Nikon Americas USA

14ArticlesRemaining

4.3 Rating
Polarizing Filters Add POW to Pictures

An Easy to Use Accessory, Polarizing Filters Bring out the Color and Definition in…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
How to Take Pictures of Water Using Long Exposures

Getting that "silky" look when photographing moving water isn't…

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.9 Rating
Landscape and Travel Photography

Ideal for those who want to take their travel & landscape photography to the next level

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Macro Photography Tips: Photographing Insects and Other Small Creatures

A few quick tips on macro photography

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
5.0 Rating
The Power and Beauty of Bears and Other Animals

When the animal in the viewfinder is a bear, this photographer knows…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
James Balog

Conservation photographer James Balog is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Top Photography Tips from Nikon School Instructors

Learn photography the easy way, at Nikon School

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Destination Latin America:

Blaine Harrington on photographing Latin America

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Using the D810A DSLR for Deep Space and Nebulae Astrophotography

Photographing Nebulae and other celestial objects with…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
For Memorable Family Vacation Photos, Focus First on Family

Tamara Lackey on taking great photos during family vacations

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Photographing the US National Parks

Chris Nicholson on photographing in the US National Parks

NEW
Read
Viewing
5.0 Rating
Joel Sartore

Conservation photographer Joel Sartore is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

NEW
Read
Viewing

Polarizing Filters Add POW to Pictures

Given the choice, you'd rather have the skies in your pictures a rich blue rather than a pale shade of washed out, right? Well, you are given the choice when you add a polarizing filter to your arsenal of imaging accessories.

Polarizing filters (often called polarizers) can help you out in another way, too: they can reduce, and sometimes even remove, unwanted reflections from your images, and in doing so often increase color saturation. But mostly they're used to make blue skies bluer and clouds stand out in dramatic fashion. It's no wonder that outdoor and nature photographers won't leave home without them.

A polarizer is actually two pieces of glass set in a filter ring that screws onto your lens. The outer piece rotates, and as you look through the viewfinder you'll see the effect of the rotation.

Polarizers are often ideal for increasing color saturation and cutting reflections during early-morning shooting when water droplets on flowers or grass or mist in the air scatters light and obscures some of the true color of the scene or the sky. A polarizer can also make a rainbow more visible and help out when you're photographing foliage by reducing reflections on leaves.

Nikon makes a line of circular polarizers designed to be used on our NIKKOR autofocus lenses and with our D-SLR cameras—which means they are made specifically to work within the Nikon system. They are exceptionally thin, optically perfect and range in size from 52mm to 77mm in diameter so they'll fit all NIKKOR lenses. Be sure you specify circular polarizers, though: they're made for today's autofocus, autoexposure D-SLRs.


Tips for taking great photos using a polarizing filter:

  • Though a polarizer is handy and versatile, it's not recommended that you keep it on your lens all the time. It will darken your view of the scene (it cuts down 1.5 to 2 f/stops of light), so if you're not out to banish reflections or increase color saturation in the sky—or in water—it's best to take it off.
  • That loss of light isn't anything to worry about when you're using a polarizer for a specific purpose, though. Your camera's meter will read the light coming through the lens and adjust to provide the correct exposure.
  • When using your polarizer to darken the sky, the direction in which you shoot is the key to getting the most dramatic effect. Here's what to do: hold your hand in pistol fashion with your index finger and thumb as the barrel and hammer, respectively. Point the barrel at the brightest part of the sky, and the hammer will be pointing at the area of the sky that will be most affected by the use of the polarizer.
  • Seeing is believing, so the best way to appreciate what a polarizer can do is to take your Nikon D-SLR and a favorite lens down to your nearest dealer on a sunny day and try one out.
  • And polarizers are just as effective when you're shooting D-Movies with your Nikon D-SLR as they are when shooting stills—and you'll see the effect of the polarizer in Live View.

Welcome to
Nikon Learn & Explore

We've made it easy to find all the videos, tutorials &
stories you care about, get tips and advice from pros,
learn new shooting techniques, discover classes and
workshops—in short, help you find new inspiration
every time you visit. (And we hope you visit often.)

Get the Learn & Explore iPhone App

Access all the photography techniques, advice and inspiration of Nikon's Learn & Explore anytime, anywhere with the free app for iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad®.
photo of two iPhones with the Nikon L&E app on the screens

Take Today's Poll

Make your opinion count and check back often to participate in new polls.

Attend Nikon School

Take your photographic knowledge to the next level; get a working understanding of your camera's features; learn how to create DSLR videos; discover how to edit your images using Capture NX2 software and more.

Butterflies photo taken by Joel Sartore, Nikon Ambassador and Nikon School logo

Subscribe to the
L&E e-Newsletter

And get great tips and techniques to try next time you go shooting!

L&E e-newsletter examples graphic

Learn photo & video terms!

Learn & Explore features an expansive glossary of over 800 photographic terms. Visit the L&E glossary to learn about specific Nikon camera features or more general photographic or video terms and definitions. Browse the glossary by letter, number or icon.
glossary graphic
Nikon Photo Contest 2016-2017 logo

Nikon Photo Contest 2016-2017

Nikon is once again announcing the dates of its global photo contest. The entry period will extend from October 17, 2016 through January 27, 2017. Visit the website to learn about the categories, find out how to enter and more.