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Polarizing filters questions...

SeamaidenSeamaiden Registered Users Posts: 339 Major grins
edited March 30, 2004 in Accessories
Should I remain married to the Olympus line, or is it "safe" to test the waters of other manufacturers? Also, I have been doing some reading, and it seems that there exist polarizers that are linear and circular (I love the qualities polarizing light lends to photos, if I can figure out how to scan the slides, I'll post some pix my father took when I was a teen - photomicrographical shots of crystals grown on glass slides), and while I've always insisted on polarized lenses for my sunglasses, and know how to test for polarization in such lenses, I'm completely new to the concept of this circular polarization. Therefore, I'm not clear on the pros and cons of each. Price differences? Overall quality differences?

I have found during my exploits searching my father's old darkroom some filters and lenses that fit my 55mm adapter. They were purchased and used for 35mm SLR use.
  • Two neutral density filters, both Tiffens, one ND 0.3, one 0.6.
  • Also have a Vivitar skylight filter (1A), but when I tilt it at certain angles it appears that there are flaws in the coating, right on one edge. Trash?
  • One Hoya HMC UV(0) filter, fits my adapter perfectly, appears to be in good condition.
  • A STARSIX filter (plan on playing a lot with that), again, Hoya.
  • Add to the list of what appears to be useful filters something that's marked "Hoya FL-W", what be this beast?
  • One Vivitar Macro adapter, +10 (useful with a digicam with its own macro mode?).
  • One soft focus filter that requires two retaining rings, as it's loose (just a metal frame around it). I may play with this, as it seems lots of you folks believe that I can't do many things with GIMP that can be done with Photoshop, so I'd like to play with this stuff. This metal band says on the soft focus filter says "HARRISON DIFFUSION D-3 SIZE #4 USA".
When I finish my kernel compilation I'll take some shots of the various filters and lenses, as there are many colored filters that I assume are for particular films, as they're marked with Kelvin ratings - yellow, red, orange, blue, green, amber, violet, sepia, and pinkish.

Pretty neat stuff, and I also found Dad's Yashica MAT-124 TLR camera, in pristine condition, with two sets of lenses, one telephoto, and one macro set (two lenses in each set). I used that thing when I was in 8th grade on my trip to Washington D.C., and took some of THE best pictures in my life with it. I think that's because I was forced to view them in a different manner, so my brain interpreted everything differently.. :dunno

In any event, I'm most interested in the polarizing filter information so I can make a decision when the time comes that I can make the purchase.
Youth and Enthusiasm
Are No Match For
Age and Treachery

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    wxwaxwxwax Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited March 27, 2004
    Seamaiden wrote:
    Add to the list of what appears to be useful filters something that's marked "Hoya FL-W", what be this beast?

    http://cameras.reviewindex.com/reviews/B0000AI1JC.html


    A rather specialized filter.

    Used to correct the greenish tone that appears when daylight type films are used under fluorescent lighting. FL-W is for use with warm white or white type fluorescent lamps.

    The shots I've seen with a polarizer provide nice contrast in sunny conditions.
    Without a polarizer, blue skies appear a tepid, light blue on film; with a polarizer filter, they come out in a rich, deep color. The filter works by cutting out reflected glare and it's also useful for water (lakes, ponds), window glass, and tree leaves.

    Source with more info.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
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    pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,700 moderator
    edited March 27, 2004
    Seamaiden wrote:
    Should I remain married to the Olympus line, or is it "safe" to test the waters of other manufacturers? Also, I have been doing some reading, and it seems that there exist polarizers that are linear and circular (I love the qualities polarizing light lends to photos, if I can figure out how to scan the slides, I'll post some pix my father took when I was a teen - photomicrographical shots of crystals grown on glass slides), and while I've always insisted on polarized lenses for my sunglasses, and know how to test for polarization in such lenses, I'm completely new to the concept of this circular polarization. Therefore, I'm not clear on the pros and cons of each. Price differences? Overall quality differences?

    I have found during my exploits searching my father's old darkroom some filters and lenses that fit my 55mm adapter. They were purchased and used for 35mm SLR use.
    • Two neutral density filters, both Tiffens, one ND 0.3, one 0.6.
    • Also have a Vivitar skylight filter (1A), but when I tilt it at certain angles it appears that there are flaws in the coating, right on one edge. Trash?
    • One Hoya HMC UV(0) filter, fits my adapter perfectly, appears to be in good condition.
    • A STARSIX filter (plan on playing a lot with that), again, Hoya.
    • Add to the list of what appears to be useful filters something that's marked "Hoya FL-W", what be this beast?
    • One Vivitar Macro adapter, +10 (useful with a digicam with its own macro mode?).
    • One soft focus filter that requires two retaining rings, as it's loose (just a metal frame around it). I may play with this, as it seems lots of you folks believe that I can't do many things with GIMP that can be done with Photoshop, so I'd like to play with this stuff. This metal band says on the soft focus filter says "HARRISON DIFFUSION D-3 SIZE #4 USA".
    When I finish my kernel compilation I'll take some shots of the various filters and lenses, as there are many colored filters that I assume are for particular films, as they're marked with Kelvin ratings - yellow, red, orange, blue, green, amber, violet, sepia, and pinkish.

