Before you decide which circular polarizer you want to buy, you should figure out what you’re looking for in a circular polarizer.
Four important things to keep in mind when shopping for a circular polarizer are: the size of the frame, whether the circular polarizer casts color on your images, whether the circular polarizer uses a hydrophobic coating, and the type of glass used.
If your circular polarizer features a thick rim, then the chances of vignetting on the edges of your photo drastically increase, so slim circular polarizers are best.
You also don’t want your circular polarizer to add any colors to your photos - you’re looking for hyper-neutral results instead.
Finally, the top circular polarizers should use a hydrophobic coating to keep water at bay, and higher transmission glass, to prevent light restriction. After all, you don’t want to be constantly wiping water off the filter, nor do you want it to influence the exposure.
For the purpose of this article, we picked three budget-friendly circular polarizers that are each under $100.
Kenko Nyumon Slim Circular Polarizer
At the top of my list is the circular polarizer I currently have in my bag, the Kenko Nyumon Circular Polarizer.
This filter ticks all the boxes when it comes to features you want in a polarizing filter.
It’s made of precision Asahi optical glass that maximizes the quality of the image. This type of glass is similar to what’s used to make the elements in a lens, so you know it’s of a very high quality.
The slim housing minimizes the chances of vignetting while the eight layers of anti-reflective coatings reduce ghosting and reflections.
Likewise, the coatings on both sides of the filter help repel environmental conditions like water, dust, and oils from your fingers.
These filters also have minimal effect on the exposure - about 1.5 stops.
In other words, I’ve found this filter to not only be a durable and effective filter, but it’s also extremely budget friendly at just $43.00 for a 37mm version on up to about $53.00 for an 82mm version.
Pros of the Kenko Nyumon Circular Polarizer:
- Excellent price
- High-quality glass
- Eight layers of coatings
Cons of the Kenko Nyumon Circular Polarizer:
- Threads can be a little difficult to screw onto the lens
Editor's Tip: Get Kenko’s latest updates and access to promos for discounted gear. Click here to sign up.
MARUMI DHG Super Circular Polarizer
Just a head’s up…
Marumi has an extensive line of circular polarizers, which can get a little confusing simply because of the number of choices. Just make sure you’re picking up the DHG Super Circular Polarizer at the store.
This circular polarizer is water and oil resistant. It also doesn’t affect image quality at all, with no vignetting on the edge of photographs because of how thin the polarizer housing is.
You can also pick up this polarizer in a wide range of sizes from 37mm to 95mm.
Plus, most importantly, it screws on efficiently and quickly, which isn’t something you want to worry about when you finally catch an elusive scene you’ve been chasing for hours.
Pros of the MARUMI DHG Super Circular Polarizer:
- Water and oil resistant
- Comes in a ton of different sizes
- Doesn’t interfere with image quality
Cons of the MARUMI DHG Super Circular Polarizer:
- Slightly impedes light transmission
- More expensive
The MARUMI DHG Super Circular Polarizer is available on Amazon for just $80.
B + W XS-Pro Kaesemann High Transmission Circular Polarizer
B + W thought the high transmission glass they made this circular polarizer out of was so important they included it in the name.
It fully lives up to expectations. It only loses between 1 and 1.5 stops of light.
It also doesn’t interfere with image quality at all, because it’s a mere 4.5mm thick. This circular polarizer is also the easiest to grip out of all three on our list.
The coating is a little disappointing, however. B + W claims the coating is fingerprint and water resistant, but I found the opposite to be true.
For more info on the B + W XS-Pro Kaesemann High Transmission Circular Polarizer, view Nikhil Kumar’s unboxing video above.
Pros of the B + W XS-Pro Kaesemann High Transmission Circular Polarizer:
- High transmission glass means less lost light
- A ton of sizing options
- Doesn’t interfere with image quality
Cons of the B + W XS-Pro Kaesemann High Transmission Circular Polarizer:
- Most expensive circular polarizer on our list
- No impressive coating
The B + W XS-Pro Kaesemann High Transmission Circular Polarizer is available on B&H for $100.