Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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I was shopping for a decent polarizing filter for my camera, but I got confused by all the acronyms and the variance in prices. For example in B&H stores, you can filter by Polarizer Combination:

  1. w/ 81A
  2. w/ 81C
  3. w/ 81EF
  4. W/ 85c
  5. w/ 85
  6. w/ 85B
  7. w/ Warming
  8. w/ Enhancing
  9. w/ Intensifying
  10. w/ Skylight 1A
  11. w/ UV Haze-2A
  12. w/ Soft FX1
  13. Plain Polarizers

Also for each brands, they use acronyms for example:

  1. Multi-coated
  2. Kaesemann
  3. Slim
  4. Extra-wide
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1  
The alphanumeric acronyms in 1-6 and 10-11 are Wratten numbers indicating the color of the filter. –  koiyu Sep 1 '11 at 13:22
    
I think what's confusing you there (unless I confused) is that the polarizing filter is coming with another filter as a bundle. the w/ for example 85B is the name/number of the other filter it comes with, as above wratten numbers. I don't think the polarizer itself has anything to do with those, it is being bundled with them as a package, hence all the prices. –  Dreamager Sep 1 '11 at 14:03
1  
There are, however, warming polarizers available, which are essentially a polarizer with a colour cast (usually equivalent to an 81B/81C warming level). They would be tagged as "warming polarizers", though, rather than as a "polarizer combination". –  user2719 Sep 1 '11 at 22:00

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

13 + Super 1 (Multi-Coated) is what you should be looking for, maybe add a 3 (Slim) in case you plan on using it with moderately wide lenses.

Multi-Coated are layers of chemicals that reduce flare and unwanted reflections. Slim filters are simply slimmer and reduce the change of vignetting.

The others are combined with other effects which you cannot remove after. If you KNOW you always use some fixed combination then I suppose you can some by buying combined filters but it is generally better to buy a filter than does ONE thing well.

The numbered ones, plus warming and skylight all add a different tint to your photos by filtering out some light, so you can easily do the same in most image manipulation software. Also if you use Automatic WB, there is a good chance you camera will simply cancel the effect out.

Soft FX basically blurs your image which you can also emulate by software but is irreversible.

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