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Polarizing filter question
Aug 20, 2011 17:04:29   #
Finch585 Loc: Northern California
 
Do you usually remove the polarizing filter when taking photos indoors? The camera shop guy told me it was like "sunglasses for the camera".
Thank you.

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Aug 20, 2011 17:57:42   #
dannydperez
 
I usually do, but's not absolutely necessary, but will act to some degree as a ND filter, and if it's on top of a protective UV filter, then the chance of ghosting or reflections is increased because of multiple extra glass surfaces.

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Aug 20, 2011 18:23:38   #
Finch585 Loc: Northern California
 
do you ever take the time to remove the UV before applying the polarizing filter?

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Aug 20, 2011 18:28:56   #
dannydperez
 
If time permits, and I know that I'll be using the polarizing filter for several shots, then I take the time to remove the uv. If just for one quick shot, I often leave the uv filter on, just to help keep dust, etc. off the mail lens surface, and stack the polarizer on top. I suppose a real pro would remove the uv filter every time, though!

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Aug 21, 2011 03:23:44   #
delija
 
dannydperez wrote:
If time permits, and I know that I'll be using the polarizing filter for several shots, then I take the time to remove the uv. If just for one quick shot, I often leave the uv filter on, just to help keep dust, etc. off the mail lens surface, and stack the polarizer on top. I suppose a real pro would remove the uv filter every time, though!


Like most people I used to think of a UV or Skylight (1A) filter as "protection" for my lenses. But in over 50 years of photography (40 professionally), I no longer use them unless I'm shooting in windy and dusty conditions or in rain or around spraying water. (or on a beach or boat). I have never had or even seen (other than occasional photos on the Internet, where you see everything) a case where a UV filter actually saved a front lens element from damage.

No matter how many "coatings" and how expensive a filter is, any lens is only as good as it's weakest link - and while there are $200 filters that are probably quite optically correct, they still add another element that can contribute to flare and "ghosting".

Also while UV filters had an effect (extremely subtle under normal circumstances at normal elevations), that's only true of film and not digital.

I ALWAYS use a lens hood on every lens ...it offers real protection (a filter never once actually protected a lens for me in all the years I've been using cameras) - Plus a hood serves a real purpose - it prevents flare ...the opposite of what a UV filter is more likely to do.

I do use Polarizing filters (but never indoors) - they are the only filters that can do what cannot be done with software.

Using them indoors would seem (as said) like wearing sunglasses indoors - (unless you were using strobes or high powered studio lights and reflection from non metallic surfaces were a problem indoors - never happened to me so far).

Stacking filters is not a good idea, and especially on zoom lenses that extend and retract when zooming (only a very few of the very best do not) - most are not made to carry more weight than a hood and one filter. Of course higher quality zooms are stronger, and the best zooms don't extend or contract when focused or zoomed (many less expensive prime lenses also may have weak barrels that extend and contract just when focusing. I would not put any more than weight than is absolutely necessary on any lens with a plastic barrel - zoom or prime.

My $.02 ;)

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Aug 21, 2011 10:28:23   #
Finch585 Loc: Northern California
 
thank you, and so you use the hoods even indoors and whether or not using an external flash unit? I know you said "always", but....

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Aug 21, 2011 10:37:12   #
dannydperez
 
delija, spoken like a pro :D I see what you're saying about the lens hood!! Great input. Last month my daughter dropped her camera, and scratched the surface of her lens, as she did not have a protective lens (or hood) on the lens. I'll have to get hoods for all my lenses. Thanks for the feedback.

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Aug 21, 2011 11:37:10   #
profpb Loc: Venice, Florida
 
Tat $.02 was worth a bundle to me. I want the best of tack-sharp, so off goes the protective filter.

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Aug 21, 2011 16:14:34   #
delija
 
New2blog wrote:
thank you, and so you use the hoods even indoors and whether or not using an external flash unit? I know you said "always", but....


Hi..yes..I ALWAYS use a hood. When I shoot indoors if it's just a quick snapshot I'll generally just use a flash on the camera and bounce it off the ceiling (or a wall if there's no window or art framed with glass) - In those cases, a hood might not have any effect, but since I keep the hoods on my lenses anyway (Canon hoods go on reversed for storage and are in the way if not taken off, so might as well put them where I won't forget them)...

If doing more serious indoor work, I generally use three strobes (four if I have the "flash commander" pop-up flash set to fire during exposure)...Either way, having three flashes, I am not likely to get flare from two I usually have set up with light modifiers (like umbrellas or a soft-box), but for a spill light (some people call it a "hair light")...it can be a very bright light without a modifier (or with a "snoot") - and can cause flare since light can hit the lens and even if it does not, it can easily reflect off some surface - unlike studio lights with a built-in 'modeling light", the off-camera strobes I use have a pretty useless modelling mode (on Canon it's activated by pressing he "preview" button) - the lights strobe continuously for a second or two which is a lot longer than the actual flash (usually less than 1/1000th of a second), but not long enough for me to see exactly how and where the light will fall. (also uses a lot of the battery power and the flash guns should be allowed to cool after doing that)..

