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Thread: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

  1. #1
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    I recently got my uncle's old cameras and accessories and I found 2 filters that are fitting on my Nikon D5000 kit lens.
    I believe one of them is an ND filter? What do the C-P-L letters mean?
    Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    This one? What is the purpose and is it useful for anything?
    Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    This was taken without the filter:
    Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    And a similar shot with the the filter:
    Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    Frankly, I can see very little difference between the 2.
    So, In what situation could I use this?
    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  2. #2
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    C-PL (or CPL or CPol) means circular polarizer. They're used to control polarized (frequently caused by reflection) light. It has two rings that turn independently. Put it on your camera by screwing on the bottom ring (the one with the knurled/raised edge), look through the viewfinder at a well-lit car or the surface of a shallow body of water, then turn the upper smooth ring and watch what happens. A circular polarizer can also enrich the colors in many skies (cuts out any reflected light in the sky, darkening it and increasing perceived saturation), so they're handy. The penalty is that, like sunglasses, they block some light, so you'll have to increase exposure a bit when using one.

    Not sure what the second filter is. Maybe it causes soft focus outside of the spot? The effect might be more obvious with a larger depth of field. But note how it changed the background in your test shot. The surroundings are noticeably circular, sort of whirling about the flower. I suspect one of the old-school photogs here will know exactly what this is, but I haven't used or seen one before.
    Last edited by RustBeltRaw; 15th April 2013 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Spellcheck.

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    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    Lex, Thanks a lot for the explanation of the circular polarizing filter.

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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    Lex was right on in his reply.

    The CPL is a circular polarizer which is a very handy piece of gear. One cavaet is that this might not be a good quality filter (from the images they look like Quantaray labeled filters). Poor quality filters will degrade your image. My advice is to test the filter before you shoot anything important.

    The next filter is a center focus filter which will blur the areas around the clear center. You can actually do this quite effectively and with more control in post processing. However, this type filter is fun to try.

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    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    Thanks for the clarification, Richard.
    Both filters are indeed Quantaray.
    Before I get around buying another polarizer filter, I'm going to experiment with this one, and see what the result is.

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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    I have used a CPL filter quite well for shots with lots of sky and fluffy cloud ( get that a lot here when its not pouring down) if you rotate the filter you'll see that it changes polarization every 90 degrees and can make the sky stand out or fade back. I'm still experimenting with these. theyre also useful for shooting shiny objects and reducing glare in bright light. makes a lens protector too.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    Quote Originally Posted by KennyF View Post
    makes a lens protector too.
    Personally I would not recommend a CPL for this (i.e. leaving it on permanently), there will times when you can ill afford to loose the almost 2 stops of exposure, plus you might want to see the reflections
    (ok, you can rotate it 90 degrees to get them back, but that may give a silly looking sky on a wide angle shot)

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Personally I would not recommend a CPL for this (i.e. leaving it on permanently), there will times when you can ill afford to loose the almost 2 stops of exposure, plus you might want to see the reflections
    (ok, you can rotate it 90 degrees to get them back, but that may give a silly looking sky on a wide angle shot)
    Agreed. CPols can create some really strange effects, like killing some of the light reflected from a person's face. They tend to deaden highlights unpredictably. On the other hand, it can be interesting learning where light is polarized. Look at asphalt through a polarizer next time there's bright sun around.

  9. #9

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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    Good point guys!!!

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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    Here is an example of using a circular polariser to reduce reflections in water,and on vegetation; it does reduce exposure however eg
    a) without polariser (1/250 sec @ 7.1)
    Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    b) with polariser (1/40 sec @ 7.1)
    Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

  11. #11
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken MT View Post
    Here is an example of using a circular polariser to reduce reflections in water,and on vegetation; it does reduce exposure however eg
    a) without polariser (1/250 sec @ 7.1)
    Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    b) with polariser (1/40 sec @ 7.1)
    Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?
    That's certainly quite a difference. I really need to start playing with these filters. But it's raining cats and dogs today......
    Maybe tomorrow....

  12. #12
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    Re: Screw-on lens filters - What can I use these for?

    Hi, Kris - I got a really excellent flowing water picture using the circular polarizer on a stretch of the Tuolumne River that really controlled the sparkles well. Sorry to say, I don't have it on this computer. But, you can see the water moving yet the rocks on the bottom are quite clearly focused which is what I was aiming for. I also took some pictures of dandelions gone to seed where the CPL quite nicely decreased, but didn't completely eliminate the sparkles.

    If you look really closely at the second picture of the flower in your original post, you'll see that the center of the flower (the sepals and other bits in the middle) is MUCH more in focus than it is in the first picture of the flower. If you can't find it easily, look at the base of the petal that's on the right above the other petal on the right.

    Hope this helps.

    virginia

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