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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

polarizing filter
Mike Jones, Photographer
Magnolia | AR | USA | Posted: 12:19 PM on 05.08.10
->> I have never used a polarizing filter on my 70-200 but was recommended by a photo dealer to purchase one to enhance my outdoor baseball photos. I will be shooting D II regional tournament this next week. I would like to know how you guys use the filter, if you use it at all.
Thanks!
Mike
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Darren Whitley, Photographer
Northwest Missouri | MO | USA | Posted: 12:49 PM on 05.08.10
->> You're going to lose considerable amount of light right at the filter (about 2 stops, I believe). And that will cause you to have to either slow your shutter speed or ramp up your ISO. Both have a negative effect on the quality of your images.

A polarizing filter will increase the contrast of your images, but primarily they're used to knock out reflections. If your baseball photos are flat, then up the contrast in-camera or in your RAW processing.

I use a polarizing filter primarily for copy work in combination with polarizing filters over my lights as well. This results in better captures especially of highly reflective artwork such as paintings and pen and ink drawings.

You may also want to use a polarizer when photographing clouds. Note that a polarizer can also cause some color shifts from what I've been told. I felt like it did that to me particularly with my D700. Results may vary depending on the quality of polarizer you use. Also note that a circular polarizer is preferable for use with wide angle lenses.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 1:31 PM on 05.08.10
->> Camera stores make a lot of profit from filter sales and polarizing filters are among the most expensive filters that they stock.

I would recommend getting a polarizer for a shorter lens and learn about its characteristics. Then, if YOU think it's something you need, get it for your 70-200.

--Mark
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 2:13 PM on 05.08.10
->> Let me echo what Mark wrote about the camera stores, margins and filters.

I know, back in the age of the dinosaur, I worked in one.

I can't think of any reason why one would want to use a polarizing filter in this application. You should learn about polarizing filters. They can improve the blue in skies and color saturation, knock down reflective issues when dealing with glass, water or other reflective surfaces. Everything Darren wrote is true.

The other issue I see here is that you do have to learn more about your craft, and, more importantly, you need to find a sales person that isn't trying to "hustle" you for some extra sales with BAD information. The situation is that either he doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to shooting baseball, (in which case he should keep his or her mouth shut); or he/she does and is trying to sell accessories that are inappropriate for the application in question. As you can tell, I take a very dim view of sales help that works this way.

If you want to have some fun Mike, ask this individual exactly how this would improve your images when it would require you to slow your shutter speed down or boost your ISO.

For the record, you can tell him that a former Polaroid Technical Products rep, who worked for the company who invented modern day polarizing material, would love to hear his or her explanation. ( FYI Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid, invented and patented the material in 1929).
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 4:23 PM on 05.08.10
->> Every once in a while they're useful to make shadows open up a little (technically you're just making the polarized highlights darker), but it depends a lot on the kind of light you're shooting in, and it's very dependent on what direction you're shooting with respect to the sun and its altitude. Sometimes it'll help a lot; other times, not at all.

If you want to try it out, do what Mark said - get a cheap linear polarizer and put it on a cheap lens. You'll lose AF at certain angles since it doesn't have a quarter wave plate to reorient the light as it goes through the filter, and the effect will be about 50% stronger (sometimes that's good, sometimes bad). A circular polarizer will basically re-orient the light so that it's polarized again after passing through - only light polarized to the correct angle will bounce off of a mirror, such as the one in your mirror box.

Then you can decide whether it's a good idea to get a nice expensive circular polarizer from one of the SS sponsors. In general, I've learned not to listen to people who work at camera stores - if they knew what they were talking about, they'd be shooting rather than selling, though there are a couple exceptions such as Jeff Snyder over at Adorama :)
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 5:06 PM on 05.08.10
->> If you're using autofocus, get a circular polarizer -- not a linear one. Linear polarizers can confuse autofocus in certain situations.

BTW, the term "circular" does not refer to the shape of the filter. It refers to the way the polarizing material is made. The difference is not visible to the eye.

--Mark
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Robert Scheer, Photographer
Indianapolis | IN | USA | Posted: 7:30 PM on 05.08.10
->> Was just about to chime in with "get a circular for AF." I have one that fits my two zooms (77), with a step down ring for smaller lenses, but honestly hardly ever use it. Nature photography is about the only application I'd think of breaking it out for, it makes foliage pop like crazy, and really gives rich saturated colors if used correctly (90 degrees to the sun).
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 11:27 PM on 05.08.10
->> First question...I hope you have more glass. That 70-200 is hardly enough reach for baseball.

After that, truly, there isn't really a reason to get the filter with the controls you have in Aperture, LR and PS. Unless you are going to do some heavy-duty landscape stuff, ditch the filter.

If you do decide to get a filter, buy on Ebay. Stuff there is 10X cheaper. I mean, don't go buying big electronics off Ebay, but for smaller, non-electronic stuff, it is the way to go. I got a 105mm end filter for my 120-300/2.8 off Ebay for $15. You will be forking out $100+ at B&H for the same thing.
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 12:06 AM on 05.09.10
->> About the ebay filters... I've had consistently bad experiences with them - they just tend to turn those expensive L lenses right into sigma's, though YMMV. If you just do $100 tiffen and hoya filters at B+H, the mileage varies less but it still sucks losing all your sharpness. B+W and Heliopan cost a lost, but they're the only ones made at the same grade as the L (or top of the line nikkor) lenses. They tend to be a lot more durable too - I've dropped mine on the glass and scratched them on concrete and they don't show anything at all. And even though the sponsors are $5 more on the price initially, the free stuff (shipping and upgrades to overnight usually) or other discounts they give you more than make up for it.
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Thread Title: polarizing filter
Thread Started By: Mike Jones
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