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How to use a circular polarizing filter

Using a circular polarizer filter effectively requires a bit of know-how and practice, but it's not as complicated as it might seem at first glance. Just follow these steps:

  • Attach the filter: Screw the CPL filter onto your camera lens. Check that it's securely attached but not overly tightened.
  • Find the right angle: To achieve the best effect, position yourself so that the sun is roughly at a 90-degree angle to your shooting direction. You can use the “L” rule of thumb: make an "L" shape with your thumb and index finger, pointing the thumb at the sun; the direction your index finger points is the direction in which the polarizer has the maximum effect.
  • Set the focus: Some cameras may struggle to autofocus through a polarizing filter. To ensure sharp focus, adjust the focus manually.
  • Rotate the filter: Circular polarizing filters have a rotatable outer ring that allows you to adjust the level of polarization. Rotate it while looking at your camera’s LCD screen or viewfinder. You'll notice changes in reflections and colours as you turn the filter. Rotate it until you achieve the desired effect.

How to take off a polarizing filter

Remove any lens caps and hoods and after carefully unscrew the filter from your lens, making sure not to force it. Keep your filter in a protective case to prevent scratches and damage when not in use.

When to use a circular polarizing filter

CPL filters work best when there is a lot of light. They are incredibly versatile and can help you take better photos in various situations.

Reducing reflections

The most common case of using a circular polarizer is for removing reflections. When photographing through windows, glass or other reflective surfaces, a CPL filter can help to eliminate them and capture what’s behind the glass with clarity.

Shooting water scenes

When you want to shoot a landscape with a sea, river or lake where you can see through the water, a circular polarizing filter is something that you need. By reducing reflections on the water’s surface, the filter will reveal the submerged textures and details. This can make a photo more interesting and deep. A CPL filter will also remove reflections from wet stones and rocks allowing to capture their true colour without highlighted spots.


Capturing photos of foliage

Circular polarizing filters reduce glare and reflections also on the leaves. This enriches the colours of foliage, flowers and other vegetation. As a result, greens, yellows and reds become more vibrant and intense.

Photographing the sky

When shooting landscapes with the sky, a circular polarizer can be used to deepen the blue hues of the sky, making the sky more vibrant and clouds stand out.


Enhancing colours

A circular polarizing filter intensifies colours making them a bit darker and richer. The photos taken with it have a better contrast.

When NOT to use a polarizing filter

Even though a CPL filter is a really handy and useful tool in photography, in some situations it’s better to leave it off.

Keeping the reflections

Sometimes, you may want to include some reflections for artistic effect. For example, if you're aiming to capture reflections of coloured light, such as sunlight dancing on water, it's better to skip the polarizer. These reflections can add interest and depth to your images, and the filter will just ruin the artistic part.

Hall Abendrot
Hall Abendrot at sunset captured by Florian Orth

Shooting in low light/at night

When shooting in low light or at night, the reflections usually are not a problem. On the contrary, you may need to add more light to capture the details of the scene. With the circular polarizing filter reducing the light by around 2 stops, you risk taking an underexposed image. It’s not a good idea to use a CPL filter in the blue hour either.

When shooting with the sun behind you

The polarization is most effective when the light source is at a 90-degree angle to your shooting direction, so if the sun is right behind you there won’t be much effect.

Shooting panoramas

When capturing panoramic scenes, using a circular polarizer can lead to uneven polarization and darkened parts of the image. If you want to maintain consistent brightness and colour saturation across the panorama, it's best not to use the filter.

Using wide-angle lenses

Similarly to the issue with shooting panoramas, wide-angle lenses do not allow for an even polarization. When using a CPL filter with this type of lens, you are most likely to get dark patches on the sky and vignetting.

