Home Photography You (probably) DON'T Need Polarizing, UV, or ND Filters: Simulate them for...

You (probably) DON'T Need Polarizing, UV, or ND Filters: Simulate them for FREE!

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See the follow-up video here: https://youtu.be/-rBdqlBbNDE ND, UV, and polarizing filters can get expensive, they’re a pain to use, they reduce your image …


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  1. Guys im an amateur and i hage to a question. If the nd filter allows us to use longer exposure in bright daylight , then so can an increased aperture. Can it? I mean just bump it up to f/20 and then take a 10sec exposure and it will probably come out the same with everything sharp and clear.

  2. Whoa, this video really drops the respection level of Tony to zero. For landscapes polarizers and nd filters are a must have if you're doing daytime or any other long exposures and something else creative. I'd rather have good quality (!) filters in front of my camera than mess with calculations and photoshop (which does not even come close to recreating the effects). Sturdy tripod, a good filter holder, some quality glass filters and adapters for all your lenses and you are good to go.

  3. 1) You don't really know how to use polarizers. You can eliminate flares and water reflexes to see what there is under the water. Not really in that conditions, not really in that light direction. You can use them also to remove artificial flares in night photography.
    2) Nd filters allow coninuous aquiring images, moving lights come perfect, there are never interruptions or ghosting. Staking images tecnique it's for sure a bit sharper and with lesser noise, but the result in 90% of the situations, it's absolutely bad (compared to a good ND). Just to be a bit smart, you can take more ND images, stake them encreasing the resoluzione and eliminating the noise. In a long session you can clean che ND plates, easier than a front lens.
    3) Agree, UV filters are a bit useleess, but if you scratch the front lens to see the damages effects, you must take light critical images. Clearly not with the sun at your shoulders.

  4. Loved the last part about the UV filter. Totally agree. I studied photography 35 years ago when lens technology was nothing like it is today and digital had not even been thought of. Our first lecture they taught us to throw away our UV filters. Never owned one since. Oh, and they taught us that the best cloth to clean a lens was a well washed pair of old cotton underpants ! 🙂

  5. This is just a rant on his opinion not the actual uses of a Polarizing filter. He forgets our eyes after years get used to glare from the sun and that side glare washes our view and the colors we see. A polarizer fixes that and that's why the colors pop. He went in to lightshop to make the picture look washed instead of pristine because he's used to the washed look of the world through worn and glare filled eyes. I find that Hysterical!

  6. sorry sir, I was impressed with the way you deal with something … btw, I used to make videos and maybe I need a filter or something like that … is the solution for you to anticipate so that I don't have to buy a filter or something … or just enough to play in "grading color" … please confirm, sir?

  7. I stopped using polarizing filters years ago because of the unnatural look they provided. You are the first pro I've heard who doesn't following the group think. I like not having to ever touch or clean my lens, so I would still continue using a UV filter.

  8. For the same reason you cannot see the image degraded by scratching the front element of your lens, is that a cheap piece of clear glass (aka the filters) also wont make a difference. This is less and less true as you focus closer, reduce you focal length and shut your diaphragm. I dare you to do that to a 16mm lens 🙂

  9. I'm usually one to agree with you, but this time I'm in the opposite camp on polarizers. When I started using them years ago, my shots often improved dramatically! Reflections and glare can do a lot more damage to an image than your examples. Glare can be dramatically reduced with a polarizer – and even ADJUSTED from full glare to none to get any amount you might need for a special effect. Glare pops up everywhere, not just on a car hood, etc. and bringing it down in camera with a simple twist works wonders for me. If you don't like them, fine, but simply saying you (PROBABLY) don't need them is stretching things. If they didn't work for most people, I doubt seriously if they would have been on the market for oh so many decades….

  10. Leave that video where he says the Car photo is looking good without filter… But still feeling sad for the time and data I have wasted for this video assuming that is he got any new trick or what !!

  11. Two notes: you cannot simulate the polarizer in photo apps like Photoshop. Yes, the polarizer applies the same idea to the ND filters but you cannot reduce glares or reflection in software. I will always use a UV filter to protect my glass because a) it reduces image quality by less than 1% and b) even a cheap $5 CAD filter, all of the ones I own are now 5+ years old, is better than having to replace a lens (even though I use the vintage Minoltas mostly).

  12. I will always use a good quality filter on my lenses. This is not so much about damage protection but keeping that front element clean. Some lenses are quite deeply recessed and difficult to get at for cleaning. A scratch on the front element might not be noticeable while even a small accumulation of dust will. Filters are a 1000 times easier to clean.

    In macro photography, its not unusual to get splashed or have a tree dump a load of rainwater on you. If I'm chasing a bug then I can just remove the filter and carry on, then clean up later. Get water on the front element and you will absolutely spoil the shot.

    At night, if the air warms even slightly, then your front element will mist-up instantly. The filter will give some protection from all that moisture and there is a chance that you can continue taking photos by just removing the misted-up filter.

    I've been told that digital cameras are not sensitive to UV light anyway.

  13. All good stuff! I photographed two outdoor weddings this past year; one without a polarizing filter and the second one with. Of the polarized set, about 40-50% of the pictures turned out extremely lack luster. That's because I couldn't keep up with adjusting the filter with changing light conditions and making sure I was at optimum angles to the sun to get the best effect from the filter. Now, the lens scratches to your 50mm – that was impressive and makes me rethink the expense of clear filters.

