Reading books and articles online, a circular polarizer (CPL) is very often described as Gods gift to mankind, it reduce glare, gives the sky more definition, and over all enriches, the colors in your photographs. As long as you have a polarizer, you are golden.
If I Could Turn Back Time - Volume SeventeenNo CPL I’m telling you that you are wrong, or more correctly, if you have a camera that doesn’t handle high ISO very well, you do not want to get a CPL because you will get noise issues. Why? Because polarizers can steal up to three stops of light. This means that, if you for example are at ISO 200 with a shutter and aperture that you are happy with and you mount a CPL that steals three stops of light, you need to dial in ISO 1600 in order to be able to keep your shutter and aperture settings !
I know what you are saying, ISO 1600 is nothing these days, in most cases you are right. Three stops is a exaggeration, two stops are more like it, again in some cases, you are right.
The bottom line….before you consider buying a CPL. Ask yourself, in what situations will you be using it and at what ISO are you normally at in those situations ? At what ISO levels are you comfortable? In other words, will you get a noise penalty when using a CPL and if so, is it worth it ?
If you found this post interesting, I recommend that you to read the excellent article “Understanding ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture – A Beginner’s Guide”.
Why you say, I love my JPEG’s straight out of my camera ?! Why not I say, generally speaking there’s no reason NOT to shot RAW, or at least RAW + JPG. The only valid reason not to shoot RAW that I can think of is if you need crazy high burst rates and shooting RAW doesn’t give you what you need.
Let me start with a list of non valid reasons not to shoot RAW.
Lightroom Camera Calibration
I could do a long list of the reasons why you should shoot RAW but there are plenty of those around on the internet. I’ll try and be brief and get to the point straight away.
The main reason to shoot RAW is the time factor, the human factor. You change over time and even though you love your Fujifilm’s ‘Classic Chrome’ JPG’s today, you might hate them five years from now. If you do, you will find that you have pretty much painted yourself into a corner. Sure you can edit the JPG’s but not nearly as much as you can edit the RAW’s. It’s like night and day almost, the RAW files have so much more information and therefore much greater editing latitude.
So…do yourself a favour, shoot RAW, be ware of the time factor !