From 07/07 through to 12/07, both my Hoya HD CIR-PL filters arrived. I am very excited about their arrival as I have a need for better CPLs. My 50mm prime lens (with a 58mm thread – henceforth “my 58mm”) had a good enough CPL, the Hoya NXT Plus and a Gobe (one peak) as a spare. The NXT Plus is a good filter, but as I have mentioned in previous posts, it scratched way too fast. My 18-36mm wide angle lens (with a 77mm thread – henceforth “my 77mm”) has a very basic Gobe CPL (one peak).
With that, I decided to do the fun comparisons of the filters. The comparison below is between the Hoya NXT Plus, the Gobe and the Hoya HD on my 58mm. The parameters of the photos are: shutter speed 1/40, f/3.5, ISO 200.
There are a few things that just jump out at me: the Hoya HD is slightly warmer than the other two, the NXT Plus seems to have just a touch more magenta to it than the other two (even though Lightroom doesn’t agree) and is slightly darker. I also made NO CHANGE on the photos in Lightroom, just imported them and converted them to DNG and applied a lens correction. The difference in quality between the three is negligible.
The factors that come in for me to choose one over the others are: amount of light I will have available, the fact that the HD filter is scratch proof/resistant (and oil and liquid repellant etc.) and if I plan on using another filter with it. The one thing I didn’t mention, which explains the last item I mentioned, is that the HD filter is slimmer than the NXT Plus and Gobe, reducing any chance of vignetting. Considering that the Gobe filter is about half of the price of the Hoya HD, if I were buying it today, I would probably just choose the Gobe.
The comparison below is of the Gobe CPL and the Hoya HD on my 77mm. There are a few things I need to clarify about the photos.
The first thing is that I took them outside because that would be the likely place I would use my wide angle lens. The other important aspect is that I did not use any of the GND filters on it as I did not want “external factors” influencing the photos (aligning 2 filters would be complicated). Last, but not least, the photos have no editing on them other than lens correction.
The photo parameters are: shutter speed 1/125, f/9, ISO 200. The photo on the left is the image with the Gobe filter and the one on the right the Hoya HD CIR-PL filter.
Other than where the adorable dog is located in the scene (and the shadow of my head intruding in the photo), the first thing that I notice, even though very subtle, is that the gum trees are slightly brighter (maybe more pale?) on the photo of the right (Hoya). The Hoya filter is 25% brighter* and that would account for the slightly brighter image. I see no other difference in the photos for this set of filters.
The Gobe filter is also easier to use, as it has the North and South pole of the CPL marked on the metal to help point towards/perpendicular to the light source. The Hoya filter you have to use the view finder to understand which position works best for your objective.
Unless I have a specific case where I need a brighter filter due to environmental constraints, I would say that the Gobe filter is a better cost x benefit purchase. On Amazon I can get the Gobe 77mm (one peak) CPL filter for just over AUD$58, while the Hoya HD CIR-PL 77mm is over AUD$100.
* – claim made by the manufacturer. Probably in relation to their other CPL filters.
Note: I generally shorten Circular Polarizing as CPL. I shortened Circular Polarizing as CIR-PL when referring to the Hoya filters because this is how Hoya shortens it and is the only one I’ve seen doing it in this way.