Videographer and photographer, Lane Peters, recently returned home from a trip to Southern Italy where he toured the island of Capri, Sicily and the Amalfi Coast. Before he left, we sent him along with a few different Breakthrough polarizing filters. Why would you want to use a polarizing filter, you may ask? We will discuss two main reasons below:
It Cuts Out Glare and Reflective Properties
For instance, when shooting large bodies of water, rocks or even some leaves with reflective properties, that’s going to cut that glare completely out.
It Deepens Your Colors
Since it deepens your colors, it will give you a much richer and more saturated look. What a lot of people don’t realize, is that it also expands your dynamic range in-camera. By cutting out those top highlights, you’re able to better expose for your shadows, without blowing out the top of the curve. This is extremely helpful in high contrast images. Such as a sunrise or sunset for example. Now that deep saturation is going to be more obvious in your blues and your greens, so your skies will appear darker and your plant life will be much more vibrant.
This effect can simply be turned on or off by simply rotating the filter at 180 degrees. These filters have two parts–one will screw into the lens while the other is free moving so that you can adjust it according to your desired results. Breakthrough makes a variety of ND, UV and polarizing filters. One of our favorites is an all-in-one combination of a neutral density and a polarizer. This filter is key because it allows you to do two very important things. The first is it allows you to shoot slow shutter speeds right in the middle of the day. In the image below, Lane used Breakthrough’s 6-stop circular polarizer. This cut the reflective properties of the water and allowed him to shoot up to two seconds at F16.
The other thing it allows you to do is take advantage of your prime lenses. If you want to shoot at F-stops like 1.4 in the middle of the day, sometimes it can be too bright to do that even at high shutter speeds like 1/8000 of a second. If you want to give your images a little bit of movement and like to shoot slow at 1/20 or 1/30 of a second, in the middle of the day you most likely won’t be able to do so without a neutral density filter.
Every polarizer regardless of what brand you use is going to have a slight tint to it. Breakthrough claims to have the least amount of color distortion, so we had Lane put it to the test. When placed side by side as seen in the image below, you can tell the other brand had a much more sepia tone which you can see in the skies while the Breakthrough was much more true to life and accurate.
The manufacturing of Breakthrough filters is slightly different, they are made from brass rather than aluminum. They are also much more durable and less prone to getting dinged or crushed. Additionally, they have these rigid knobs on the outside which make them easy to separate when you are stacking filters.
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