    Pretty neat stuff, and I also found Dad's Yashica MAT-124 TLR camera, in pristine condition, with two sets of lenses, one telephoto, and one macro set (two lenses in each set). I used that thing when I was in 8th grade on my trip to Washington D.C., and took some of THE best pictures in my life with it. I think that's because I was forced to view them in a different manner, so my brain interpreted everything differently.. ne_nau.gif

    In any event, I'm most interested in the polarizing filter information so I can make a decision when the time comes that I can make the purchase.
    Linear polarizers were standard for manual cameras - but for cameras that meter and autofocus through the cameras lens, it is better to use circular ( NOT LINEAR) polarizers. Most of the filters to balance light color - 81a,FL-W, etc are not really needed now since color balancing is a special advantage of most digital cameras.

    Olympus makes lovely cameras, but so do several other manufacturers - do your home work and get the camera you want regardless who makes it. I do happen to think that Nikon, Canon, Minolta,and Olympus all are very good. Sony has some nice ones too, but I tend to favor cameras built by camera makers rather than computer or home electronic makers - Just my personal prejudice.....

    I have corrrected this post to clarify that newer cameras need CIRCULAR polarizers - not linear polarizers which will frequently interfere with autofocus mechanisms.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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    lynnmalynnma Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 5,208 Major grins
    edited March 28, 2004
    Whilst we are on the subject of filters.. can you suggest a filter for my Digital Rebel for softening/making pretty/slightly glamourous/ for these partly nude ladies I'm going to have to photograph in outside light? I have no clue where to start. I was just going to take them and then filter them in PS and hopefully end up with soft black and white. Any suggestions would be appreciated... not to complicated tho, old brain.

    Thanks
    Lynnne_nau.gif
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    pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,700 moderator
    edited March 28, 2004
    lynnma wrote:
    Whilst we are on the subject of filters.. can you suggest a filter for my Digital Rebel for softening/making pretty/slightly glamourous/ for these partly nude ladies I'm going to have to photograph in outside light? I have no clue where to start. I was just going to take them and then filter them in PS and hopefully end up with soft black and white. Any suggestions would be appreciated... not to complicated tho, old brain.

    Thanks
    Lynnne_nau.gif
    Lynn - there are several filters in Photoshop - Gaussian blur of course, but also inner glow and others, but before you go down that route try a few shots with your Rebel with a piece of ladies fine hose stretched over the lens hood held on with a rubber band around the lens hood - this may be too blurred - if so burn a hole approx 12 mm in diameter in the hose and try again - you may have to experiment a little to find the right size for the effect you want. Screen wire with a hole in it also gives a nice diffused effect.

    And remember - soft north light from a large window - just like the great master painters. Big broad soft light sources....Put your strobe feet behind a sheet.

    Another alternative is to spread a little petroleum jelly( boy is this going to get comments) over a UV filter and shoot through it - don't overdo the jelly - just a little around the peripheral portion of the filter - make sure you don't get it on your lens surface tho.... These two techniques are as old as the hills and dirt cheap but quite effective. ALso shoot some very sharp ones sans filters to play with in PS also.
    There are other filters available like star filters and high light filters also - Have funlickout.gif Remember to show us your pictures when you are finished.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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    lynnmalynnma Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 5,208 Major grins
    edited March 28, 2004
    pathfinder wrote:
    Lynn - there are several filters in Photoshop - Gaussian blur of course, but also inner glow and others, but before you go down that route try a few shots with your Rebel with a piece of ladies fine hose stretched over the lens hood held on with a rubber band around the lens hood - this may be too blurred - if so burn a hole approx 12 mm in diameter in the hose and try again - you may have to experiment a little to find the right size for the effect you want. Screen wire with a hole in it also gives a nice diffused effect.

    And remember - soft north light from a large window - just like the great master painters. Big broad soft light sources....Put your strobe feet behind a sheet.