Using polarizing filters in different types of photography

Now that you know what effects you can achieve with a circular polarizing filter, let’s see how they can help in different types of photography:

  • Landscape photography: Rich blue skies, transparent water bodies with aquatic life, vibrant colours – that’s what CPL is used for.
  • Architectural photography: Eliminate annoying reflections on glass buildings to capture clean and crisp shots of urban scenes.
  • Product photography: Remove unwanted reflections from the products to show their true look. Particularly useful when shooting jewellery and watches.
  • Car photography: By reducing glare and reflections from shiny surfaces with a CPL filter, you can capture the true colour and texture of the car.
  • Outdoor portraits: Reduce glare from the skin and improve the overall contrast of the image.

Tips for effective use of circular polarizing filter

  1. Avoid over-polarization: Always check how the image looks like on the screen and adjust the filter before shooting. Too much polarization can make your skies look unnaturally dark.
  2. Adjust the filter: Lighting conditions can change rapidly, especially when shooting outdoors. Do not forget to adjust the CPL filter accordingly as you move from one scene to another or as the sun changes position throughout the day.
  3. Check the settings: A circular polarizing filter reduces the light entering the lens by around 2 stops. You may need to compensate for the correct exposure.
  4. Practice, practice and more practice: Experiment with different settings, scenes, and filter combinations to find what works best for your unique style.


Explore Kase polarizing filters


K150 SkyEye Square CPL Polarizing Filter 150x150mm
Ein CPL (zirkularer Polarisationsfilter oder kurz Pol-Filter) ist ein sehr nützlicher Filter, der Reflexionen und Spiegelungen von Wasser und anderen reflektierenden Oberflächen entfernt. Der KaseFilters Square CPL hilft dabei, die Farb-Sättigung zu erhöhen, sodass die kraftvoller wirken. Bitte beachten Sie, dieser Filter gehört zu Kase Sky Eye Serie und besitzt nicht die bruchsichere Beschichtung der Wolverine-Filter. Die ausgezeichneten optischen Eigenschaften des B270 Glases bleiben jedoch bestehen. Lieferumfang: 1x K150 Polfilter 150x150mm 1x Aufbewahrungscase
In Stock

€219.90*
150mm Magnetic Polarising Filter CPL for K150P Filter Holder
The magnetic 150mm polarising filter fits perfectly with the K150P filter holder including the corresponding polarising filter insert.The polarising filter has our multi-coating which makes the filter protective and oil-repellent.The polarising filter can be freely rotated in the K150P filter holder with the corresponding insert.Scope of delivery: 1x 150mm CPL Filter K150P
In Stock

€229.90*
ROUND Wolverine Magnetic polarizing filter CPL
Our magnetic Wolverine round filters are made of tempered optical glass and therefore have excellent imaging performance, extremely low color shift and high impact resistance. In photography, polarizing filters are often used to minimize light reflections or to increase the intensity of natural blue and green tones and also to increase the contrast range. Remove unwanted reflections and glare on surfaces such as glass or water with a turn of the CPL filter. This correction can usually no longer be implemented in post-processing due to the lack of image information. The magnetic polarization filter is supplied with a matching magnetic adapter ring, which can also be used with our magnetic ND filters with the same diameter. Frame material: Aluminum / magnetic strip Material Glas: tempered optical glassScope of delivery:1x ROUND Wolverine polarizing filter1x storage box
In Stock

From €69.90*
K75 Magnetic polarizing filter CPL
Discover the innovative performance of the K75 series round magnetic polarizing filter. With its high-quality aluminum and optical glass construction and precise optics, this filter offers an impressive filtering effect. Reduce unwanted reflections and improve the color intensity of your photos with ease. Thanks to the magnetic design, the polarizing filter can be easily attached to and removed from the K75 filter holder. Experience improved image quality and creative freedom in photography with the round magnetic polarizing filter from the K75 series.Scope of delivery:1x K75 polarizing filter
In Stock

€89.90*
ROUND Wolverine Magnetic polarizing filter CPL
Diameter: 49mm
Our magnetic Wolverine round filters are made of tempered optical glass and therefore have excellent imaging performance, extremely low color shift and high impact resistance. In photography, polarizing filters are often used to minimize light reflections or to increase the intensity of natural blue and green tones and also to increase the contrast range. Remove unwanted reflections and glare on surfaces such as glass or water with a turn of the CPL filter. This correction can usually no longer be implemented in post-processing due to the lack of image information. The magnetic polarization filter is supplied with a matching magnetic adapter ring, which can also be used with our magnetic ND filters with the same diameter. Frame material: Aluminum / magnetic strip Material Glas: tempered optical glassScope of delivery:1x ROUND Wolverine polarizing filter1x storage box
In Stock

