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Polarized filters - CPL filters for cameras and sunglasses

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Florian Rossmark
Member Moderator Vetted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 63
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In order to remove the glare from water you need a polarized filter on your camera lens / camera objective and for your sunglasses.

There is a lot of confusion out there and in this case, the price can make a huge difference.

In general:

  • Linear polarized
    • works best to remove glare from water
    • interferes with the auto-focus of cameras 
  • Circular polarized (CPL filter)
    • works OK to remove glare from water
    • does NOT interfere with the auto-focus of your camera
  • Polarized filter with circular infrared filtering (PL-CIR filter)
    • made primarily to work with infrared light
    • works OK to remove glare from water


Normally you would always get a CPL-Filter, as these do not interfere with the auto-focus and are most versatile.

On cameras these filters normally can be rotated, about every 90 degrees the angle flips and removes the glare or not. The ankle towards the water and sun reflection plays a role as well. 

Generally, it is to recommend pointing on a shallow clear water area and turn the filter until you see most of the bottom and remove the glare. This is especially important if you work with a drone and an attached CPL filter. You want to adjust the filter before you fly the drone and while flying you want to approach the water from different angles so you can be sure you get the most glare removed and the most out of your footage.

These filters also have the ability to remove some of the reflection caused by the fish slime, what removes the shiny area to some extent and makes to picture look more even and professional.

Pricewise is it smart to do some research. If you go ultra cheap you probably will be disappointed, as the filters often don't have a huge effect or cause other color issues (yellow staining etc.). Now, you won't need to invest hundreds of dollars, for professional grade filters, but at least spend some 20-30 dollars for a halfway decent one. 

Additionally, you get some protection of your lens as the filter is on top of it and protects it to some degree.


In the case of sunglasses, there is a huge difference as well. The recommendation is to buy glasses made for fishing, especially for fly-fishing, if you really want to look into the depths. This specific sector has a huge need for such polarized glasses and got really good at it. But be aware, they can get pricy quick. Mid-Level does it for our kind of water-crafting most of the time as well. 

Cheap sunglasses again will work only in very specific angles and rather unsatisfying.

Florian Rossmark
Germany / USA - Carp Angler