Recently I came across a set of slot-in filters with decent quality and price, but the main downside was the use of a polarisation filter. It requires a 105mm filter, which costs a fortune.

Isn't it possible to just buy a smaller polarizer and put it between the adapter for the filterholder and the lens?

I want to buy a set of 100mm filters with the Cokin Z-Pro filter holder. Cokin offers a polarizer, but I've read it isn't worth buying because the lack of quality. I'd rather buy a B+W polarizer for ~$120.

By the way, I'm using a Nikon D7200 and Sigma 17–50mm (filter thread is 77mm).

So this would be the order: D7200 -> Sigma 17–50mm -> Polarizer -> filter holder adapter -> filter holder -> 100mm filters.

  • I suspect people will need more branding/model/size information to tell you if a specific one exists, but there are back-slot filters for some lenses, such as the Nikon super-teles, and polarizers are available for those.
    – Linwood
    Jul 17 '17 at 11:46
  • Thanks for the comment. I added some additional information to my question.
    – user65796
    Jul 17 '17 at 12:09

Yes you can do this. There is no problem, from an optical standpoint, doing this.

As mentioned in other answers, polarizers need to be able to rotate to the correct polarization angle in order to be effective.

I own the Lee Filter System, and have done exactly what you are trying to do. It is only a slight hassle to deal with trying to rotate the polarizer behind the filter holder.

If the square filter holder "snaps" on, rather than screws on, to the lens or the filter holder adapter, this is ideal. You can leave the filter holder off the lens, compose your scene, adjust the polarizer, then use a piece of tape (such as gaffer's tape — I always carry gaffer tape in my bag) to keep the polarizer from rotating while I fiddle with the filter holder.

I also own, and rarely use, a 95 mm in front of the filter holder. From experience, there is actually a very good reason not to use a large CPL in front of the filter holder, and prefer to use a CPL mounted directly onto the lens: there is no possibility of light leak behind a filter that is screwed onto a lens.

With a filter holder, you have to be careful to shield the tops, bottoms, and sides of the filters from stray light entering between the filters. A CPL mounted in front of the stack also suffers from this problem. Every flat glass (or resin) surface in front a lens is a potential reflection problem, and that problem is exacerbated if light can enter from the sides, between or behind filters.

Finally, there is currently another option on the market. NiSi makes a 100mm × 100mm filter holder that comes with a thin CPL that screws in inside the filter adapter ring, behind the filter stack. The base of the filter holder has a friction thumbwheel to allow you to rotate the CPL mounted inside. The filter is decent, and the holder is nicer (in my opinion) than Cokin's. Also, it comes in a rather nice leather protective box, reminiscent of older photographic lens and camera cases.

  • 1
    [link] (srb-photographic.co.uk) do a similar filter system in the uk.
    – dmkonlinux
    Jul 17 '17 at 18:56
  • @patricksnitjer Appreciated, but there's no need for explicit "thank you" comments at Stack Exchange sites. If a question or answer is interesting, useful, or otherwise "thank you"-worthy, upvote it (the up arrow to the left of the post). The poster get reputation points, and you do too. BTW, welcome to Photo.SE! =)
    – scottbb
    Jul 17 '17 at 20:03
  • 1
    "There is no problem, from an optical standpoint, doing this." Well, except maybe vignetting when doing it with a 17mm lens.
    – Michael C
    Jul 21 '17 at 19:37

Good filters that are optical flats can be installed before, after and between the lens elements. A polarizer fits this category, but -- effective use of a polarizer requires that it be rotated. Because of the nature of polarized light, we compose and rotate the filter for effect. If the polarizer can easily be rotated after insertion, it will work just fine -- otherwise nix. Keep in mind a modern digital camera may require a specialized polarizer called a "circular". Older polarizers are "linier". A linear can hamper the auto-focus and the exposure determination systems.

  • Thank you for your answer. I'll definitely look for a circular polarizer. Thanks for the tip!
    – user65796
    Jul 17 '17 at 17:36

Yes, you can. It will be a bit awkward - a polarizer rotates, so your "slot in" filters will rotate too; this might be a bother with grads. But it will work.

One note though: consider that the big & expensive polarizer will be one off purchase for your filter set. When you decide to add another lens (it never is "if and when"; there will always be yet another lens) with a different filter diameter the big filter will still fit. In the end you might save money by buying big.

  • Thanks for replying! That is one of the cons of that system, yes. But most of the lenses I want to buy for my D7200 are 77mm.
    – user65796
    Jul 17 '17 at 17:34

The only caveat you might experience is vignetting at the 17mm end of your Sigma 17-50mm lens. Stacking a polarizer, an adapter ring (for the Cokin Z-Pro system this is required), and then a holder will more than likely cause some of the adapter ring or filter holder to be in the camera's field of view with the lens zoomed all the way out to 17mm, even with an APS-C camera. Normally the way to reduce the likelihood of vignetting with a wide angle lens and a polarizer is to buy a 'slim' polarizer. But in this instance, a 'slim' polarizer will reduce the gap you need between the lens and filter holder to reach the polarizer to adjust the angle of polarization.

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