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Circular Polarizers and Monochrome

Discussion in 'Colour or Not' started by Thomas Watts, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. Thomas Watts

    Thomas Watts Member

    Hi there,
    I've been looking at Circular Polarizing filters recently. I know that they're fantastic at increasing colour saturation and contrast in colour images. However, I prefer to shoot in Monochrome. I was wondering what other people's thoughts on them were. I have one for an old OM2n, however it doesn't fit my DSLR :(

    The last part of my question would be, does anyone have one they recommend?
  2. mikeh201355

    mikeh201355 Well-Known Member

    Yes, they will improve tones in B&W, and reduce glare, just as they do in colour photography.

    My standard one is the Hoya Pro-1D range. But if the filter you have is larger than the thread on your current lens just hold it in front of the lens without mounting it. Or buy a stepping ring for a couple of quid.
  3. Thomas Watts

    Thomas Watts Member

    Unfortunately the filter mount is too small! But thanks for the reply :)
  4. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    I have several Kood CPLs, which are OK, and a couple of Marumi DHG, which do seem to have slightly better flare resistance in the coatings.

    You might find this comparative review at Lenstip.com of interest:


    with supplement:


    Although yellow or orange coloured filters can be better for bringing out clouds against blue skies in monochrome (the filter effect doesn't change with the angle of the sun), there are some things that polarisers can do that nothing else can, such as reducing reflections from glass.
  5. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    If you favour monochrome, then the CPL filter has one huge advantage (apart from its prime function of reducing reflection from non-metallic surfaces). By saturating and darkening the blue of the sky, it allows you to process the blue channel in mono conversion to give a very dramatic sky in a mono print.
  6. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    Just a couple of things to bear in mind - while CPLs (or any other polariser for that matter) are great for darkening skies, they don't darken it uniformly. The strongest darkening effect will occur at right angles to the sun. If you're shooting with a very wide angle lens with a lot of blue sky in the frame then you'll end up with a dark stripe of polarised light which never looks good! The other point - and I admit it's entirely subjective - is the fact that whilst reducing glare and enhancing the saturation of colours is effective when shooting in colour, that same reduction in glare serves only to reduce contrast in monochrome. While you may like the effect, speaking personally, I never really liked the resulting images and tended to print at a harder grade (of paper) in order to inject a bit of life into my prints. But, what the hell - give it a go anyway!
  7. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    I've owned and, somewhat rarely, used polarising filters over the years I've been taking snaps. Quite often I've given them a trial, and decided that the effect wasn't obvious enough for the effort - i.e. fiddling with lens hoods etc. However on November 1st I travelled in to Docklands to see Fen's exhibition, and up to lunchtime the sky conditions were very favourable to the use of my CPL. Excellent darkening where the effect was maximised, and in some cases, I rotated the filter to reduce the effect as it was too strong. I've never had this happen before. I've even invested in one of Canon's drop-in CPLs (£££...) for my long teles, and when tested shortly after purchase, the effect was very subtle... I'm guessing but I expect slight atmospheric mist reduces the effect.
  8. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

  9. cupsfink

    cupsfink In the Stop Bath

    Hi, I just want to share what I have read. It is said that Circular Polarizer is good. It does not only enhances tones or shades but it also protects lenses. However in photography of monochromes, colour filters are more effective.
  10. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Nearly. The CP filter has two main purposes - to enhance blue sky, an effect that depends on the relative angle of the sun - and to reduce reflections which can lead to an increase in saturation. As a protective filter it is of limited use as there is a typical 5/3 stop loss of light transmission and the angle of the polariser is important. A plain glass, an UV or a weak warm up filter are better protective options. Colour filters are often used with film. With digital the effect of colour filters can be applied in post- processing of raw files. To shoot with a coloured filter you would need to fix the camera white balance which would otherwise compensate for it ( unless using the Leica mono-only camera)
  11. Marcus Harvey

    Marcus Harvey Member

    I thought I would chime in, yeah the polariser filter 'saturation effect' can be achieved in light room processing or ps. When I used to shoot b/w film landscape for instance it was great to pop a red filter with a polariser to make the sky turn black when it was printed. The one thing post cannot achieve is the cutting out the reflection from reflective surfaces such as the sea or building windows which is indispensable in architectural work. As a tip a good way to darken the sky in a colour image file is to select the red channel and play with the levels or curves and see what happens, then convert to black and white.
  12. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    There is really no need for colour filters in digital photography.

    In the olden days of film, many of us carried a range of maybe half a dozen coloured filters for use with mono film - yellow to darken blue skies, red for more dramatic sky effects or to darken foliage, green for landscapes, blue for portraits (of Caucasian skin), etc.

    With digital, however, by shooting in Raw and then using the colour channels in ACR, Lightroom, SilverEfexPro or whatever software we use for Raw conversion, we have an almost infinite number of "colour filters" available, the hues and strengths of which can give hugely more control than glass or gelatine filters ever did for film.
  13. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Any reason why you're responding to what a spammer wrote 9 months ago, Eric? ;)
  14. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    Because I only read it last night and I had no way of knowing he was a spammer. It seemed like a genuinely held view that was worth providing an alternative take on.

    I do sometimes find new stuff on the Forum. Of the 39 sections that appear on my Forum front page, there are only about 10 or 11 that I regularly look at. This was one of the other 28.
  15. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I used to look at specific sections but now I use the "What's new" filter which is a lot faster way to do it for a frequent visitor. It is easy to miss the timing between posts and reply to a new post that has dug up some ancient history.

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