    Another alternative is to spread a little petroleum jelly( boy is this going to get comments) over a UV filter and shoot through it - don't overdo the jelly - just a little around the peripheral portion of the filter - make sure you don't get it on your lens surface tho.... These two techniques are as old as the hills and dirt cheap but quite effective. ALso shoot some very sharp ones sans filters to play with in PS also.
    There are other filters available like star filters and high light filters also - Have funlickout.gif Remember to show us your pictures when you are finished.
    Thanks Pathfinder,
    I have minimal equipment.. basically my camera, no strobe, home made reflectors and I'm going to be shooting this outside, hopefully in lovely light. I'll try these tips for sure, it'll be fun. What color hose had you in mind? I use all the filter in ps but I wondered if buying one (or two or three) would work miricles.. I have a uv filter I'll try the jelly. I have star filter in my "Eye Candy" software but I'm darned if I can make it do what I want. I did'nt think of inner glow for portraits.. (having never done one). Thanks again, can't wait to experiment.
    Lynnclap.gif
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    wxwaxwxwax Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited March 28, 2004
    Now I gotta go find a people shot and try the inner glow. Hopefully the subject isn't too cold-hearted to have one.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
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    SeamaidenSeamaiden Registered Users Posts: 339 Major grins
    edited March 28, 2004
    Ok, I'm a little confused by path's post.
    Olympus makes lovely cameras, but so do several othe manufacturers - do your home work and get the camera you want regardless who makes it. I do happen to think that Nikon, Canon, Minolta,and Olympus all are very good. Sony has some nce ones too, but I tend to favor cameras built by camera makers rather than computer or home electronic makers - Just my personal prejudice.....
    I already have a camera, the Oly C-740, with an adapter so I can use 55mm filters/lenses. (I spent about three months researching cameras before I finally made my decision, and there are only a very few features I currently "long for" with mine - mostly having to do with the lack of a hotshoe, which I knew about going into this.)
    While I admit to the urge to go out and buy more cameras, I cannot justify it, honestly. So.. I'm a bit confused, as I didn't think I needed to go out and buy another camera to use a new lens... do I??

    I understand exactly what a polarizing filter/lens does, and why, my questions are particular to the differences between circular and linear polarizers. From what I understand, both from your link, wax, and from your explanation, path, it seems that if I wish to use the polarizer while also using any of my autofocus/autoexposure settings, I really should stick with a circular polarizer, yes? (Of course, this type of polarizer precludes one of my favorite little parlor tricks of taking two polarized lenses, and by turning them such that the polarization goes from parallel to perpendicular blocking view completely. Darn.) As I understand this link, there is no appreciable difference in photo quality between each type. If this is wrong, I'd like correction on this, please. Again, I'm confused, are you saying, Path, that I need a whole new camera? I honestly didn't think this was the case. headscratch.gif


    Lynma, I have this filter of my father's, I believe he purchased it when he was experimenting with 'boudoir' photography. He, too, mentioned the hosiery trick (I LOVE old pantyhose, we really haven't exhausted all their possible uses in this world!), as well as the Vaseline, which we all agreed is an icky thing to do to a nice lens, but he showed me and it really does work!
    • One soft focus filter that requires two retaining rings, as it's loose (just a metal frame around it). I may play with this, as it seems lots of you folks believe that I can't do many things with GIMP that can be done with Photoshop, so I'd like to play with this stuff. This metal band says on the soft focus filter says "HARRISON DIFFUSION D-3 SIZE #4 USA".
    I believe that this designation of "D-3" indications a diffusion factor, and the #4 means that it's whatever their #4 size is (fits perfectly into these two retaining rings, though). It lends a very slight softness, hardly noticeable to my eye (20/13 vision), but definitely there. This has shown to my eye that you can still make out very good detail, but a softness to the skin and hair is demonstrated, as well as lending a kind of 'radiance' to any areas where light is hitting directly (shine of hair, so on).

    Finally, path, as I understand you (and had assumed because of the depth of color of many of these filters), these colored filters are for film work only, possibly even b&w, yes?
    Youth and Enthusiasm
    Are No Match For
    Age and Treachery
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    pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,700 moderator
    edited March 28, 2004
    Seamaiden wrote:
    Ok, I'm a little confused by path's post.


    I already have a camera, the Oly C-740, with an adapter so I can use 55mm filters/lenses. (I spent about three months researching cameras before I finally made my decision, and there are only a very few features I currently "long for" with mine - mostly having to do with the lack of a hotshoe, which I knew about going into this.)
    While I admit to the urge to go out and buy more cameras, I cannot justify it, honestly. So.. I'm a bit confused, as I didn't think I needed to go out and buy another camera to use a new lens... do I??

