Polarizer Filter For Telephoto Lenses!

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Feiertag

Member
Good day. Yesterday, I received a Sigma 95mm WR - circular PL for my Nikon 500 PF. I plan on using it for my upcoming trip to Newfoundland, Canada.
There will be Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, diving Northern Gannets, whales and other animals in/near the ocean. Needless to say, I am going to reduce the glare on the water.

I was wondering if there are others out there, using a PL on their telephoto lens, for wildlife captures?
Furthermore, if not, why not?
Cheers.
 

Warren D

Well-known member
I tried it with whale watches and gave up. Every time I changed shooting direction, I needed to re-adjust the Cpol. As humpbacks only spend very little time at the surface and you can't always predict where they will surface, it became more of a liability than an asset. For birds, I find a faster shutter speed/lower ISO to be more beneficial and I usually have the same directional challenges as the whales.
 

Feiertag

Member
Thread starter
I tried it with whale watches and gave up. Every time I changed shooting direction, I needed to re-adjust the Cpol. As humpbacks only spend very little time at the surface and you can't always predict where they will surface, it became more of a liability than an asset. For birds, I find a faster shutter speed/lower ISO to be more beneficial and I usually have the same directional challenges as the whales.
Interesting!
 

Feiertag

Member
Thread starter
Low and behold, I did a Google search and found this link, pertaining to PL, by Steve.
 

Butlerkid

Moderator
Supporting Member
When I shot in Newfoundland, I visited St. Mary's Ecological Reserve to photograph gannets, murres and other birds. I also visited Elliston to photograph puffins. I did not use a CPL since the birds were flying above the waters and any reflections on the water was not prominent in the images since the surface of the water was broken up by waves, winds, etc. When photographing whales or BIFs, I often needed to use a tele on my 600mm f4 and I wanted to keep my shutter speed up and ISO low. When the whales came up out of the water , the surface of the water was broken up to the extent that reflections were not a problem.
 
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Steve

Admin
Staff member
Supporting Member
Remember, that polarizer eats two stops. I've used them before for wildlife, but only rarely - it's tough to lose a couple stops of light - it can take you from a manageable ISO 1600 to a not so great 6400.
 

Feiertag

Member
Thread starter
When I shot in Newfoundland, I visited St. Mary's Ecological Reserve to photograph gannets, murres and other birds. I also visited Elliston to photograph puffins. I did not use a CPL since the birds were flying above the waters and any reflections on the water was not prominent in the images since the surface of the water was broken up by waves, winds, etc. When photographing whales or BIFs, I often needed to use a tele on my 600mm f4 and I wanted to keep my shutter speed up and ISO low. When the whales came up out of the water , the surface of the water was broken up to the extent that reflections were not a problem.
Karen, thank you for sharing your Newfoundland adventure.

BTW, what year(s) were you there? I travelled to the Rock in 2016, 17, 18, and 19. If it wasn't for covid, I would have not broken my streak.
 

Feiertag

Member
Thread starter
Remember, that polarizer eats two stops. I've used them before for wildlife, but only rarely - it's tough to lose a couple stops of light - it can take you from a manageable ISO 1600 to a not so great 6400.
Thanks, Steve. I was a bit surprised with this comment because on "How to use a polarizing filter" video was so positive and suggest buying one if you didn't own one. Cheers.
 

Butlerkid

Moderator
Supporting Member
We drove from Tennessee to Eastern Canada in our truck towing our 5th wheel in 2019. We visited New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. WHAT a trip! I'd love to do it again!

You are see my galleries here....Canada

I planned the trip to see puffins bringing back fish for their young. Spring was about 3 weeks late that year....no babies while we were there. :( We only saw one iceberg at Twillingate...but what a doozy it was!!!!! It was a very long drive to St. Mary's - but well worth it!

What places do you visit on your trips?
 

Steve

Admin
Staff member
Supporting Member
Thanks, Steve. I was a bit surprised with this comment because on "How to use a polarizing filter" video was so positive and suggest buying one if you didn't own one. Cheers.
I'm very pro-polarizer for the right subject :) I use them almost all the time for landscapes, however, landscapes are from a tripod so I can still keep my ISO low even with the 2 stop penalty. Wildlife is tougher since I generally need faster shutter speeds than with landscape work.
 

bleirer

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I think polarizers are another thing to be mindful of and have in the kit at the ready, but only when there is time to plan and think through the shot. If you have one big enough that it can be adapted to various sizes there is no waste. But in a quickly changing situation it's another variable to take into account and can lead to frustration. Is it clean? Will there be flare? Can I afford the loss of light/impact on shutter speed/ISO? Is it rotated correctly? How does it look without the CPL?

Too much to think through sometimes.
 

DRwyoming

Moderator
Supporting Member
I was wondering if there are others out there, using a PL on their telephoto lens, for wildlife captures?
I carry and have occasionally used polarizers for my longest lenses but with the light gathering penalty I don't leave them on all the time so when I use them the situation has to meet a few conditions;

- The scene should benefit from a polarizer so there should be glare that a polarizer could help remove which isn't always the case
- The wildlife subject has to be hanging around long enough to be worth digging out the polarizer and installing it as I don't want to give away 2 stops of light all the time
- The light has to be good enough that I can sacrifice two stops of light and still keep my shutter speed and aperture where I want it

Those don't line up all that often but when they do the polarizer can be helpful.

As posted above I use circular polarizers all the time on landscape and often on macro shots but not very often for long lens wildlife shots.

Here's an older forum thread on drop in polarizers for long wildlife lenses with an example of a situation where it helped: https://bcgforums.com/index.php?threads/nikon-f4-600mm-polarizer.5048/
 

Feiertag

Member
Thread starter
We drove from Tennessee to Eastern Canada in our truck towing our 5th wheel in 2019. We visited New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. WHAT a trip! I'd love to do it again!

You are see my galleries here....Canada

I planned the trip to see puffins bringing back fish for their young. Spring was about 3 weeks late that year....no babies while we were there. :( We only saw one iceberg at Twillingate...but what a doozy it was!!!!! It was a very long drive to St. Mary's - but well worth it!

What places do you visit on your trips?
I looked at your wonderful Canada gallery. I especially loved the puffin video. Been to the same sites as yourself, in Newfoundland. Plus, I lived in Lunenburg and Mahone Bay, NS. My home was less than a five-minute walk to Lunenburg's St. John's Anglican Church.
My darling's sister lives near St. John's (Torbay). We play it by eye, where we end up going to, but Elliston and St. Mary's are on top of the list, as always.
 

Feiertag

Member
Thread starter
I'm very pro-polarizer for the right subject :) I use them almost all the time for landscapes, however, landscapes are from a tripod so I can still keep my ISO low even with the 2 stop penalty. Wildlife is tougher since I generally need faster shutter speeds than with landscape work.
Thanks, Steve. Quick question regarding the 2 stop penalty? When you dial the filter to a point where there isn't a polarized effect, is there any to little loss of light?
 

ajm057

Active member
I have the 46mm drop in CPL filter for the new Z 400/800 on order. But, I suspect I will only use it sparingly. Using CPLs to reduce reflection, enable look through water, reduce haze and darken washed out skies is common in landscapes etc., but less common in super teles. I have found that I carry my drop-in CPLs on game drives but never want to open the lens to the dust on a game drive. So the only times I have tended to use it is when I have been on the water and this is where they can be great -- but tough to use when BIF come in from every direction. For those occasions on the Chobe River when I was shooting into the sun from a photo boat - they certainly helped. However, this was later in the morning when the light was much stronger than early or later-on.
 

bleirer

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Turns out to be complicated. Older articles but still relevant:


 
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