The Most Important Filter I Use

By | 2017-07-21T08:37:57+00:00 Jul 21st, 2017|

Whenever I head out on a shoot, I always pack certain “staples” like spare batteries, SD cards, and lens cloths. Those are the basics… the things every photographer packs… or should pack. In addition to those necessities, there is one more piece of kit that ALWAYS makes it in my back and that’s a Circular Polarizer (CPL). Of all the filters available, the CPL ranks at the top for me and they should be up on that scale for you, too. Whether you’re shooting landscapes, architecture, or an event, a good CPL can instantly up the final straight-out-of-camera (SOOC) results. Just take a look at the before/after of this photo I took at Yellowstone National Park.

[twenty20 img1=”29610″ img2=”29609″ offset=”0.5″]

What do you see? Did you notice the total removal of reflections from the sun? What about the warm boost of the rock wall? And the boost of contrast in the sky? All of these improvements are due to the CPL. If you want even more reasons as to why the CPL should always be a part of your kit, watch this video that I recorded awhile back. It should leave no doubts as to whether you should always pack a CPL on every shoot you go on.

While there are a ton of filter manufacturers who make CPLs, I only use one type: The Firecrest Circular Polarizer by Formatt-Hitech. I’ve used this filter for the last 3-4 years and have always loved the results. If you already own screw-on filters, I recommend getting step-up rings for each of your lenses’ filter thread diameters that adapt to 77mm. For example, two of my lenses have a 67mm filter thread diameter, so I have a 67mm-to-77mm step up ring. This allows me to use one filter on all of my lenses, even if they have smaller filter thread diameters.

So that’s my most important filter. What about you? Is there a particular filter that you can’t live without? What about any other accessories? Leave ’em in the comments below!

3 Comments

  1. David Bjorgen July 21, 2017 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I can definitely see the value of purchasing the larger filter and using step down rings. The only caveat is that a lens hood will not fit on your lens as long as the polarizer is attached. Then again, who wants to try to fiddle with a circular polarizer under a lens hood anyway?

  2. John E Adams July 24, 2017 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    The CPL is it for me as well, it rarely even comes off the lens! I shoot a lot of cars, bikes and boats on the water, it is a must have when dealing with reflections as well as skies. On my most used lens I use a Marumi DHG Super Circular P.L.D it is my favorite. Welcome back -;0)

  3. Ron007 July 24, 2017 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    I put the CPL and leave it on. Makes a cheap shield and thread protector for the more expensive lens behind it.
    All you have to do is buy a hood that fits on the CPL and you have the best of both worlds.

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