    I understand exactly what a polarizing filter/lens does, and why, my questions are particular to the differences between circular and linear polarizers. From what I understand, both from your link, wax, and from your explanation, path, it seems that if I wish to use the polarizer while also using any of my autofocus/autoexposure settings, I really should stick with a circular polarizer, yes? (Of course, this type of polarizer precludes one of my favorite little parlor tricks of taking two polarized lenses, and by turning them such that the polarization goes from parallel to perpendicular blocking view completely. Darn.) As I understand this link, there is no appreciable difference in photo quality between each type. If this is wrong, I'd like correction on this, please. Again, I'm confused, are you saying, Path, that I need a whole new camera? I honestly didn't think this was the case. headscratch.gif


    Lynma, I have this filter of my father's, I believe he purchased it when he was experimenting with 'boudoir' photography. He, too, mentioned the hosiery trick (I LOVE old pantyhose, we really haven't exhausted all their possible uses in this world!), as well as the Vaseline, which we all agreed is an icky thing to do to a nice lens, but he showed me and it really does work!
    [/list]I believe that this designation of "D-3" indications a diffusion factor, and the #4 means that it's whatever their #4 size is (fits perfectly into these two retaining rings, though). It lends a very slight softness, hardly noticeable to my eye (20/13 vision), but definitely there. This has shown to my eye that you can still make out very good detail, but a softness to the skin and hair is demonstrated, as well as lending a kind of 'radiance' to any areas where light is hitting directly (shine of hair, so on).

    Finally, path, as I understand you (and had assumed because of the depth of color of many of these filters), these colored filters are for film work only, possibly even b&w, yes?
    You absolutely do NOT need a new camera - I was just responding to yoru ruminations about desiring another new one. Maybe I was confused. The circular polarizer is required for most newer cameras that have light meters and autofocus sensors that work through the taking lens - linear polarizers seem to confuse those functions in some way. Needless to say - circular polarizers seem to be more expensive. If your polarizinf filters are older than 10 years they almost certainly are linear and not circular.
    Deeply colored filters - red, yellow, orange, green etc are usually used for b&W film work - Only underr very special circumstances would you use one of these with color images - they would create a very strong color cast.

    Sorry if I confused you....
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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    pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,700 moderator
    edited March 28, 2004
    lynnma wrote:
    Thanks Pathfinder,
    I have minimal equipment.. basically my camera, no strobe, home made reflectors and I'm going to be shooting this outside, hopefully in lovely light. I'll try these tips for sure, it'll be fun. What color hose had you in mind? I use all the filter in ps but I wondered if buying one (or two or three) would work miricles.. I have a uv filter I'll try the jelly. I have star filter in my "Eye Candy" software but I'm darned if I can make it do what I want. I did'nt think of inner glow for portraits.. (having never done one). Thanks again, can't wait to experiment.
    Lynnclap.gif
    I don't think hose color matters very much - probably would avoid white and stick with finer beige - the size of the netting is what creates the blurry image quality - usually you will need a hole in the center also to keep the image sharp enough. It is kind of like shooting pictures of someone on the other side of screened window - that kind of soft light effect - like this 3137535-M.jpg
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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    wxwaxwxwax Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited March 29, 2004
    Lynn, I think you have Photochop, right?

    Here's a link that has a workflow for making headshots into attractive portraits.

    BTW, I'm looking at another forum where they have a thread with favorite links. That looks like a pretty darn good idea, to me.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
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    pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,700 moderator
    edited March 29, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    Lynn, I think you have Photochop, right?

    Here's a link that has a workflow for making headshots into attractive portraits.

    BTW, I'm looking at another forum where they have a thread with favorite links. That looks like a pretty darn good idea, to me.
    Laughing.gifMany of the biker sites have had a link page for years......
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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    wxwaxwxwax Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited March 29, 2004
    I'm a linking fool today... Seamaiden, you wanna know more about polarizing filters, check out this story in Luminous Landscape. It's a good discussion of how to use the filter, what to watch out for, and a wee bit about circular versus linear.


    A polarizing filter is the most productive accessory that a photographer can have in his kit, second only to a decent tripod and head. Don't leave home without one.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
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    lynnmalynnma Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 5,208 Major grins
    edited March 30, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    Lynn, I think you have Photochop, right?

    Here's a link that has a workflow for making headshots into attractive portraits.

    BTW, I'm looking at another forum where they have a thread with favorite links. That looks like a pretty darn good idea, to me.
    Thanks sid, I just found this... where have I been for the last couple of days.. I missed it.
    I'm printing it out AND putting in favs... I seem to lose a lot of stuff lately.:D
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    SeamaidenSeamaiden Registered Users Posts: 339 Major grins
    edited March 30, 2004
    Wow, thank you wax! I need to migrate all my bookmarks, and need to make sure this doesn't get lost.

    I think that I'm safe in saying that, for my camera, a good polarized lens/filter is as important as it is for me when driving, fishing, or doing just about anything outdoors on a bright, sunny day.
    Youth and Enthusiasm
    Are No Match For
    Age and Treachery
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