  14. Everyone saying it’s gonna take them 5 hours in post is insane… if you don’t know how to use photoshop and Lightroom effectively sure but any competent photographer can add the effects he did in like 15 – 20 seconds. And i think having a raw image to work with is way better in post instead of a blown out color profile, horrible tint, out of focus shot, or if i don’t use the polarizer looking in the perfect direction under the best of circumstances. Just go take photos and get fast in post. Much clearer, sharper, more vibrant photos and you don’t have to sit there fumbling with the camera over and over.

  15. READ THIS BEFORE YOU COMMENT. Watch the follow-up video here: https://youtu.be/-rBdqlBbNDE


    Polarizing filters cut glare and reflection, and you can't replicate that in Photoshop. That's true, and I demonstrate it in the video, and in the follow-up. Yes, you can create scenarios where a polarizing filter does something unique, like shooting through the surface of water. However, in many years of shooting, I've rarely found that removing the glare creates a "good" picture.

    Yes, I have experience with polarizing filters. Back in the film days, I used a polarizing filter almost constantly–anytime I was outdoors, and often indoors. I probably learned from the same old photography books that you learned from, and that was standard practice. In the film era, post-processing wasn't usually an option, and polarizing filters really did often produce better pictures.

    As I moved to digital, I continued to use the polarizing filter. Often, I would take a shot (say, of a waterfall) and then realize I forgot to put on my polarizing filter. So, I'd attach my polarizing filter (as my teachers had always taught me) and take a second shot. I took dozens, maybe more than 100, of these accidental before-and-after shots. Virtually every single time, the shot without the polarizing filter looked better. If anything, it just needed the blue sky luminance dropped a bit for a prettier sky (as I demonstrate in the video).

    There were times when the shot with the polarizing filter looked better–but those were never "good" shots, anyway. For example, if you want to take a picture of koi fish in a pond, using a polarizing filter will better show the fish. If you're going to be happy that you spend $70 on a polarizing filter to get a slightly clearer picture of a koi fish, than that's a good investment for you. But really, who cares about a shot like that.

    But, most of the time, the shots without the polarizing filter look better because they look more natural… our eyes see glare on water, leaves, and metal. That's how the world actually looks. The polarizing filter changes your photo in an unnatural and irreversible way.

    Commenters pointed out some legit uses for a polarizing filter. One commenter reproduces artwork in controlled conditions, and that's a great reason to use a polarizing filter. Another commenter photographs cars by stacking multiple photos of them, adjusting the polarizer effect up and down, and then carefully painting in different parts from each picture with the best amount of glare.

    Those are legit uses, and those people should use polarizing filters. But those aren't common uses.

    Before you say I'm wrong and that photographers should spend $80 on a good polarizing, carry it around, and attach and remove it as needed, take this challenge: the next time you reach for your polarizing filter, take a shot without it. Then, take your normal polarized shot. Do this for a few months… and look at the before-and-after results of those pictures you'd actually want to share or print.

    Now, ask yourself these questions:
    * How often is the polarized shot really better?
    * In a blind test, how often do other people think the polarized shot is better?
    * Can you easily recreate the positive effects of the polarizer in post-processing?
    * If you found shareable pictures made better with the polarizer, was it worth the cost and trouble of the filter?
    * Given the choice between spending $80 on polarizing filters (per lens filter diameter) and spending that money on lenses, lighting, education, or travel, would you still recommend a new photographer buy polarizing filters, carry those polarizers around everywhere, and attach and remove them when necessary?

    * "I'd rather put a polarizing filter on than spend HOURS doing post-processing!" Dropping the blues literally takes a second or two, and you could apply it with a preset. But if that's your preference, that's fine… but it doesn't mean new photographers should drop money on buying a polarizer rather than moving a slider.


    * "A good UV filter doesn't degrade the image quality." Well, it degrades it less than a cheap filter, certainly, but anything in front of your lens will reflect some amount of light, causing flaring and reducing sharpness & contrast in some conditions. But yeah, you probably won't notice the difference in most images when using a good UV filter… but good UV filters are more expensive, so you're spending even more.

    * "I dropped my camera and my UV filter broke, saving my lens!" OK, your UV filter broke, but your lens is stronger and probably wouldn't have broken or even scratched. Even if it did, replacing the front element of a lens is usually pretty inexpensive (certainly less than buying UV filters).


    * "They're good for reducing the shutter speed during video." Yes, they are. We often use a vari-ND for video. I discuss this in the follow-up video. This video was about stills, however, so it's a bit off-topic.

    * "They're good for using a flash that doesn't have HSS." Yes, they are. But you can get a flash with HSS for about $50, cheaper than a decent ND filter. Both HSS and an ND filter require more power output from the flash.

    * "They're good for using a fast lens (like f/1.4) in bright sunlight when I want to shoot wide open" Yes, they are. This does occasionally happen to photographers who use fast portrait lenses, especially on cameras with a high base ISO (like MFT cameras, which often have a base ISO of 200). It's a legit use, it's just not a common use, and most people won't ever need an ND filter for this purpose.

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