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Thread: Which Polariser for my Lee filter system?

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    Which Polariser for my Lee filter system?

    Hi peeps.

    Here's a little poser for all you photgraphic gurus out there:

    I'm intending to get a 105mm diameter circular polariser to compliment my soon-to-arrive (hopefully) burgeoning Lee 100mm filter sytem. Staring with foundation kit; 77mm w/a adapter ring; soft edge 3-filter ND grad set and probably a 67mm w/a adapter. With more to be added when funds allow - specifically ND's

    Having done a bit of research on the web (and of the bank balance) I reckon I've narrowed down the field to:-

    Lee
    Heliopan
    B+W
    (and possibly Hitech - although I'm not entirely sure they make one)

    Which is best from a quality and a usability point of view?
    And, should I be considering the slim option in preference to multi-coated? Are both available in one filter?

    I know some of you (Colin ) are advocates of Singh-Ray, but they don't make one this big, and are prohibitively expensive for me at present (although the S-R vari-ND is hugely tempting !!!)


    My current lenses are a Sigma 10 -20 (I already know about uneven exposure on skies with a CPL when going very wide, BTW ) and a Nikkor 16 - 85.

    Cheers
    Bill

  2. #2

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    Hi Bill,

    Singh-Ray filters are quite specialised - for general filtering I use Heliopan (SH-PMC when available); B+W are "on par" to Heliopan in terms of quality (both use Shott glass).

    Hope this helps

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    Thanks, Colin.

    Very helpful.

    Are Heliopan availble in slim and multicoated, to your knowledge?

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    Quote Originally Posted by billygoatgruff View Post
    Thanks, Colin.

    Very helpful.

    Are Heliopan availble in slim and multicoated, to your knowledge?
    Their UV ones are - off memory my Heliopan CPs aren't SH-PMC and they aren't slim either, but they're a few years old and they may well have released new products. To be honest, I hardly ever use CP filters.

    Probably the best solution is to pop onto the B&H website (www.bhphotovideo.com) and see what they list (it's pretty comprehensive in terms of Heliopan) - if they list it you're in luck - if they don't you're probably out of luck, although you could always ask them.

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    That's good advice, thanks!.
    Although I'd be a bit nervous about ordering expensive glass from across the Pond!

    It appears to have worked for you, though?!

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    Quote Originally Posted by billygoatgruff View Post

    It appears to have worked for you, though?!
    Yes - very much so. I get things from B&H, Singh-Ray, and Amazon quite regularly - all are reputable dealers with robust "protection" mechanisms. My only more questionable experiences have been via eBay.

    Ironically, sourcing Heliopan stuff in NZ is often a nightmare - local dealers say that Heliopan is difficult to deal with - hopefully the likes of BH have more clout with them (I gave up trying to get a couple of items after several months of waiting with local dealers). At least with the likes of BH you know exactly where you stand.

    If you haven't done so already, check them out with www.resellerratings.com (and if you want a bit of a laugh, checkout "Sonic Cameras" while you're there - it appears that the only reason that their satisfaction rating isn't zero is because some dis-satisfied customers have clicked "satisfied" by mistake! - how they're allowed to stay in business is a mystery to me - but - if you look at their website you'll see how people get sucked in; it's a powerful lesson in doing due diligence before purchasing online).

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    Thankfully I'd never heard of Sonic Cameras until now - the reviews are fairly amazingly abysmal!

    I'm onto a good UK supplier (assuming my Lee kit arrives!!), who appear to have a good reputation and supply Heliopan.
    I haven't completely decided which to go for yet, although amongst the people who have so far been responding to this question (mostly elsewhere ) Heliopan are currently in first place with B+W running second. No one's recommended the Lee CPL yet - presumably price is a serious issue: and on that score, I think Heliopan still lead the race.

    It's a tough decision, but I'm in no real hurry - haven't even shot a proper frame with the new camera yet! Duh.....
    It's all too scary

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    To be honest, I hardly ever use CP filters.
    Colin, I have heard you saying this before, was wondering is it because they are not useful in general or it is not in your line of work or is it because you have filters that can function as polarizer filters.

