Photography Tips, Tricks and Lessons | Polarization

Polarization - Applied and Not Applied

Polarization – Applied and Not Applied

With Polarizer

With Polarizer

Without Polarizer

Without Polarizer

Do you remember taking those “can you tell the difference” cola challenges in your local supermarket during the 90s? Well, I do, and I could always tell the difference between Coke vs. Pepsi. But to avoid getting all political on which I think tastes better, I’ll simply state they are different, and each has their merits under certain conditions. Rum and Pepsi? Forever young and Coke?

In much the same way, we can say the same for polarized lens filters: can you tell the difference between a picture taken with a polarizer and one without? Well, after battle testing my brand new 77mm Hoya HD Circular Polarizer Filter earlier tonight, I can state with unequivocal confidence that you can if you know what to look for. So, to help visualize the situation, check out these near identical photos taken at Hogsback Falls in Ottawa, Ontario. In one photo you’ll notice a much greater degree of glare and reflection off the rocks, while in the other glare and reflection is filtered out to provide a richer degree of saturation. Now, in all fairness to reality, I exaggerated this situation by fully leveraging the physics of polarization by taking both these photos at a 90 degree angle to a setting sun on the left of me. So, which do you prefer? Does one seem more ‘natural’ to you?

According to Hoya, the greatest benefit behind their newest HD polariser technology is that it boasts a higher transparency factor over their earlier DMC technology, while using a higher durability UV absorbing film. In addition, the new HDs are said to include an 8-layer anti-reflective multi-coating film that claims to be more water & oil repellent, as well as more scratch & stain resistant. Well, that’s all very nice marketing, but the question that matters most for me: can you tell the difference and hold a preference?

File Speed: ISO 100
Aperture: ƒ/7.1 (with polarizer) and ƒ/8.1 (without the polarizer)
Focal length: 238 mm
Shutter Speed: 1/5th of a second
Filter: Hoya HD Circular Polarizer, 77mm

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