Difference Between a Linear And Circular Polarizer

A perfect photo is one that has good details and vibrant colours. The lens of a normal camera can capture the photo with its own resolution accompanied by some enhancements of the software but it may not be enough for the social media posts or for making albums. Therefore many filters are used to enhance the quality of the photo which includes, tuning brightness, contrast levels, saturation and many more.

One such filter which is mostly used by every photographer is a Polarizing filter that is placed in front of the lens of the camera for several enhancements such as reflection management, glare suppression from the surface of seas and lakes and darkening of skies as well. There are basically two types of polarizers which are normally used to enhance the pictures to a great extent. They are

  • Linear polarizer: – Linear polarizer is a device that allows the passage of only certain selected orientation of plane-polarized light while every single orientation only one vertically polarized light can be allowed. However, with the rotation of 90°, the passage of only horizontally polarized can be allowed through this device. Apart from this, a 45° of rotation can allow the passage of only a polarized light of 45°.

Uses of linear polarizers: – 

  • Elimination of reflections: – Many partial reflecting surfaces such as glass and water often reflect a single linearly polarized component strongly which is incoming from the randomly polarized light of the camera. A linear polarizer film can suppress this reflection as it can be tuned to allow the passage of only certain orientations.
  • Saturation enhancements: – The need for saturation is often faced by photographers due to low lighting or dull climate conditions. This polarizer can eliminate the light reflected from some vibrant things such as leaves and grass and enhances the saturation of the subject.
  • Darkening the sky: – With a rotation of 90° from the position of the sun, this filter can darken the sky by allowing the passage of the selected orientation of the sky. The light scattered from the sun is blocked out by the polarizing component.
  • Circular polarizer: – A circular polarizer is basically a polarizer with the linear polarizing component in it which means it can perform the task of the linear polarizer as well as a quarter-wave plate. The operation of linear polarizer doesn’t change but the addition of a quarter-wave plate which is located on the back of linear polarizer film with a specific orientation which leads to circularly polarized output.

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As far as the photographic results are concerned, circular polarizers act just like a linear polarizer but with a few enhancements such as elimination of metering errors which are often obtained by linear polarizers. However, one should surely use the circular polarizer in cameras as the exposure errors formed by the linear polarizers can totally disrupt the quality of photos in some surroundings.

Slide films can turn the pictures into disasters if the only linear polarizer is used, which is why a circular polarizer is surely the safe zone for clicking any kind of pictures in any lighting conditions.

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