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Old July 8th, 2013, 04:21 AM   #1
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PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

For our outdoor work (often sunny bright skies, glare from snow...) does it make sense to use a polarized or UV filter? Or should we play around with the NR and Picture Profiles within the camera itself? Any tips and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Oliver
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Old July 8th, 2013, 10:27 AM   #2
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

Oliver: a couple of different level neutral density filters to screw on to the lens (or better, slide into your matte box) may be your first best bet. In super bright situations, your first chore is to get the camera iris opened up off of full f16 (or higher) and into the mid-low range of the f-stop numbers.

You can also pair the ND filter with a polarizer around water and blue sky, and get some nice color-popping, low-reflection effects. Be sure to try out any ND filter out in a test first, though. Some of the cheaper filters at high ND range end up giving you an unrecoverable yellow-orange IR effect, kind of like a sepia look.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 06:59 PM   #3
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

It makes sense to use polarized filters outside. they reduce light a full stop on my EX-1r regardless of setting. They are effective at making skies more blue and landscaping greenery pop. They also remove reflections but not glare (those bright overblown reflections on chrome are reduced but not eliminated).

Here's a great article on how they work:
Polarizers

I don't like UV filters. They cause lens flares at certain angles. I only use them when shooting from a moving vehicle or other dust risky situation. So you should have one in your kit.

I use B+W filters when I can afford it. Tiffen when I can't. On the EX1r, I had to get the ultra thin filters. YMMV
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Old July 9th, 2013, 04:35 AM   #4
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

The one thing I'll say in favour of a UV filter is that it will get damaged before your lens will. And that is good enough reason to always keep a filter of some kind on any camera.
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Old July 9th, 2013, 07:32 AM   #5
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

I would recommend giving it a try before you commit to using a polarizer. A UV filter doesn't change the look of the image but a polarizer can change it dramatically. It can change it differently depending on how its set. The look also changes as your angle to the sun changes. This isn't the case with a UV filter.

I do use polarizers when needed and work to make sure I don't make a problem in post. This means you have to check their settings every time the camera setup changes or the angle to the sun changes. Polarizers are not set-n-forget modifiers.
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Old July 9th, 2013, 09:10 AM   #6
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

I guess it's because I come from a 'stills' background, but I'm one of those that is a believer in having a UV filter on the front of every lens I own. As was mentioned, it's a lot cheaper to buy a new filter then a new lens (camera).

I don't currently own any 'additional ND filters' beyond what is already built-into the camera. I'm a little hesitant to 'stack' ND filters because I've read an 'Infrared' color shift will occur with anything over 0.9 ND.


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Old July 9th, 2013, 09:43 PM   #7
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

@ James, I don't think it's a stills background thing. That's a common reasoning. It is however, one that has been debated many times here. The counter view is that modern lenses have decent coating and take smuges and stuff, clean right up and are good as new.... all without sacrificing image quality adding another piece of glass (easily smudged I would add). Clearly, no sense in having a UV filter in a studio for a sit down interview, right?

Personally I used to have a UV on from the day I took it out of the box... until I got tired of the lens flares and smudged up glass. I carry a lens pen in my pocket... YMMV
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Old July 9th, 2013, 11:45 PM   #8
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

Les...food for thought. You made me go check the lens on my PMW-200. Clean as a whistle. : )

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Old July 10th, 2013, 03:14 AM   #9
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

Wow - thanks for all your valuable feedback!

Have decided to invest in 77mm Schneider B+W Circular Pol Filter! Will let you know the results.

What are you thoughts about using a Polarizer in a green-screen studio to minimize floor glare from the backlights?
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Old July 10th, 2013, 08:47 AM   #10
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

Buy the thin one so you can also use the lens shade.
I have the B & W fllter and use it outside , but do not use green screen.

edit to add:
THis one
B+W 77mm Circular Polarizer Slim Filter 65-016930 B&H Photo
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Old July 11th, 2013, 01:17 PM   #11
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

Oliver: I want to double up on Chri's recommendation. Be very careful and cognizant about angles to the sun when using a polarizer. At least with a color viewfinder, you can monitor what you are doing to the image. But the exact same polarizer set up, which looks great when shooting with your back to the sun, can suddenly turn the sky turquoise and futz up your other colors when shooting more closely into the sun.

If you are mostly looking for lens protection (and I am in the camp of always having a filter in front of the prime lens element) then a polarizer is not your everyday filter. use a UV or skylight, or even better a clear filter instead, and add the polarizer only when you have a specific need for it.

I am a big fan of the B+W filters. I also pay the extra and get the slimline filters whenever possible, which helps keep down any risk of vignetting.
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Old July 13th, 2013, 10:47 PM   #12
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Re: PMW-200: Polarized vs. UV filters

A polarizer won't have an effect with your back to the sun. It works at 90 degrees to the sun and diminishes as you veer off of 90. The article I linked to in post #3 explains that and gives a great trick to help you position yourself to maximize the effect.
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