Tiffen Circular Polarizer review: handy accessory for big contrast

We tested an essential tool that helps achieve stunning blue skies and glare-free surfaces without spending hours editing

Review - Tiffen Polarizer Filter
(Image: © Kim Bunermann/ Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Tiffen Circular Polarizer is an affordable yet effective option for enhancing contrast, colour saturation and reducing glare in photographs. This filter is made with ColorCore Glass, guaranteeing consistent color reproduction every time it's used. It provides a secure grip and performs exceptionally well even in challenging lighting conditions. One of the filter's only drawbacks is that it may produce a slightly cool color tone. Nevertheless, this filter is still an excellent choice for photographers looking for high quality and value for money.

Pros

  • +

    Good range of sizes

  • +

    Very well priced

  • +

    10-year warranty

Cons

  • -

    Slight cool cast

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If you're looking to enhance the contrast and colours of your photos while minimizing glare, investing in a polarizer filter is a wise decision. This small yet powerful tool can cut down hours of editing time, making it an essential item for any photographer's kit. 

Tiffen's ColorCore process ensures colour consistency in every application. Such consistency provides photographers with the confidence that they can rely on the filter to deliver consistent, high-quality results, regardless of the lighting conditions or environment they're shooting in.

When selecting a polarizer filter, the Circular Polarizer from Tiffen, the world's leading manufacturer and distributor of photographic glass filters, is a promising option. 

(Image credit: Kim Bunermann/ Future)

Specifications

Filter type: Circular Polarizer 
Mount: Screw-in 
Thread diameter range (mm): 25, 38, 30, 34, 37, 39, 40.5, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77, 82, 86C, 95C
Filter material: ColorCore Glass
Frame material: Aluminium 
Thickness: 2.5cm

Build & Handling

The Tiffen Circular Polarizer comes in a compact plastic container that makes it easy to carry around. The container is very sturdy and requires two hands to open, which ensures that the filter won't accidentally fall out when you're on the go. The box has a protective shield that keeps the glass safe from damage caused by contact with the plastic packaging. However, the shield only covers the back, so an additional shield would be best to secure the filter between both. Tiffen has provided a solution for this issue in the form of a Belt Filter Pouch for 4 Filters 62-82mm, which can be purchased from their store for $15.99/£15.00. 

The screw-in Polarizer filter is good to handle, thanks to its grippy aluminum ring. The filter has an anti-reflective and transmission coating and is made of high-quality ColorCore Glass to ensure color consistency every time. Such consistency provides us photographers with the confidence that we can rely on the filter to deliver consistent, high-quality results, regardless of the lighting conditions or environment we're shooting in.

(Image credit: Kim Bunermann/ Future)

Performance

The Tiffen Circular Polarizer is performing exceptionally well. The quality ring on the filter makes it easy to control the effect, giving you complete control over the final image. Even when faced with adverse weather conditions, such as an overcast sky, the filter manages to bring back color to the sky. This feature is particularly noteworthy as it effectively improves the overall quality of images, even in challenging lighting conditions.

In addition to its reflection-removing feature, the filter's great contrast enhancement is also worth mentioning. The Tiffen Circular Polarizer brings out small details like architectural ornaments, visually highlighting them while making the final image pop. The filter has good light transmission and sharpness. The only noticeable downside to this polarizer is that it causes a slightly cool cast. However, this is not too pronounced and can be quickly corrected in post-processing (if needed).

Before: Overcast day captured with a Sony A7III, Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 lens, 1/80sec, f/7.1, ISO100 (Image credit: Kim Bunermann/ Future)

After: Overcast day captured with a Sony A7III, Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 lens, 1/80sec, f/7.1, ISO100 and Tiffen Circular Polarizer (Image credit: Kim Bunermann/ Future)

Verdict

The Tiffen Circular Polarizer is a highly recommended investment for photographers seeking to enrich the contrast and hues of their images while minimizing glare and reflections. Compared to other big brands like Nikon or Hoya, Tiffen's filter provides accurate performance at a smaller price tag, showcasing their strong and high-quality standards.

Composed of ColorCore Glass, the filter ensures color consistency with every use. The filter's textured aluminum ring presents a secure grip, simplifying handling. The filter excels in challenging lighting scenarios, bringing out minute details and rendering the final image more vibrant. The filter's only discernible downside is that it may produce a slightly cool cast, which however is not significantly noticeable. 

(Image credit: Kim Bunermann/ Future)

Alternatives

Image

Are you familiar with the all-metal holder of the NX series? Have a look at the review on the Cokin NX CPL polarising filter. This filter requires a holder different from the Tiffen Circular Polarizer filter, which may be more suitable for your handling and workflow.

Unlock the potential of your photography with our expert guide to the best polarizer filter on the market. From all-rounders to high-end glass, we've ranked and reviewed 9 filters so you can make an informed choice.

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Kim Bunermann
Technique Editor

Kim is the Technique Editor of Digital Photographer Magazine. She specializes in architecture, still life and product photography and has a Master's degree in Photography and Media with a distinction from the FH Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in Germany. While studying, Kim came to the UK for an exchange term at the London College of Communication. She settled in the UK and began her career path by joining Future. Kim focuses on tutorials and creative techniques, and particularly enjoys interviewing inspiring photographers who concentrate on a range of fascinating subjects including women in photography, the climate crisis; the planet, its precious creatures and the environment.