Widest Angle with a Polarizer?
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Old 08-25-2014   #1
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Default Widest Angle with a Polarizer?

Hello,

Can someone please remind me what the widest acceptable (full-frame equivalent) angle of view would be when using a polarizing filter?

thank you,

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Old 08-25-2014   #2
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Default Re: Widest Angle with a Polarizer?

It depends on the equipment and what you mean by "acceptable".

After reading that you couldn't put a polarizing filter on a Canon 10-22mm lens because it would CERTAINLY cause vignetting, especially at 10mm, EVEN IF you used one of the "thin" polarizing filters to try to reduce it, I decided to give it a try, since I had all I needed for the test, EXCEPT the "thin" polarizing filter.

I used a Canon 10-22mm EF-S, a Canon 7D to put it on, and a B+W 77mm Polarizer Pro, regular, NON-Slim version, with threads on the front for stacking more filters or attaching a lens cap.

Results: No vignetting at any focal length. Myth busted.

However, if you're talking about how effectively a polarizer can "polarize" say, a sky, on a wide lens, that's a very different question, and a very different answer.

Because of the angle to the sun that one must maintain to use a polarizer most effectively (90 being optimal, with the optimum effect visible in a band of 15 to 30), ultra-wide lenses simply provide WAY too much coverage of the sky for the polarizer to work properly at attenuating the scattered light of the whole thing, beyond the 15 to 30.

A 50mm lens on a full-frame is said to have about a 46 field of view, but on a crop frame, from 30 to 37, depending on the crop size. That should give you some idea of what you can probably expect.
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Old 08-25-2014   #3
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Default Re: Widest Angle with a Polarizer?

To add to what Buckster has written:
In my experience with full frame camera; uneven polarization of the sky across the frame is the danger.
Results are hardly apparent with a 50mm lens; become noticeable but acceptable with a 35mm and are really objectionable with a 28mm.
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Old 08-25-2014   #4
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Default Re: Widest Angle with a Polarizer?

I notice it if I go below 50 mm too. It is uneven so it is better to use a Split ND if you are shooting wide angle.
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Old 08-26-2014   #5
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Default Re: Widest Angle with a Polarizer?

One should note that the degree of polarization will vary depending on the angle of the sun. If that angle differs greatly from 90 degrees you will see variation across the scene with 50mm or even 85mm lens.

Split ND filter is fine for some purposes, but it will not polarize. Polarizing filters will attenuate the light to some degree (around 2 stops) but cannot substitute for ND filters in most cases.
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Old 09-03-2014   #6
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Default Re: Widest Angle with a Polarizer?

Thank you all for the responses.

As was alluded to, this is not a simple answer. One cannot simply say, for example, that anything wider than 50mm could be a problem. On a recent trip to Hawai'i, I shot some images at 35mm, and the amount of polarization was pretty consistent across the image. I also shot at 70mm, and there was a noticeable difference in color tone from one side of the image to the other. It really does depend on the angle of the camera to the sun AND the angle of the sun on its own axis. It's a 3-dimensional consideration, not just a 2-D one.

Thanks again,


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