Using the hoods in those situations might be a waste of time, and I might be trying to rationalize the use of a hood, but either way, it's a habit to have a hood on at all times and it's a good and safe habit. At worst it can't hurt.

The only problem I find with the Canon brand "bayonet mount" hoods (I think the newer Nikon lenses have the same system) is that they won't rotate...which makes them virtually impossible to use with a Polarizing filter. So what I did was buy a very large (86mm) metal screw-in hood with a bunch of step-up rings so I can use the same hood and same 77mm Polarizing filter on almost every lens - A good Polarizing filter is around $200 - step up rings are less than $5 (some are less than $2 - not much to them, so Ebay rings are as good as any I guess), so rather than spend $1200 on 6 filters, I can use one CPL filter on 6 lenses using the largest size filter I need (77mm) and the one large hood. The hood is too deep to use with wide angle lenses, but I can still use the same filter and shade the lens with my hand or a clip-board or just about anything - it's easy to know where the sun is so it's easy enough to shade the lens outdoors - easier still if using a tripod - but works OK even hand-held if need be - (would be tough to hold a camera with one hand and a big heavy lens, but the big heavy lenses are not wide angle, so it's not a problem - at least not one I've had).

Hope this helps. I know it's more than the response asked for, but what can I say? If I said I used a filter indoors without a "why", I don't see what meaning it would have.

Peace,
D.

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Aug 21, 2011 20:40:33   #
ianhargraves1066 Loc: NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida
 
Depends on what your subject is, if your doing for example tabletop / product shots it may well be benificial as it would if your were taking interior photographs involving large windows as you can cut reflections. One word of warning though, if windows are "tinted or film coated, you can introduce all sorts of rainbow effects as the film sometimes scatters the light. Otherwise its probably best to take the filter off and use the extra 2 stops worth of light.
Ian Hargraves igh1066@hotmail.com
Port Orange,
Florida

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Aug 21, 2011 23:54:41   #
DanielB Loc: San Diego, Ca
 
Less glass in front of your lens the better. A polarized lens indoor just reduces the amount of light that's reaching the CCD/CMOS sensor in the camera.

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Aug 22, 2011 03:18:27   #
delija
 
ianhargraves1066 wrote:
Depends on what your subject is, if your doing for example tabletop / product shots it may well be benificial as it would if your were taking interior photographs involving large windows as you can cut reflections. One word of warning though, if windows are "tinted or film coated, you can introduce all sorts of rainbow effects as the film sometimes scatters the light. Otherwise its probably best to take the filter off and use the extra 2 stops worth of light.
Ian Hargraves igh1066@hotmail.com
Port Orange,
Florida
Depends on what your subject is, if your doing for... (show quote)

Interesting point about tinted windows and their combined effect with a CPL filter - I had never heard that before.

As for product shots indoors and using a CPL to cut glare, I guess that's a valid use but I have always used a light box of some kind for product shots (small stuff) - so glare isn't a problem and light boxes are very easy to make (probably a ton of step by step "how to" instructions can be found with Google).

It's important for people new to using CPL filters to remember that they are ineffective on metallic surfaces, so if you are trying to use a flash (for example) on something that is both metallic and causing glare, it's the lighting technique that has to be modified - and using a flash on a shiny metal object is always going to be a problem without properly getting the light to "cooperate" (up to the photographer to decide how to control the lighting). Using an on-camera flash is always going to be trouble - no less than trying to take a photo with a (on-camera) flash with a mirror behind the subject (a CPL will stop glare, but not direct reflections).

I remember working on a Hertz commercial back when all car bumpers were chrome - and lighting systems were prehistoric compared to today. We had a rough time with glare (seemed like everything was chromed then - windshield frames, window frames, even windshield washer blades) - we probably used so many large format Polaroid prints to test exposure that the cost of the Polaroids was very likely as much as a year's salary for me at the time.

In the end, the entire car was enclosed inside a tent made of sheets. The lighting was soft and outside the "tent" covering the car. The camera was inside the "tent" and a long exposure did the trick - (allowing a low level of very diffused lighting).

That shoot was done on a sound stage rented by the ad agency I worked for - like all large photo studios, there were no windows, so that's not a factor other than in home studios (even home basement studios usually have any windows blacked out).

I was showing my son the effect of a CPL very recently - so I did use one indoors. I took a photo of a framed picture of him with window glare on the glass of the picture - the image was completely invisible without the CPL but with it it was as if there was no glass in the frame at all, so I guess there must be uses for a CPL when shooting indoors if using natural lighting - just not something I ever did or gave thought to. But I can see where trying to do something indoors with light that you cannot control completely would make a CPL useful.

Funny how you can go decades and never come across some issue like this and other people might find it important the first day they pick up a camera - I guess it just goes to show that possibilities are unlimited.

Peace,
D.

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