Circular polarizing filter (CPL)

glorious CPL sky

You want to learn photography faster? –> tag along with pros &, amateur who share the common interest as you. I did and i think it worked. Some of my buddy really helpful on giving me idea, pointer on this subject.

But if you notice it, as you tag along with this wonderful people, they tend to recommend thing to buy or so called essential photography gear/equipment. Wireless remote – lah, 50mm f1.8 -lah, tripod -lah, CPL -lah, wideangle lens -lah, telephoto lens…. Eager newbie, most of us will buy without even thinking “am i going to use it?” At this learning stage many buy what ‘most people’ want, no what they really need.

One of the favorite (almost 8 out of 10 people recommended) is CPL, Circular polarizing filter, C-PL
OK do you really need it?

Recommendations : This is my personal opinion (newbie photographer) so pleaseee take it lightly
Go and buy it, buy the slimmest. it’s a must have for landscape shot.

me? after almost 10 month into photography, i finally decided to buy a good grade (Pro-1D) second hand hoya circular polarizer.RM300+ for new one is way too expensive for me. Off course before i decide to buy it, i do a lot of research of this called magic filter. In this post, ill explain a bit technical part of it. Mind you this is not new tech/stuff like ‘protein synthesis in cytoplasm’ so there’s a lot of other site that might explain the same thing. I will explain about CPL based on my understanding, own research that might benefit others.

There are two types of polarizing filter : linear and circular. Most DSLR cameras need circular polarizers.Non-DSLR in general do not use beamsplitters and can use both (linear or circular). It improve outdoor (or even indoor scene) by improving contrast, saturation by eliminating reflection on glass/non metal object


 pic of my uv filter, taken with no CPL attachedscreenshot of reflection when no CPL attached.


 pics uv filter, taken with CPL (max effect)picture taken with CPL attached, effect max 


 to get the best effect on eliminating reflect as shown in picture above, the following rules must be followed:-

the incoming light must have an incident angle of 30 degree, and the camera is aimed at the subject at an angle of 30 degree from the other side (see image)CPL filter rules


in order to get clear blue sky, to get the best result the following rules need to be followed
90 degree counterclockwise from the sun. so, take sky picture while your right side is straight facing sun. (see image)CPL rules for clear sky

 glorious sky

 Other tips and tricks related to polarizer.

  • when i met with my 2nd hand CPL seller and about to stack the CPL on top of my UV filter to test it, he advise me not to do so. vignetting will occur when shooting at 24mm and below (depends on lens)
  • Half press the shutter (go get the metering) then only start to turn the polarizer for effect. (or use manual mode) polarizers are darker and reduce two-stops, the TTL metering system will sense this change and adjust aperture and shutter speed. if you compose your picture and turn the dial before pressing the shutter, your picture will washed out and the saturation will disappear.
  • it reduce two-stop, as a result, shutter speed will be slower. careful when taking hi-speed moving object.
  • when in min effect, it also function as ND graduated (ND2 i think) filter. yaay.. now i can take flowing waterfall in the afternoon (well not that beautiful flow (compared to ND8).. but way better than freezing waterfall)

kenko and hoya share the same parent company. B+W also make good filter. avoid keep filter. cokin and lee filters is for pro i think. buy the best you can afford. the price vary from 52mm (cheapest) to 77mm (expensive)

need to know more? this site offer a lot of information.

5 thought on “Circular polarizing filter (CPL)”

  1. dollah

    tahniah nampaknya ada peningkatan…
    sorry saya tan nak komen aper-aper
    saya ne minat juga foto tapi tak berapa pandai nak guna sangat…

    tak kenal maka tak cinta lah..
    i tak tahu pasal filter,pasan lans

    main hentam ajer…i guna D100-lama punya body
    dan sb-800 flas…


  2. fadzlizuka Post author

    thanks for visiting dollah. i think most of us is the same – that also applied to me. we tried and ‘hentam’ without having proper knowledge. driven by passion chewahh… but that the most wonderful thing which i think we learn it the hard way – it will stay in our mind forever and faster.

    D100.. 🙂 it’s a nice body. and you have the best nikon speedlight. i think you’re equipped and ready to go.

  3. Nur

    hi fazli,
    i guna d70 (used) and the guy gave me a kenko cpl. i tried it on masa kat kuantan. i nak tanya, kalau ambil gambar masa matahari tegak kat kepala (12.00 cam tu la), how do i get the min/max effect? thanks

  4. Kevin

    Informative post. Yuo mentioned avoid KeeP filters. I just bought one yesterday and since I have no basis of comparison I can’t tell whether it is acceptable or not. So, why avoid KeeP? Thanks.

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