Can you notice a CPL filter on a 360° shot while it's on the "default" position?

I know that the effect of a CPL filter only really takes effect in a 90° angle to the sun. Because of that it also shouldn't be used for panorama pictures or videos, due to the fact that each of the photos would have a different strength of the polarizer effect and would therefore look strange in the end product.

I wonder if I could leave the CPL filter on, all the time? In other words, while a CPL filter is in its default position, does it look the same 360° all around, or would it still look different in a 90° angle to the sun, compared to facing the sun directly?

Just wondering if I have to put on the CPL filter every time I want to get rid of some glare, or if I could also just leave in on, while doing some other shots in between, where the effect isn't needed or wanted.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably will be better to ask here: video.stackexchange.com \$\endgroup\$ May 13, 2023 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I'll do. But it shouldn't matter too much. Even tho it's mainly for video, I do photos as well and it should actually apply to photos as well. I guess photographers will shoot in different angles to the sun as well, which could be also interesting to know the answer to. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy
    May 13, 2023 at 20:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ My personal habit when use CPL is to point the camera, frame and then turn the CPL until I get result I want. No angles, no default position. So (for me) still differ a lot from video (in relation to CPL). \$\endgroup\$ May 14, 2023 at 9:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean by the default position of a polarizer? Mine rotates on the mount without any indication of a preferred position. If you have it on when the light is not polarized it is just a 1 stop ND filter \$\endgroup\$ May 14, 2023 at 14:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RossMillikan What I mean by default position is the position with the least effect. Some adjustable polarizers have two white lines to align to get the what I refer to "default" position. I know of the difference of 1 stop ND filter compared to no filter. I was just wondering if that basic effect would apply in all directions equally. So if it's in the mentioned position, would it be just the effect of 1 stop ND filter against the sun, as well as in a 90° angle to the sun, or would the effect be stronger in a 90° angle even while in the position of least effectiveness? \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy
    May 15, 2023 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


To answer two specific parts of your question:

Can you notice a CPL filter on a 360° shot while it's on the "default" position?

There is no "default" position, but I assume you mean the position in which the CPL fitler is as weak as possible. Yes, you can notice it as follows:

  • The CPL roughly takes 1 stop of light away, so your camera needs to compensate this by changing the exposure parameters.
  • The CPL is of low quality and creates flares and/or ghosting.

I wonder if I could leave the CPL filter on, all the time?

Yes, but it depends a lot on what the context is you're photographing in. In my experience I kept the CPL filter on and used it as an additional parameter (e.g. next to zooming, composition, exposure) when taking a photo. I had the following circumstances:

  • Sufficient light to make the exposure within the desired ISO/aperture/shutter speed range.
  • A filter of sufficient quality such that it does not decrease the image quality with flares or ghosting.
  • The front of the lens did not rotate when focussing/zooming. This meant that the CPL remained at the same "strength" while focussing the lens.

Whenever I would enter a (darker) building, I would unscrew the CPL filter and keep it in a pouch. I would then not suffer from the ~1 stop exposure reduction, and the CPL had very little use indoor anyway (in my case). Once going outdoors I would attach the CPL again.


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