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Testing a Circular Polarising Filter

Testing a circular polarising filter
Today’s photos, all taken on the Canon S95 using a circular polarising filter attached to the Lensmate adapter on the S95, or should I say ‘polarizing filter’ for those of you in the US 🙂 Here is a description of what polarising filters do, thanks to Wikipedia: A polarizing filter, used both in color and black and white photography, filters out light polarized perpendicularly to the axis of the filter. This has three applications in photography: it reduces reflections from some surfaces, it can darken the sky and it saturates the image more by eliminating unwanted reflections.

Unlike the graduated ND filter, you probably won’t see the same kind of dramatic results when using a polariser. The photos below were all taken during a walk to another local suburb/beach by the name of Manly, and back again. All photos have been uploaded straight from the memory card. Unlike most of my previous photos, no processing has been used to clean them up.
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From what I can tell, it’s quite a nice filter to be using on a sunny day like it was when these were taken. The one mistake I made here was not to do a comparison with a shot of the same scene without the filter. That said, I might do that and write a follow up here. Let me know what you think!

One more thing I should add, most of the photos were taken at ISO 200. By following the links to Flickr, you will be able to check the exact settings.

5 Responses to Testing a Circular Polarising Filter

  • Hey Glenn is me Adam from the s95site forum, awaiting your comparison shots 🙂

    • No worries! I’ll see if I can get that done by the end of the week. It’s a bit rainy at the moment. 🙂

  • Glenn,

    Interesting shots. While a comparison would be nice, I like the way these test shots came out. I have the lensmate adapter and use it for my ND filter and circular polarizer. Your shots remind me that I need to have the polarizer filter on the camera more.

    Btw, do you mind sharing what your my color settings were for these shots? I am still testing my S95 to find the overall best setting for most purposes. So far I tend to like neutral and positive film the most.


    • Hi Scott, yes, I’m way overdue posting some comparison shots. So I went and took a few this afternoon. I’ll post them up later tonight. The polariser definitely makes a difference, but do lose some light when using one.

      For the colour I just set the white balance based on whatever the conditions are. So for these photos I would have had it set to the sun setting. Around late afternoon I might sometimes set it to the cloud setting for a warmer look. But if you’re shooting photos RAW, you can tweak that regardless. I mostly use jpeg though.

  • May be, CPL filters used in rotary…

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About Avene
Sydney based artist specialising in creating music videos, cinematography, music production & beat making, digital art, sound design & photography.