I have a Canon EOS 550D. Right now I only have some standard lenses, and I'm looking to buy a Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX II 11-16mm F/2.8. (I love landscape photography and photography in nature in general.) I want to try using a circular polarizing filter, and I've been looking at the Hoya Filter Circ Pol DMC Pro1 77mm. I can see that the "slim" version is cheaper than the regular one, however, I'm not sure what the difference is. Can any of you tell me which would one be preferable for landscape photography? (I found a thread posted about this some years ago but I would like to hear what you guys think, knowing what camera, lens and filter I'm thinking about combining.)

All feedback would be very much appreciated! :-)

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    Don't forget the filter wrench to go along with it. Stuck polarizers are the most difficult filters to remove because most of the outer surface spins. – Michael C May 19 '16 at 21:37
  • One thing to take into consideration here is that polarizers usually do not work well will ultra wide angle lenses. The effect on the blue sky depends on the angle from sun, which means that with UWA lenses the darkening is uneven. It is tempting to use polarizers on UWAs, but the effect is hard to undo in post processing. – MirekE May 19 '16 at 22:05
  • Thank you very much for your replies! Michael Clark; filter wrench... Now there's a thing I have never heard of. I just read that one can use a rubber band instead of a filter wrench. I think I'll try that method out at first, and if it becomes bothersome, I'll definitely get a wrench. – Katjaec May 22 '16 at 8:45
  • MirekE: Yes, the more I read about this, I realize I'll have to be very aware of that when taking the pictures. I have seen lots of pictures where that doesn't seem to be a problem, though (as in this: ivanandreevich.deviantart.com/art/Serenity-602576020). I suppose people have either found the perfect angle or they've been good at photoshopping the picture afterwards. – Katjaec May 22 '16 at 8:53

Can any of you tell me which would one be preferable for landscape photography?

The slim one is slimmer, which means that there's less chance of the edge of the filter being visible in images taken on a wide angle lens. An 11-16mm lens is certainly wide enough to justify a slim filter on a full frame camera, but since your 550D has an APS-C sized sensor, you're not going to see the edges of the image anyway. Unless you plan on trading up to a full frame camera at some point, either the slim or the non-slim version would work for you.

If you've never worked with one before, you might not realize that a circular polarizer is actually made up of two pieces that rotate relative to each other. This lets you change the orientation of the polarizer, which varies the polarizing effect. A regular CPL will be a couple millimeters thicker than the slim version, which means that you have a little more to grasp as you operate the filter. So, depending on your hands, you might find the regular version a little easier to use.

You should know that polarizing filters and very wide lenses can make the sky look blotchy. On a normal or long lens, CPL can help you get gorgeous deep blue skies, but the effect depends on the direction you point the camera and the orientation of the filter. A wide angle lens sees light from many different directions, so the polarizer's effect varies across the frame and can make the sky look uneven -- light blue in one direction, dark blue in another. If you know about the effect you can always choose to remove the filter when it would be a problem, but it can be an unhappy surprise if you forget.

Finally, buy the size that'll fit your largest diameter lens and get step rings that'll let you use the same filter on smaller diameter lenses. Step rings weigh almost nothing, so their easy to carry, and they're a lot cheaper than buying several versions of the same filter.

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    Thank you so much for your thorough answer, Caleb! As you have probably already figured out, I’m a noob when it comes to this. There’s a lot to learn and a very deep ocean to start looking in (the internet). I’m really thankful to have the opportunity to ask questions about my specific issues and get help like this. So thank you! – Katjaec May 21 '16 at 10:16
  • As for now, I’m not planning on buying a new camera, so from your description it sounds like a slim version would suffice. I’m aware of the ”sky-related” issues with a wide angle lens and a CPL. I’ve seen the most amazing photos having been taken with that combination, but I’ve also seen how uneven it can make the sky look. I think I’ll have to experiment with it. I’m not sure how it would be to combine a non wide-angle lens and a CPL, though. I have a Canon EF 28-80mm f3.5/5.6 lens. That’s not wide-angle, right? So I guess using that one with the CPL, I wouldn’t run into the ”sky-issues”? – Katjaec May 21 '16 at 10:16
  • I’d never heard of step rings, that’s genious! So if I would want the filter to fit the Tokina lens (77mm) and my Canon lens (58mm), I should buy the Hoya filter in 77mm and a 58-77mm step up ring? Also, I just read that one should try to match the material that the filters and lenses are made up, however, as far as I can tell, the Tokina lens is brass and the Hoya filter is aluminium. Do you personally think it creates big issues? – Katjaec May 21 '16 at 10:16
  • Here's an article from B&H that suggests using different materials to avoid jamming. I would t worry too much about it. Buy a quality filter and it'll be made with quality materials that will work fine. – Caleb May 21 '16 at 13:59
  • Great! I've ordered the lens, filter and a step up ring now, I'll see how they go together. I was thinking about buying a protection filter that I could stack onto the Hoya CPL to protect it (or onto the Tokina lens when not using the CPL), but I've read that the more filters one adds, the more it degrades the photo quality. I've dropped that idea so far. Thank you very much for your help, Caleb! I'm excited to receive the products and start experimenting!! :) – Katjaec May 22 '16 at 8:32

I would go for the slimmer cause I like to mount more than one filter. I often work with ND Filter and Cir Pol Filter combined, for example in a creek in the woods or at sea shores.

I would recommend to buy the Hoya HD Cir Pol instead of the Pro1. It has a higher light transmission, thus it is easier too use in lower light conditions, with viewfinder and you get faster shutter speeds.

  • Thank you very much for your reply! It makes sense to buy a slim filter to leave open the opportunity of more filters. ND filter... I'm going to a place with a lot of caves we are going to sail through, would you add an ND filter to an HD Cir Pol filter in that case? – Katjaec May 21 '16 at 10:49
  • And I looked for the HD one on Danish websites... I can't find anything with the title "slim". This looks slim though...? :P daneit.dk/hoya-hoya-filter-hd-pol/cat-p/c/p2003375 – Katjaec May 21 '16 at 10:49
  • I have a Hoya HD Filter 77mm and yes, it is not called slim. But it is still slimmer than a couple of other CIR POL Filters on the market. If you want to use an ND filter in cave depends on what kind of pictures you want to take. But in caves its normally darker and thus you probably won't need it. And you can only use it on a boat for experimental photography, cause the boat is moving always a bit. But this can give you nice pics, for example I did once on a ferry, I have the nose of the ferry sharp and the surrounding landscape is all very blured. But: Tripod needed! – this.myself May 22 '16 at 21:36

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