Do we need a CPL Filter?

For thoose that don't know what a CPL filter [circular polarizer filter] is, I will try to explain what is it's purpose and you can decide on your own if you need it.

Let's imagine this:

"You just came back from your vacation on the seaside and you download your pictures from your camera. You look at them but you don't see that blue water that was right there beside you. You only see the reflection of the sunlight and you wonder: why is that? Where are the pictures with clear sea water, with clear reef and colorful fishes?"

Waterslide on river shore

Well, you should have used a CPL Filter.

Rocky cliffs on coast line

What is a CPL Filter?

It's a filter that you mount on your lens and has a ring that rotates so you can get the best out of it?

What does a CPL Filter do?

It's simple.

1. It removes the reflections from non-metal surfaces. Like water, glass, car paint and others;

2. It increases the contrast;

3. It makes the sky a little darker [useful in some conditions];

How much does it cost?

It's not a big investment. You can find a good CPL Filer starting from 25-30$ but it can get up to 150$.

I saw on the market CPL Filers for less than 15$ but I don't recomment thoose because the glass is not MC [MultiCoated] and you can get unwanted reflections in your photos.

How can I choose the CPL Filer for my camera?

Find out what is the diameter of your lenses. You can usualy read this info from the front part of your lens, near the glass or it should be written in the lens manual.

You can buy a used filter but take a good look at it for scratches.

I wanted to explain things as simple as I can, so everyone can understand it.

So, if you feel that a CPL Filter would help you get better photos go for it!

As for me, there will be no trip to the seaside, to a lake or a carshow without this filter in my poket!

Good luck everyone and happy shooting!

Photo credits: Andrei Tailup.

Your article must be written in English

October 21, 2014


Agreed - they are still handy. Here is a side by side comparison on my blog: CPL is still useful

October 20, 2014


Good info, thanks for sharing. Myself have faced this problem of not getting blue water, some reflection problem. Now I got Hoya CPL in my bag.

October 18, 2014


Thank you Brett for your notice! I edited and add the complete name.

October 18, 2014


Just for clarity some know it as a Circular Polarizer filter rather than just the abbreviation. Great to have in your kit bag, does wonders on green vegetation to, for the best results shoot with the sun behind you and not in to it. You sometimes have to watch out as it can confuse your camera if you shoot in auto, sometime a little exposure compensation needs to be added.

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