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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gadget Bag: Polarizing Filters

For landscape photographers, a polarizer is a must-have accessory you should carry at all times. It does much more than simply darken the sky.

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Cokin's circular polarizer is part of the PURE Harmonie line, featuring a slim 4.5mm design. Its thin profile is ideal for avoiding vignettes with wide-angle lenses, even when stacked with 3.3mm thick PURE Harmonie UV filters. The mount has kept external filter threads to allow use of additional filters or accessories. The filter itself is made from tempered Corning glass with high transmittance using EVERCLEAR 5 Coating Technology, providing a multilayer coating to resist oil, water, dust, soil and scratches. Cokin also makes Cokin Creative Filters for the A Series, P Series and X-Pro Series systems. www.omegabrandess.com

The Hoya HD Circular Polarizing filter uses highly durable, UV-absorbing film to provide 25% greater light transparency than standard polarizing film. An 8-layer HD coating has an antireflective surface that repels water and oil, and is scratch- and stain-resistant. The polarizer mounts the glass to the thin frame using high-pressure technology, and the low-profile frame is designed for wide-angle lenses.
One important note: When using a polarizer, you often lose 1 to 2 stops, so you need to compensate when you add it to your lens. Because of this, you also may prefer to use the polarizer when you're capturing still scenes or using slow shutter speeds as opposed to quick wildlife shots.
Hoya's PRO 1D Circular Polarizer uses black-rimmed glass within a black matte almite frame to reduce the chance of reflections and glare. A knurling edge along the thin frame provides a sturdy grip for attachment and removal. The polarizer has a digital multicoating to reduce lens flare and ghosting; it's UV-protected for longevity.

The EX in Kenko's Zeta EX Circular Polarizer stands for extra—extra-thin, extra-light and extra-bright. Using four layers of nano glass technology provides a smooth stain- and scratch-resistant surface while keeping a 0.8mm thin glass profile. High-transparency film allows 25% more light through the filter compared to a traditional polarizer, equal to about 1 stop. The Zero Reflection Super Multi-Coating eliminates reflections without changing colors. kenkotokinausa.com

Tiffen provides reliable and inexpensive options for basic circular polarizers, but the price increases as you add additional features such as the Wide Angle Low Profile Design or Digital High Transmission Multi-Coating. The Wide Angle polarizers are 4mm thick without front threads and designed for wide-angle lenses. The High Transmission Circular Polarizing Multi-Coated Filter combines optical glass with a titanium coating and ColorCore technology, making it durable and scratch-resistant. The polarizer also features an antireflective black titanium ring. www.tiffen.com

Pro-Optic offers a basic, low-cost Pro Circular Polarizer. With a multicoating, the filter provides resistance against water, making it easy to clean. It's available in 52mm-77mm sizes, with thin mounts for the larger sizes to reduce vignettes. www.adorama.com


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