What Is CPL filter? (How To Use) Ultimate Guide 2022 (Updated)

CPL filter

We all know how fast today’s photographic community is growing. It has become the center of attention within a few years. From promising journalists to aspiring writers, no one can complete his portfolio without the aid of good photography. That may sound overwhelming but photographers do have the power to inform us, to influence us, to motivate us, and to inspire us! 

People prefer the CPL filter over the ND filter. The main story behind CPL vs ND filters is that a CPL filter enhances the color of an image while ND filters don’t. For example Hoya CPL filter. CPL filters are playing a significant role in broadening the context of the world’s history. But there is a specific way of using it. 

So, how to use the CPL filters in a most promising way. Adjust the filter by rotating and twisting it from the back end to gain its maximum benefits. In this article, we will tell you about how you adjust your filters for good quality photography. Keep reading it

CPL filter
CPL filter

What Is a CPL Filter?

CPL filter
CPL filter

CPL is the abbreviation of Circular Polarizer Liner. CPL  is a glass that a photographer attaches to its camera lens. It enhances your camera taken picture on an LCD screen. The purpose of using this filter is to reduce the glare from reflective surfaces.

The reflective surfaces can be the light emerging on the surface of water or a glass window. The best circular polarizing filter reduces that glare, filters out the polarized light and produces an attractive image. The trees become greener, surfaces become sharper and clearer through this filter.

How Does a CPL Filter Work?

CPL filter
CPL filter

The light that comes from Sun is an unpolarized light. When it reflects off something, we determine the color of the object. Since this light travels in a single, polarised direction, it creates a glare. This process ultimately reduces the color intensity of a reflected surface. The CPL filter works by blocking these wave movement directions so that the polarised light removes. 

A CPL filter is a lens that you can put over your existing dash cam lens to reduce glare and reflection. It ultimately restores color intensity and the glare and reflections are removed. But this all depends upon how much you rotate the filter and at what degree angle.

Types of CPL Filters

There are two main types of polarizing filters. Those filters are as follows:

1. Circular Polarizing Filter

Circular Polarizing Filter
Circular Polarizing Filter

A circular polarizing filter offers great versatility for use according to the ranges of camera types. They are the most suitable for all DSLR cameras. It passes circularly polarized light waves through the lens. A circular polarizing filter is very much similar to that of a linear polarizer but the main difference is that it has an extra glass behind it called a quarter-wave plate, which circularly polarizes light. This produces better image.

2. Linear Polarizing Filter

Linear Polarizing Filter
Linear Polarizing Filter

Linear polarizing filter lets horizontal or vertical light waves to enter it.  They interfere with auto-focusing functioning and create light metering errors in the camera. While talking about the Circular polarizer vs linear polarizer comparison, we can say that a circular polarization refers to the light that moves at a constant speed. Whereas in linear polarization, the light oscillates or vibrates in a single direction.

Currently, the Circular Polarizer Liner filter is available in many types. But circular model type is the most commonly available and used type of CPL filter. One of the reasons behind its popularity is that it can fit any camera lens easily.

READ ALSO: The Best historical lenses

How to Use a CPL Filter?

Mastering the art of polarized filters may take years. But it all starts with understanding the basic concepts. We want you to know the basics first. As we told you above the Circular Polarizer Liner filter is available in many types. But we suggest you to pick a circular model type as it is easy to use, especially for beginners. Once you get the circular model CPL Filter, follow the below-given steps to use it:

  • Rotate the filter to get rid of unwanted wavelengths and prevent them from hitting your camera sensors.
  • Make sure to check the angle between the subjects of your light source.
  • Set your lens at an angle of 90 degrees. But if you think you can yield better results with a different angle, don’t hesitate to change the angle.
  • Don’t twist the polarizer to full effect, only if you feel the results are better with a full twist. You must keep in mind that this twist can make your frame look unnatural. So make this change only if you want your scene to look unnatural.
  • Always remember that there is going to be a loss of light while using CPL filter and you might have to compensate the light a bit to get the correct exposure.
  • To get the maximum benefit and the best result using a CPL filter, avoid using a lens wider than 24mm.
  • Sometimes using the CPL filter at maximum degree might result in color variation, especially while using it on a wide-angle lens so check the lens and adjust it according to your needs.

Keep in mind that the purpose of using these filters is only to make a fine-tune. Filters can completely alter the photos if not used wisely. So be careful about that.

Where and When You Can Use a CPL Filter?

CPL filter
CPL Filter

As a photographer, you must know that one filter can’t be used on every photo or in every scenario. For instance, if someone wants natural skies, he will use a different filter as compared to that filter that he may use to get rid of extra light in the frame. People like to take pictures in sunlight. The two options that they have is CPL and UV filter. Photography enthusiasts prefer CPL filter because it gives clearer picture.

When talking about CPL vs UV filter, UV filters can decrease the climatic haze in the picture but it doesnot produce much more effect. CPL filter works best when you want to enhance and adjust the coloring, lightening and other features according to your choice. 

CPL filter
CPL Filter

As you can see the result of Canon CPL filter before and after. Keeping in view the above fact we have compiled a few scenarios where you can use Circular Polarizer Linear filter. Consider the below-given scenarios and use a CPL filter to its fullest.

Get rid of Glass Reflection

Struggling to take photos from inside the window due to the glass pane? No more! Circular Polarizer Liner filter can get rid of all the extra light and reflection that usually destroy the shots taken from inside of the glass window pane.

Create Dramatic Skies

Are you obsessed with dark and dramatic skies? Well, who isn’t! But capturing those skies is a task itself. Circular Polarizer Linear filters are best for attaining that dark and dramatic sky looks. The best part about the CPL filters is they create dramatic skies without giving an unnatural look to a photo. CPL filter for Iphone creates dramatic sky colors by adding those superb bluish shades.

Create Haze Free Photos

Clear skies look breathtakingly beautiful. But haze makes it difficult for us to capture haze-free skies. Here is when CPL filters come to use. CPL filters can remove the haze from the photos and make your scenes look clearer and brighter.

When not to Use a Polarizing Filter?

Don’t use a circular polarizer unless you are seeking the effects that a polarizer will give you, e.g., darkening blue skies 90-degrees from the sun, reducing reflections on wet rocks, reducing reflections when shooting through glass, etc.

Unlike your typical UV filter, a circular polarizer significantly reduces the amount of light that reaches your sensor, so you don’t want to have it on all the time. Use it only when you need it. A polarizing filter produces clear view, better flair and hence should be used for only these purposes. 

Things To Consider While Buying a New Camera

If you are planning to buy a new Camon or Hoya CPL filter for photography, you should consider these things: 

1. Avoid buying bi diagonal lens

The bi-diagonal lenses produce very distant pictures. The picture is blur and not so good. These lenses are often used to capture far away things. Example; mountains or landscapes. Normal portrait photography is not supported by the bi-diagonal lens and it may cause problems.

2. Buy Those Lenses Which Cut Deflection

Avoiding deflection is the key to capture a perfect picture. You should always choose those lenses which cut the deflection of the light. Removing unnecessary light enhances the quality of the picture and make it look more beautiful and eye catching.

3. Avoid Using Maximum Polarisation Lenses

The maximum polarisation lenses make all the light fall on the camera lens. It captures the picture but doesnot enhance it. Sometimes we should prefer maximum polarisation lenses but not always. Maximum plarisation lenses should be avoided when used in daylight when sun is on its peak.

We hope our guide will help you in using CPL filters and making the most out of them!

Scroll to Top