I have an olympus E-PL1 mirrorless camera. I recently got a Hoya HD circular polarizer for use with a wide angle lens. Using it, I initially found that there was no varying polarizing effect as I turn the ring, irrespective of my orientation to the sun.

I then found that as I rotate the camera (ie. from landscape to portrait mode), I start seeing the polarizing effect. I assume that this is some sort of manufacturing defect.

Couple of questions:

  1. Is this actually something wrong with the filter or am I doing something wrong? This is my first experience with a polarizer.
  2. Is there some way I can fix this myself?

2 Answers 2


Usually, turning the ring changes the orientation of the polarizer just as you'd expect. Since that doesn't happen but rotating the camera does seem to rotate the polarizer, it sounds like one of two possibilities:

  1. You've somehow managed to install the filter backwards.

  2. The filter was assembled with the two plates reversed.

I'm not sure how you could accomplish #1, so I have to guess that #2 is the most likely answer.

If you want to test that the filter is assembled the right way, get another piece of polarized material. You could use a pair of polarized sunglasses, for example, or a pair of polarized 3D glasses. With filter attached to the camera, hold the material, whatever it is, in front of the filter and rotate the ring. The image should get darker or lighter. If you continue in the same direction eventually the filter and (say) glasses will be polarized in at right angles to each other and the image will be completely black. If you see all this, then you're rotating the polarized surface after all, and the filter is fine.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ A turnd on LCD display would do well as a piece of polarized material too. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zenit
    Jan 22, 2016 at 9:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Caleb. Finally got around to disassembling the polarizer and reversed the glass to find that it now has the expected effect. Can't put it back together but at least the question is answered. \$\endgroup\$
    – DSingh
    Jan 25, 2017 at 8:48

This might not be your issue, but I suspect it is.

With live view on my DSLR, I found that the exposure shown on the screen quickly adapted and brightened back up as I turned the polarizer. In most conditions it was very difficult to see the effect of the polarizer unless I turned it extremely fast.

This was the result of a setting called "Exposure Preview: Off" which basically instructs the live view to ignore my settings, shutter speed, etc and make the image as bright as it can (presumably for situations where being able to compose and confirm focus is a higher priority than previewing exposure).

Once I switched to "Exposure Preview: On", which respects shutter speeds, aperture settings, etc, I was able to use the polarizer effectively. Sony calls this setting "Settings Effect: On", I believe. It has various names. I'm not sure what the Olympus name is but such an option is probably in your menus somewhere.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It's not quite clear how this would explain the difference between turning the filter ring and rotating the camera... \$\endgroup\$ Jan 22, 2016 at 8:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ The viewing angle of the LCD? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 22, 2016 at 17:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @junkyardsparkle You may have typed that before I edited my answer to add unless I turned it extremely fast to the first paragraph. Turning the camera is likely a faster operation that turning the polarizer ring. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lee Saxon
    Jan 22, 2016 at 21:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, so initiating the the effect quickly, giving you time to see it before auto-adjustment diminishes it... got it. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 23, 2016 at 1:02

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