The Disadvantages of Using a Polarizing Filter
1. Nothing man made comes without its darker side (pun intended). The main disadvantage of using a polarizer is that it effectively cuts off almost 2 stops of light. You’d have realized it’s the flip side of point 6 mentioned in the previous page. The loss of 2 stops may not be an issue in bright daylight, but while shooting in dim light, dawn, dusk or while shooting moving objects, it can make a huge difference.
2. The effect of a polarizing filter is not uniform across the whole frame. The effect is maximal at an angle of 90 degree to the sun, and gradually tapers off on both sides. The non-uniformity is even more prominent when using a wide angle lens, which is what many people use for shooting landscapes.
3. At high altitudes, over-polarization may cause extreme darkening of the sky and photos may look unnatural.
4. Another issue of using a polarizing filter with a wide angle lens is that the polarizer is quite a thick a filter; its edges may block some incoming light, causing darkening of the corners of the photo, known as vignetting.
5. It’s very tricky to photo-stitch a panorama taken with a polarizer on. Each photo gets polarized differently and the final ‘stitched’ photo would have very unevenly coloured skies.
6. Linear polarizing filters often give focus errors with modern auto-focus cameras with TTL (through the lens) metering. The way out is to only use circular polarizing filters with such cameras.
7. Polarizing filters work best in bright sunny conditions. They’re not of much use in cloudy, overcast weather or indoors.