For me, a Canon polarizing filter is one of the 3 camera lens filters I always carry with me when shooting outdoor photos. Lens polarizers are an underutilized photography accessory that you should know about.
There are pluses and minuses of using a polarizing filter on your Canon lens that this post will examine and we'll determine if polarizers are worth it for you and your shooting style.
There are several good reasons to use a polarizing filter on your Canon lens. Most of the reasons are ground in the notion that you want to make your photos look better. Additionally, although it's not the primary reason, you can use one of these filters to protect the front surface of your camera lens.
The three primary reasons to use a polarizing filter on your lens are to improve contrast and details, increase saturation, and reduce reflections. All 3 of the effects will improve the overall appeal of your photographs.
Move your cursor on and off the photo below to see the dramatic difference between using and not using the polarizer. When your cursor is over the photo you're seeing the image taken with using a polarizer. When it's off no polarizer was used.
Another less utilized goal is to be able to intentionally use a slower shutter speed. Polarizers can reduce the amount of light getting through to your sensor by as much as 4 times (2 f/stops). That enables you to use a shutter speed 4 times as long and still get the proper exposure.
That can add some intentional motion blur, which can be desirable in certain situations like waterfall photography and other creative types of Long Exposure Photography.
The most common time to use a polarizing filter is when you're shooting landscapes.
You don't need to use a polarizing filter for photographing your kids soccer game, your nephew's birthday party, or the birds eating at your birdfeeder. Polarizers should not be used for generalized photography. Instead only use one of these filters when there is a specific reason to.
You can cut down on glare when you are photographing an object through glass or under water, for instance, when using a CPL.
Polarizing filters should not be used when you are taking photographs where the refection is an important part of the composition. See the reflection image below.
You've already invested in a camera and a lens. Do you need to shell out more of your money for an add-on like a filter?
Canon polarizing filters are worth getting. They are reasonably priced in a range from $11 for cheap ones to $229 for the drop-in filters for super-telephotos lenses. Polarizing filters will reduce glare, eliminate reflections, improve saturation and contrast and make your photos more attractive.
Circular polarizing lens filter offer you another great avenue of creativity to explore. See the post on additional worthwhile lens accessories. Now, let's look at the specific pros and cons of investing in a polarizer for your Canon lenses.
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Look at this split image, side-by-side comparison, of the effect on the puddle's reflection on this path. The polarizing filter eliminated the skies reflection in the water and revealed the pavemnt below.
Lens filters are sized by millimeter, designated by "mm." For most normal DSLR and mirrorless camera lenses, filters range in size from 37mm to 95mm. Here's the link to the complete post on all kinds of Canon lens filters, along with a handy Canon lens filter compatibility chart.
Here are few tips on getting the most out of your polarizer that I've learned over the years.
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