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See the Difference in Photo Quality with a Nikon Polarizing Camera Lens Filter

When you're out snapping photographs, you will probably want to be able to control the light in your pictures. A polarizing camera lens filter can do just that, reducing reflections and enhancing your colors so that you can get the image you're visualizing in your head. If you're looking for filters, Nikon has several polarizers that you can consider.

How can these filters affect pictures?

When you take a picture, light enters through your lens and goes to your image sensor. Polarizing filters can reduce the amount of light that goes through the lens to the sensor. Polarizers can lower the light by about one to three stops, in terms of aperture settings. They can also be quite effective when a camera is positioned perpendicularly to the sun. The use of polarizing filters can potentially:

  • Reduce the amount of haze in a picture
  • Lower glare, especially off of the water and glass objects
  • Make the skies seem bluer and the grass seem greener
  • Improve contrast
  • Prevent reflections in your images
What are the two main types of filters?
  • Linear polarizer: A linear filter is designed to be used with manual focus cameras. Its function is similar to that of polarizing sunglasses. Theoretically, it can reduce reflections and glare regardless of whether you put it on forwards or backwards, though it can likely only be attached to a lens in one orientation.
  • Circular polarizer: These types of filters screw onto the front of a camera. They consist of two connected rotating rings that are placed in front of the lens. When you want to activate the circular polarizer, you twist the front ring and keep going until you find your preferred filtered settings. It's important to note that circular polarizers are intended to be used with digital cameras and those with auto-focus features. This is because many cameras with auto-focus and light-metering sensors will not adjust appropriately when used with a linear filter. The circular filter consists of a linear polarizer and a quarter-wave plate that transforms the light appropriately for the camera. A circular polarizing filter will only work if the light first goes through the linear polarizer and then through the quarter-wave plate.
What are some things to consider when purchasing a polarizer?

A polarizing filter must be compatible with the type of camera lens you have. Cameras that have different-sized lenses will require larger or smaller filters. 55mm and 77mm are some sizes of lenses and polarizing filters. Remember that you can get a filter for only one or two lenses if you have multiple ones that you swap out.

If they're coated in multiple layers, they could be capable of filtering out more light. Depending on the situation, this could affect the clarity of the photo. Some polarizing filters may have a waterproof coating, which could make them more helpful for action shots around the water.

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