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I have seen people using Polarizing filters on many wide angle lenses. Is it worth using a Polarizing Filter on a 40mm 2.8f STM Pancake lens or any other prime lens?

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Can you explain why you think it might particularly matter or might not be a good idea? –  mattdm Jul 23 '13 at 16:42
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Not only is it worth it, but it is inexpensive to do so because it uses the small 52mm filter threads. –  dpollitt Jul 23 '13 at 16:59

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It is probably useful since a likely use of such a wide angle lens is landscapes. Since landscapes often contain some sky, and a polarizing filter can reduce the haze in favor of the blue color, polarizing filters often make landscapes look better.

There are other uses for polarizers too, with a common one being either accenting or reducing relection off of water. Since this is again a likely subject for that focal length, a polarizing filter will be useful on the lens.

In general, the usefulness of a polarizing filter has nothing to do with the focal length. It is about whether you want to accentuate or reduce reflections from dielectrics, like the particles that cause haze in the sky, water, tabletops, etc. The drawback is that it will take a little more than 1 f-stop of light. Fortunately for outdoor scenes this is usually not a big deal.

I usually keep a polarizer on my lens except for telephotos. Usually polarized reflections aren't a big issue when you are trying to narrow in on a particular subject.

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The length of a lens has nothing to do with the usefulness of a polarizing filter. The point of a polarizing filter is to reduce glare. If your shots have glare from reflective surfaces, using a polarizing filter will allow you to remove the glare. This is true for any size lens.

The thing to be noted, as brought up in comments however, is that the further off axis the light is coming in from, the more pronounced the effect will be and it may result in some distortion.

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If you have a wide angle lens and use a polarizing filter you can get inconsistent skies. If it's completely cloudless then you'll get a bright blue surrounded by dark blue or vice versa. –  tenmiles Jul 23 '13 at 17:01
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Because the polarizing effect is most pronounced with light that is 90° with respect to the optical axis of the lens, when using a polarizer with a lens with a large angle-of-view the angles of the light from one side of the FoV to the other will vary by a much greater amount than the angles of the light from a lens with a narrower FoV. This results in the effect of the polarizer having a wider range of variation form one part of the FoV to the other. –  Michael Clark Jul 23 '13 at 22:32

The worthiness of using a polarising filter does not depend whether you have a zoom or a prime lens.

If you are doing outdoor photography with your 40mm prime, then a polarising filter will give great results.

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Especially if mounted on an APS-C camera, the angle of view of the 40mm pancake lens will be narrow enough to get fairly even effects from the polarizer throughout the FoV. –  Michael Clark Jul 23 '13 at 22:34

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