Get rid of that flat crystal glare!
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  1. #1
    J!m
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    Default Get rid of that flat crystal glare!

    Having trouble photographing your flat-crystal watch (such as Seiko, Tag Heuer and Rolex models)?

    No problem! get yourself a circular polarizer filter and place it over your lens of choice. Slowly rotate it while watching through the viewfinder to make the crystal disappear!

    You will loose 1 to 2 stops of light (depending on the filter) but they are Neutral density, so there is no color correction needed.

    This trick also works on curved crystals and 'cyclops' magnifiers, but to a limited extent.

    Also useful when you want to enhance the reflection for other effects.

    NOTE: this trick is for use with SLR cameras only. It will work with non-TTL viewing, but it requires more trial and error. Not a big deal in this digital age, but just thought I'd mention it.

    Have fun!
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    Anybody know what time it is?

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    WTF Veteran JohnR's Avatar


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    Quote Originally Posted by J!m View Post
    Having trouble photographing your flat-crystal watch (such as Seiko, Tag Heuer and Rolex models)?

    No problem! get yourself a circular polarizer filter and place it over your lens of choice. Slowly rotate it while watching through the viewfinder to make the crystal disappear!

    You will loose 1 to 2 stops of light (depending on the filter) but they are Neutral density, so there is no color correction needed.

    This trick also works on curved crystals and 'cyclops' magnifiers, but to a limited extent.

    Also useful when you want to enhance the reflection for other effects.

    NOTE: this trick is for use with SLR cameras only. It will work with non-TTL viewing, but it requires more trial and error. Not a big deal in this digital age, but just thought I'd mention it.

    Have fun!
    Great tip! I hadn't thought of doing that but will definitely give it a try!

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    WTF Veteran diver88's Avatar


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    :):) J!m,

    does it work well on your P.O. with the domed crystal anti-reflective on two sides? does any brand work well, or do you need to go name brand?

    thanks,

    diver88:):)

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    J!m
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    I have not tried it on the PO. That has a curved crystal, so the crystal glare is usually not a problem. Some artifacts of your light source will appear in the coating, and the hands, Omega symbol and marker borders are so highly reflective they are the problem with shooting the watch, not so much the crystal.

    Any brand will do, just know that "you get what you pay for"...

    Polarized glass is pretty much all the same, but the flatness and clarity may be suspect in 'off' brands. Just make sure it rotates so you can screw it on, and rotate it without having to loosen the threads...

    Mine is a Tiffen; but Hoya, Canon and other well known ones are fine too. (Check B&H, also their used section)

    They are fun to make clouds 'pop' in the sky, eliminate glare when shooting through plate glass windows and make water disappear in ponds and lakes. Every kit should have them!

    It has many uses beyond watch photography!
    Anybody know what time it is?

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    I've never had good luck using polorizers for watch photography, but that's always been with a DSLR.

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    WTF Veteran diver88's Avatar


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    :):)

    I may have asked this before,

    glare vs reflections... I have problems with both and I seem to be able to control glare (sort of) but reflections are a different matter..

    am I splitting hairs, does it make a difference to identify both issues?

    diver88:):)

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    WTF Veteran Steve's Avatar


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    Quote Originally Posted by JBHII View Post
    I've never had good luck using polorizers for watch photography, but that's always been with a DSLR.
    I've had some, but the improvement is nominal.

    I can handle glare. It's reflections that drive me buggy...
    You would be amazed at how often "What if?" works...

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    I years past I always made fun of JBH's pics because his little setup was right next to his brown closet doors, which would often cast a brown tint onto the watch. In his new house he had a watch photo room constructed. Now he takes his watch pics in a white spherical clean room wearing a white suit so there will be no reflections.
    Last edited by JohnR; 04-03-2008 at 02:09 PM.

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    Cross-polarization sometimes helps, but it is a lot of trouble - you have to use a polarized sheet on the light source and one on the camera lens; the one takes care of one area of reflection and the other takes care of the other reflections - in theory. And of course, a polarizer will not affect reflections from polished metal surfaces, and those reflections it will affect are in a relatively narrow arc. I don't bother any more, just try to get a clean shot with no reflections on places on the watch I want to show clearly. In landscape photography, a polarizer can be a scene-saver, but you must watch out when using wide-angle lenses or you can get a swath of deep-blue sky with less-blue sky in the rest of the scene.

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    :):)

    I may have to do the same Mr JohnR
    on dark dialed watches I'm getting reflections coming from who knows where, even the ceiling of the light box or tent (i've tried both) or room..

    diver88:):)

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