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Thread: Polarizers Passe?

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    Polarizers Passe?

    It's kind of odd. I'm a fan of the deeply saturated colors that polarizers can bring (I don't use them to reduce reflections so much except for making water more translucent). But in shooting the M8 and M9, especially with good lenses - the colors are already so nicely saturated that I find a polarizer relatively superfluous.

    Then there's the variety of solutions, none of which are really "ideal." Perhaps for local use where you plan to shoot with it a lot... Less so for more "stop and go" shooting while on vacation or traveling, for example.

    Consider some of the following shots - none of which used a polarizer. Now granted, the 28 Cron shots will exhibit some of the sky darkening effect simply because it's a wide angle (which increase the effect). But even the second shot, from the 50 Lux exhibits this (though granted, to a lesser degree).

    M9, ISO 160, Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH, 1/1500s @ f/5.6:


    M9, ISO 160, Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH, 1/1500s @ f/8:

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    Meant to add; I had the Leica Universal Polarizer with me but didn't break it out once. It really wasn't practical. In fact, I hardly changed lenses. This seems to be a pattern as I've brought the pol with me on various excursions and never seem to use it. Much like the flash... I totally see why both tend to show up (together even) in the B&S forum regularly. They're probably the same two, passing from one person to the next.

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    Here are two shots using a polarizer, for comparison.

    M8, ISO 160, Zeiss Biogon 2,8/25 ZM, 1/1000s @ f/5.6:


    Canon 1D Mark IIn, ISO 100, EF 24mm f/1.4 Mark II USM, 1/640s @ f/4:

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    I find polarizers usually awkward since often they make the shot so unnatural looking when used at full strength. On very-wides they are just a mistake LOL
    but, on partial settings they can be useful. I use them more in-studio than outdoors.
    -bob

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    They work really well on fall colours too, as long as you are not shooting a wide with lots of sky. The polarizer eliminates the reflections of the shiny surface of the leaves, allowing the true colors to show. The polarizer also works really well on reds, like a red barn.

    Here is an example, shot on slide film. Without the polarizer, the end of the barn was a faded red because of the angle of the sun hitting it. The Polarizer also helped with the leaves on the trees.

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    Do you just use CP or also regular polarizers?

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I find polarizers usually awkward since often they make the shot so unnatural looking when used at full strength. On very-wides they are just a mistake LOL
    but, on partial settings they can be useful. I use them more in-studio than outdoors.
    -bob
    Indeed, at full strength the results can border on obscene. Using them with wides and especially ultra-wides generally isn't a good idea if there's any even colored (e.g. sky) areas - as they certainly won't appear even afterwards. Here's an example of a polarizer on overload. Notice the patterns in the windows!


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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    They work really well on fall colours too, as long as you are not shooting a wide with lots of sky. The polarizer eliminates the reflections of the shiny surface of the leaves, allowing the true colors to show. The polarizer also works really well on reds, like a red barn.

    Here is an example, shot on slide film. Without the polarizer, the end of the barn was a faded red because of the angle of the sun hitting it. The Polarizer also helped with the leaves on the trees.
    Absolutely. I'm not saying they're useless, and I still enjoy using them... Most especially for saturation and glare. If you have polarized sunglasses, you can see the effect quite readily! I guess it's just a testament to the Leica CCD sensor and lenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by camping View Post
    Do you just use CP or also regular polarizers?
    Well, they're all "regular" in a sense. They come in circular or linear. With SLRs you generally need to use circular. With RFs you can get by with linear.

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    Here's another example. No polarizer. Oddly enough, also the 28 Cron. I think to some degree, post processing (including DNG import settings) and slight contrast bump add to the effect:

    M9, ISO 160, Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH, 1/750s @ f/8:

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    I use polarizers with the Canon 1Ds3 because WYSIWYG is easier. With Leica M8 / M9 it was a bit of a crap-shoot with Leica Universal Polarizer. The M9 files are already so blue to start with, that adding a polarizer usually didn't work well (for me). And as Bob alluded to, using polarizers with wide angle lenses is nightmare when it comes to post processing and evening out results across the frame. So for wide lenses I prefer grads (which I do not use with the Leica M9). I think polarizers will see a revival on the Leica M 240 because Live View will make life easier.

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    Indeed, at full strength the results can border on obscene. Using them with wides and especially ultra-wides generally isn't a good idea if there's any even colored (e.g. sky) areas - as they certainly won't appear even afterwards. Here's an example of a polarizer on overload. Notice the patterns in the windows!

    That is the laminate film between the glass showing up. You can also get this with Polaroids and car windows, especially rear widows, which I assume is either from the defrost wires or the laminate in the safety glass is not as well done as a front window.

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Black View Post
    I use polarizers with the Canon 1Ds3 because WYSIWYG is easier. With Leica M8 / M9 it was a bit of a crap-shoot with Leica Universal Polarizer. The M9 files are already so blue to start with, that adding a polarizer usually didn't work well (for me). And as Bob alluded to, using polarizers with wide angle lenses is nightmare when it comes to post processing and evening out results across the frame. So for wide lenses I prefer grads (which I do not use with the Leica M9). I think polarizers will see a revival on the Leica M 240 because Live View will make life easier.
    Yeah, I agree. Using them on an RF is still hokey at best, using the best - the Leica Uni Pol. I have the same rig for the Mamiya 7II and it's the same deal. Another thing I don't like is that it has a fixed hood... Which isn't so great because it's an "averaged" (and relatively shallow) depth. Using them on wide angles are never a good idea and usually not needed if you're just after darker skies anyway. I would expect the M to see them used more, as well as grads. Yup.

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    That is the laminate film between the glass showing up. You can also get this with Polaroids and car windows, especially rear widows, which I assume is either from the defrost wires or the laminate in the safety glass is not as well done as a front window.
    That's pretty much what I figured too - as you're right... You can see it in car windows with polarized glasses also. Mostly rears, yup! It can even take on a rainbow appearance if it's tinted... Rather trippy!

    Try using a (better) P&S with polarized glasses... The LCD screen turns black. Talk about annoying.

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    Re: Polarizers Passe?

    I used a circular polarizer on my '59 Summilux 50 for some snow shots and it did the business, I reckon:


    Crabapples, December 20, 2012 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr


    Sycamore Tree, December 20, 2012 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr


    Birdhouse, December 20, 2012 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr


    Snow Flag, December 20, 2012 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr

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