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Good enough polarizing filter

This is a discussion on Good enough polarizing filter within the Camera equipment & accessories forums, part of the Education & Technical category; I've got some of my Christmas money left, and for what I'm shooting, a polarizing filter is probably my most ...

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    QuietOne is offline Senior Member
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    Default Good enough polarizing filter

    I've got some of my Christmas money left, and for what I'm shooting, a polarizing filter is probably my most immediate need. I have about $150 USD to spend, but you might be able to drag me kicking and screaming a little higher.

    I have done some reading. I have two basic problems. The first is that I have a kit lens. I don't see any point to getting a filter that's more than it can use (the equivalent of getting performance parts for an auto engine that brings the horse power up to more than the engine has ever been to produce ).

    The other is sorting through opinions. Okay, I get uncoated and single coated bad, multicoated good. Then the bickering starts. The two brands with affordable prices that crop up the most often are Hoya and BW. Then the bickering starts about what minimum level of Hoya.

    The local camera store sells only Promaster stuff, and not just filters. Even if I could be sure of the real manufacturer, that's not enough information. You can't necessarily say the quality is the same as their branded filters, any more than you can say the Ann Klein line of clothes for JC Penney is the same quality as the line sold in Nordstroms.

    So I'm stuck at this point, and I really don't want to wade through thousands of opinions, graphs and tests for what is really a very basic thing - given the money I have to spend and the lens it's going on, what's good enough?

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    i went to blacks camer and bought a circular polarizer for around $40.00 and it does what its supposed to. When i get into higher end gear i will buy higher end accessories.
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    I'm going to throw a monkey wrench into the whole mix here. If all you have for lenses is the kit lens and only $150 to spend then I'd recommend you'd by yourself a 50mm prime, the nifty fifty. You'll love the f1.8 way more than a polarizing filter.

    If you have your heart set on a polarizing then you should really consider getting a set - polarizer, uv?, maybe some ND filters? $150 is a lot of money for a filter for a kit lens.
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    Iggy, I might love the lens, but the reality is that the Treasure Valley is high desert (average elevation of 2,500 feet). Summer sunlight is very harsh, and the airshow and river float seasons both start next month. I had a bright, sunny day yesterday, and tossed about half the pictures because of glare, and it's only May. Even in the shade, light or white colored objects might be difficult to rescue.

    The attached photo has only had the midtones bumped slightly. No other adjustments, no compensation in the camera. You can see how hard the sky is, and the white of the cloud is starting to go.
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    So I'll put the lens on my birthday list and see if Mom is game. For the filters, the set might be a good idea. I'd been thinking I might need an ND filter once July rolled around, simply because I might not be able to cut the light enough without one.

    Kawarthabob, I've stared through enough spotting scopes to be wary of going too cheap on optical glass. I'd rather get something that's a little more than my lens needs than something that's not quite enough.

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    I liked reading over the testing of polarizing filters done here, and found it very helpful:
    Polarizing filters test - Introduction - Lenstip.com
    If you scroll down you can see their testing of many of the popular, and some unpopular, brands and the results may surprise you.

    From the results, I bought Marumi Super DHG cpol filters off ebay for between $30 and $80 (of course price varies by diameter). Before reading this article, I had never even heard of Marumi brand filters.

    You shouldn't have to spend $150 to get a decent multicoated cpol filter.

    If you prefer to stick to Hoya, I can recommend from experience the S-HMC as well as the Pro1D (if you need thin profile for wide angle) filters. And although the results in that lenstip filter test don't agree, there is a strong case made for Kenko filters being the same as Hoya, just different labels and Kenko are less expensive.

    If you do prefer not to play on ebay, since you are in Idaho I would suggest checking out a very good company out of Montana that has quite reasonable prices called Spotlight Photo. They are an actual photography store (AFAIK), but also sell on ebay as well as mail order direct by phone or through their website:
    Welcome to Spotlight Photo - The Last Best Place to Outfit Your Camera

    It's long been my opinion to not buy filters from most local photography brick and mortar retail stores- they mark those kinds of accessories up horribly in most cases. I've bought 97% of my filters of all kinds online, mostly on ebay.

    P.S. don't get too caught up in all the debating going on in forums...it gets crazy at times.
    Last edited by F8&Bthere; 05-11-2010 at 11:30 PM.

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    Bambi recently bought some filters online somewhere. While there was a bit of a mixup in the order I think she ended up happy so maybe she might make a recommendation. I'll PM her to check into this thread and see what she might recommend. F8 is right though, you should not have to spend a fortune on a reasonable quality filter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iguanasan View Post
    Bambi recently bought some filters online somewhere. While there was a bit of a mixup in the order I think she ended up happy so maybe she might make a recommendation. I'll PM her to check into this thread and see what she might recommend. F8 is right though, you should not have to spend a fortune on a reasonable quality filter.
    Iggy's right, I did. I had a gift card from Amazon last christmas and I used them to buy these filters (except for a 52mm camera). Amazon.com: Zeikos ZE-FLK58 58mm Multi-Coated 3 Piece Filter Kit (UV-CPL-FLD): Camera & Photo

    there is a whole customer service story to go with this but I won't bore you with it except to say that I was quite satisfied with the outcome. I have used the UV and the Polarizer filter and have not noticed any distortions. The filters say that they are multi-coated and, given the price, are probably not great, but for my uses so far they work well and the cost was great.
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    If you want to save some cash you could by a larger polarizing filter for the largest lens you own, then buy step down rings for your other lenses.

    I did a lot of that back in my student days.
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    Thank you all for your input. This gives me something I badly needed - a starting point. All I have to do now is find time to buy something. It's been busy.

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