€69.90*
Tip
ROUND KW Revolution Magnetic CPL polarizing filter
Diameter: 112mm
Our magnetic round filters from the KW Revolution series are made of the same tempered glass as our Wolverine rectangular filters and therefore have the same excellent imaging performance, extremely low color shift and high impact resistance. In photography, polarizing filters are often used to minimize light reflections or to increase the intensity of natural blue and green tones and also to increase the contrast range. Remove unwanted reflections and glare on surfaces such as glass or water with a turn of the CPL filter. This correction can usually no longer be implemented in post-processing due to the lack of image information. The magnetic polarization filter is supplied with a matching magnetic adapter ring, which can also be used with our magnetic ND filters with the same diameter./span> Frame material: Aluminum / magnetic strip Glass material: tempered optical glass Scope of delivery: 1x Round KW Revolution Magnetic CPL Polarizing Filter (Silver Frame) 1x magnetic adapter ring for screwing onto the lens 1x storage box
In Stock

Variants from €89.90*
€159.90*
Sold out
ROUND Screw In CPL II Circular Polarization Filter
Unsere Zirkular-Polarisationsfilter der CPL II-Serie sind aus hochpräzisem optischem B270-Glas gefertigt und mit einer speziellen Beschichtung versehen, die den Filter kratzfester sowie wasser- und ölabweisend macht. Fotografen verwenden häufig Polarisationsfilter, um Lichtreflexionen zu minimieren oder Farben zu intensivieren. Achtung: Dieser Polfilter ist nicht magnetisch. Wenn Sie einen magnetischen Polarisationsfilter suchen, schauen Sie bitte in die Kategorien magnetische Rundfilter oder in die Kategorie CPLs.
Not In Stock

Variants from €49.00*
€89.00*
K150 SkyEye CPL Polarizing Filter 150x150mm
A CPL (circular polarizing filter or polarizer for short) is a particularly useful filter that removes reflections and glare from water and other reflective surfaces. The Kases Rectangular Polarizing Filter helps to enhance colour saturation, making colours look more vibrant. Please note, this filter is part of our SkyEye series and does not have the shockproof coating of the Wolverine filters. However, the excellent optical properties of the B270 glass are retained. Scope of delivery: 1x 150mm polarizing filter 1x storage bag
Not In Stock - Preorder possible

€229.90*
Magnetic CPL Polarising 95mm Filter ARMOUR Series
The Kase Wolverine series filters have garnered acclaim for their optical superiority through independent reviews. Their toughened glass construction provides both durability and peace of mind. These filters introduce virtually no colour cast, ensuring true-to-scene colour capture. The optical quality guarantees no loss of sharpness. The special nano-metallic electro-coatings make the Kase Wolverine filters scratch-resistant, water-repellent, anti-reflective, and easy to clean. This ensures a hassle-free experience in the field, regardless of the shooting conditions. The Kase Armour enhances the benefits of the Wolverine series by offering added protection to the filters, streamlining the filter usage process, and ensuring a confident photography experience even in the harshest conditions. Scope of delivery: 1x 95mm Armour Circular CPL filter
In Stock

€145.91*
K100 SkyEye CPL Polarizing Filter 100x100mm
A CPL (circular polarizing filter or polarizer for short) is a very effective tool for removing reflections and glare from water and other reflective surfaces. This rectangular CPL filter from Kase helps to increase the saturation of colours, making them look more vibrant. Please note, this filter is part of our SkyEye series and does not have the impact-resistant coating of the Wolverine filters. However, the excellent optical properties of the B270 glass are retained. Scope of delivery: 1x 100mm CPL filter 1x storage bag
In Stock

€159.90*