    I am thinking of ordering a couple of polarizer filters and was wondering if there is a better alternative out there that I am not aware of.

    Thanks!

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    I'm a fairly devoted Heliopan fan - but accept B+W as being just as good. What tipped the scales as far as Heliopan goes for me was the fact that their UV filters were both slim and had front threads, whereas with the B+W ones you had to choose one or the other.

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    Quote Originally Posted by sedali View Post
    Colin, I have heard you saying this before, was wondering is it because they are not useful in general or it is not in your line of work or is it because you have filters that can function as polarizer filters.

    I am thinking of ordering a couple of polarizer filters and was wondering if there is a better alternative out there that I am not aware of.

    Thanks!
    I just don't find them useful - with WA lenses all they'll do is give you uneven sky; with general photography they'll give better colour saturation and less glare when shooting the likes of foliage in harsh / bright sun, but I only ever shoot quality stuff in the golden hours because even a CP filter won't do anything about harsh shadows.

    After our recent discussions here I put mine on for a shoot - still didn't notice anything earth shattering - and to add insult to injury, I had to pop it in 1/2 to get it off the lens when I'd finished ... so mine is back in my filter bag, gathering dust!

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I just don't find them useful - with WA lenses all they'll do is give you uneven sky; with general photography they'll give better colour saturation and less glare when shooting the likes of foliage in harsh / bright sun, but I only ever shoot quality stuff in the golden hours because even a CP filter won't do anything about harsh shadows.

    After our recent discussions here I put mine on for a shoot - still didn't notice anything earth shattering - and to add insult to injury, I had to pop it in 1/2 to get it off the lens when I'd finished ... so mine is back in my filter bag, gathering dust!
    Interesting!

    I've been using a Kood screw-on with my Olympus kit, and, like you say Colin, perhaps not earth shattering, but I have found it to be quite useful.
    It would also be fair to say that I've only had a kit lens which only gives 28mm effective focal length at its widest, so no real problems with uneven skies, but effective enough for me to have made significant use of it.
    The added bonus of a 2 stop (ish) attenuation has been very useful, and I, at least, have noticed quite a degree of colour enhancement.
    Not a filter for all occasions, but useful.

    Horses for courses, I suppose I'm certainly a convert.

    I am surprised, however, that you found it hard to unscrew - I thought the brass thread was supposed to be quite forgiving in this regard!

  12. #12

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    Hi Bill,

    In what situations are you using it, and at what time of day?

    Yes - they can make for an "emergency" 2-Stop ND - but in my case I've got ND filters coming out my ears (2 vari-ND, 4x 5-Stop ND, selection of GND (which can be slid all the way down to be an ND)

    I am surprised, however, that you found it hard to unscrew - I thought the brass thread was supposed to be quite forgiving in this regard!
    Me too - possibly due to the glass expanding slightly with temperature; once I prized it apart and removed the glass it came off easily.

  13. #13

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    Re: Which Polariser?

    Hi Colin

    Mostly on quite bright, high contrast days since I'm rubbish at getting up in the morning and the bulk of my shooting (over the past three years of DSLR ownership) has been when on holiday with my partner (a serious non-photographer), who coincidently seems to get very hungry just when the light is at its best in the evening! So it's quite often been during the middle of the day when the light is often quite harsh forcing me to concentrate on using the colour alone rather than low directional light-and-shade.
    Also best used at 90 degrees to the light source

    This is just such a shot:
    Olympus E500, Zuiko 40 - 150 + Kood polariser - around mid afternoon I think:-

    Sea cliff_E.jpg


    I have found it to be effective also when I've wanted to sometimes enrich colours on less contrasty or overcast days.

    This is such a shot in a deeply forested steep valley with almost no direct light
    Olympus E500, Zuiko 14 - 45 + Kood polariser

    St Nectan's Kieve_E.jpg


    It's quite often trial and error, and if I detect no real effect I'll just remove it.

    BTW, I no longer have the originals of these as they were lost with around 90% of two years of shooting on a broken drive. These were processed quite some time ago and I'd probably do them differently now, so apologies if they are not up to scratch! But i think they help to demonstrate what I'm blathering on about

    Cheers
    Bill

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