticeable when shooting 90 degrees from the direction of the sun.

    I bought a polarizer for a trip to the desert last winter and I'm glad I did. It made my shots look so much better. Unless there is a specific reason for me to use it, however, it remains in my bag. It's a specialized tool, not an everyday one.
  9. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Remember that any filter will degrade the quality of your images to some extent. There are multi-coated clear filters sold by all the good filter manufacturers that don't alter the light as much as a UV filter, though there are occasions where a UV filter may be good for haze. Personally, I don't use filters unless I need an effect or I'm shooting somewhere that there's a better than even chance of a lot of water hitting the front of my lens.

  10. NeGRit0 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 19, 2008
    Las Vegas, Nv
    Thank you for that link. I had no idea i had to 'set' the Polarizer. I will have to remember to take that into account next time im outside shooting.
  11. GL2 macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2009
    If you opt to use a UV filter for protection, be sure to buy the best one you can. Putting a low-quality filter in front of a high-quality lens will degrade your image and, to some extent, defeat the purpose of buying the better lens.

    I shoot with Canon L glass and do not use UV filters. You have to balance the cost of high-quality filters with the potential cost of repairing a lens if you should scratch it. Using a lens hood is another way of helping protect your lenses, and the circumstances in which you shoot will also factor into the equation. For me and my typical shooting circumstances, it's not worth buying the filters. I've shot for years and never once scratched a lens.

    A circular polarizer is a great tool to have in your camera bag, but it's mostly for outdoor shooting in bright sunlight. It takes the glare off objects, increasing color saturation, and cuts through reflections. But it decreases the amount of light that reaches your sensor (or film, if that applies to you). It's not something to use full-time, but it's a nice tool for when you need it.
  12. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Nov 10, 2008
    Thanks for that post..Very clear and helped me a lot! If you had not brought up that about the low-quality filters, I would of never thought of that and probably just would of gone out and purchased the cheapest one I could find. :eek:

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