Photographers use a number of tricks to create dramatic imagery, many of which are achieved via a filter. Filters are simply pieces of coated glass which either clip, but more often screw, onto the front of your SLR camera's lens. Today i'm taking a look at Hoya's Pro1 Digital Circular Polarising filter which can be picked up from Amazon for £57. The filter is available in a number of different sizes depending on your requirements - the size I use on my Nikon is the 67mm variety.
There are two types of polarising filter - 'Linear' and 'Circular', with the item in question falling into the latter category. Linear polarisers are generally more expensive, but they can't be used by many of the newer digital SLR cameras, as they can have an adverse effect on the effectiveness of the metering and autofocus.
So what does the polarising filter do? Well, if used correctly, it can have a number of beneficial effects. I personally use it to give better a definition to clouds, thus creating a dramatic sky in my photos - but it will also reduce reflections in water and on other shiny surfaces. Many photographers use it when taking photos from an aeroplane window as it can make the glass appear almost invisible - quite simply, the polarising filter is a really versatile tool which no photographer should be without.
The Filter in Use + Final Word
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Attached via a screwing mechanism, you should be careful not to cross-thread the device when you apply it to your lens. The filter consists of two pieces of glass mounted above each other - when then upper section of glass is rotated (via its outer metal ring), the degree of the filter's effect is adjusted. The turning motion of the filter feels smooth, and after a bit of practice you'll quickly learn how much of a turn is required to reach your most frequently used setting.
In my experience i've found that the Pro1 filter is a top quality beastie - Hoya's use of coated glass means that any distortions are kept to a minimum - most importantly there's little vignetting. I've used cheaper polarising filters in the past which have quickly broken, but the Hoya Pro1 feels sturdy and has so far lasted two years - because of this, even though the cost (at almost £60) appears pricey, I would argue that it's actually very good value for money. Overall, the Hoya Pro1 Digital Circular is a fantastic filter which is constructed from top quality materials. If you make sure to use it during landscape photography sessions, you'll find it can really make a difference to your work - just as importantly, it's very fun to use.
This is a good quality Circular Polarising filter - great when taking photos of reflective or shiny services such as windows, cars and water. Also takes some lovely pictures of skies!
Usage is easy - you simply screw it onto your lens, the outer part then can be rotated to have the desired effect on the surface you're photographing, the rotation level effects where and how much it stops reflections if you want some retained for effect.
This is one of many sizes they come in, there's probably a size for every lens.
As filters go it's fairly typical, it will do a much better job than the super cheap filters you can get off certain retailers. It's strong enough to not be a worry when carrying about and the glass doesn't scratch easily. It comes in a protective case you can keep it in when it's not in use.
I have found the rotating part to be somewhat stiffer than ideal for the first few uses, however it now works smoothly - even after I dropped it in a pond!
No complaints, the effects aren't as great as you'd probably get from a more expensive filter however this comes in at a much easier cost to swallow, it's great value for money.