Effectiveness of polarizers

This is a discussion on Effectiveness of polarizers within the Filters forums, part of the Photography Tips category; Hi everyone, I made a side by side comparison of two photos, one with polarizer at min and one with polarizer at max effectiveness (by ...


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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2008
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    Hi everyone,

    I made a side by side comparison of two photos, one with polarizer at min and one with polarizer at max effectiveness (by rotation). Taken at the same time of day and with same settings (f/8, 1/160th, ISO200) and same post processing raw settings.



    So, I decided to open the left image above in raw and try to imitate the look at the right. I created 2 graduated filters in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw), one reducing the exposure of the sky and one increasing the saturation of the green field. While some could argue this is an improvement to non-polarized image, it still doesn't come near the effect of a real polarizer filter though.

    The image on the left is the actual unadjusted raw file that was taken with polarizer turned to the maximum effect, the one on the right is me trying to imitate the effect. I don't know if you could do better, but this was surely a failure for me.



  • #2
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2009
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    Billings, MT
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    Keep in mind what a polarizer does - changes the physical properties of the light entering the lens. It is entirely likely that in some (but perhaps not all) cases it would be entirely impossible to simulate a polarizer in post. The data just is not there. In any case it would be difficult.

    My rule of thumb is to try and get the image as close as possible in the camera, this way you avoid damaging the histogram later on through over processing. While today this isn't as much an issue, the gradiant of light itself is far more discreet - continuous to our perception - than even the highest bit depth of a digital capture. If something can be done optically, it's typically a good idea.

    I'm not saying I always succeed in that goal, but that is my goal.
    bear with me. i don't have an escape button...

  • #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Jersey, Great Britain.
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    PHOTO EDITING NOT OK
    The grass in the imitated version looks like it has a blue cast, whereas the polarized version doesn't.
    My photo blog
    I use a Canon EOS 40D + various lenses.


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