AE-1 and Polarizing Filters : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread

I'm new to photography and I've just bought a used AE-1 at a garage sale. It appears to be in great shape, nice and clean.

There were quite a few items in the camera bag, including two circular polarizing filters. One has a rubber "hood" around it that extends out about an inch when you pull it out. What purpose would I use that filter for?

Also, is there anything special I need to do if I'm using a polarizing filter? I've read that the AE-1 has an internal light meter that it uses to set the F-Stop? (Please correct me if I'm wrong) So if I use the filter will the auto functions work correctly?

The reason I'm asking about the polarizing filters is that I live along the coast so a lot of my pictures will be taken at the beach.

Are there any other filters I should have in my bag?

Thanks in advance for the help!


-- Myron Beaver (, August 10, 2001


Hi Myron,

Pardon the lengthy response. This is what happens when a teacher answers a question!

Polarizers reduce or eliminate reflections from non-metallic surfaces. They will improve color rendition for foliage, darken blue sky, reduce reflections in glass, on painted surfaces, and on water, and reduce bluish atmospheric haze. In landscape photography, their effect is variable from "just a little" to a great deal. You can make dramatic changes in sky, reducing it to an unnatural, but perhaps effective dark blue. Polarizers work most effectively at right angles to the sun, losing effectiveness as you turn into or away from the sun. Wide angle shots may show varying degrees of sky darkening across the frame.

Rotate the polarizer in its mount and watch its effect in the viewfinder, or even in front of your eyes. You can use both polarizers together as a variable neutral density filter, but don't use it for viewing the sun, as it won't absorb damaging ultraviolet.

The hood on your filter will function just like a separate hood, reducing unwanted light entering the lens, improving contrast and color saturation by reducing flare within the lens. Is the hood truly part of the filter, or is it screwed into the filter's rotating mount? Face nearly into the afternoon sun and slowly bring your hand down towards the lens as a movable shade. Just before you see your hand in the viewfinder, you'll notice an abrupt improvement in color quality.

On automatic, your AE-1 will automatically compensate for the loss of light through the filter. You need to do nothing. The filter will cost you up to two exposure steps, so you will possibly be using slower shutter speeds as a result.

At the beach? Remove reflections from the water and glare from the sand, improve color. I like to leave some of the highlights for a more natural photograph.

With black and white film, the results are similar. Other filters? Haze and skylight filters are common for use with all films, as are yellow, orange, red, and green filters for black and white, all designed to change contrast and rendition of different colors in shades of gray. Amber and blue filters are used to correct the color of the light to match daylight and tungsten color films.

Any book on basic photography should cover all this in detail. Enjoy!

-- Alan Swartz (, August 10, 2001.

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