Polarised filters “split” light. They improve image and colour quality, while reducing glare. If you have a pair of polarised sunglasses, these filters really act as sunglasses for your camera. Good polarised light smooths the light entering the lens and eliminates those severe lighting problems.
Be warned- There are some lighting issues that even Photoshop can’t deal with. Anyone who’s ever taken a picture in Australia’s ferocious summer sun will appreciate these filters. You may not even notice the glare, until after you’ve taken the picture. The glare factor can be a real problem, particularly from reflected light off water and similar “photography obstacle courses” in the environment.
A circular polarising filter is actually two filters- a linear polariser to deal with the effects of the natural light, and a depolariser to create the true image after polarisation. These filters are actually rotated to get the right image for shooting.
Selecting circular polarised filters
The circular polarising filters have become best practice among pro photographers, and there are a lot of them on the market. Like other filters, circular polarised filters are based on lens sizes, but quality is also a major issue.
The range of circular polarised filters on the market includes filters from some of the big camera manufacturers, and specialist camera product manufacturers like Bower, Opteka, Hoya and Kenko. Prices can vary considerably, and the real issue for photographers is getting top quality.
Fortunately, the quality from these major league photographic manufacturers is good, it’s more a question of which is better.
Important- As a rule, the top of the range digital cameras like DSLRs, with their advanced imaging systems perform better with the high quality top of the range filters. This is actually a result of the extremely responsive sensor and optical systems in these cameras. They need excellent quality filters, particularly for something as fundamental as light inputs.
Average quality digital cameras will be fine with the less expensive filters. They don’t really need that added level of filtration.
The circular polarising filters have a huge price range, from a staggeringly cheap $20 to up to $400 retail, but you’ll get better prices online.
Just remember one thing-It’s the result that counts, not the price of the filter. These filters will give you your best shots.