The circular polarizing filter is one of the most important pieces of equipment to own as a photographer. Its effects are one of the few that can’t be faked in post-processing. It didn’t even occur to me until browsing Amazon that circular polarizing filters are now being made for smartphone cameras, and that got me excited to try one out.
For this quick review, I’m checking out the Aukey PF-C1 37mm Circular Polarizer. The optics are made from acrylic glass and housed in aluminum alloy. Why bother stating that it’s 37mm? Well, Aukey has other add-on accessories such as wide-angle lenses and these can be fitted onto the 37mm threading on the front of this polarizing filter. The threading on the back of the PF-C1 fits onto the clip that holds the unit to the phone’s camera.
The filter costs $16.99, so it’s a fairly painless buy for something that can potentially add a lot of quality to one’s images. The universal clip-on design also means that future compatibility is almost a given; no need to buy new mounts every time there’s a new phone released.
In use, I found that mounting the lens smack dab centered onto the iPhone camera would result in reflective glare in one of the corners at the top (depending on the phone’s orientation). All that’s needed is to find the sweet spot where the glare goes away, and before the vignetting from the edge of the filter is noticeable in the frame. It takes this little extra effort to finesse it to the right position. Once it’s clipped on, it stays put. There’s rubber padding on both sides of the clip that protects the phone from scratches and improves grip.
Being a circular polarizer, it can be rotated to find the level of polarization that’s required for the scene. On DSLR cameras, it’s usually easier to use my eyes through the filter to find the right amount before mounting onto the lens. However, since smartphones have such large, high-quality displays, it’s not really an issue to just mount it and then watch the display as the filter is rotated to see changes.
The results I get from the Aukey PF-C1 are definitely worth of the $16.99 price tag. The acrylic is high enough quality to not degrade the sharpness of my iPhone’s camera. There’s a warm color cast when shot straight off the Camera app, but if used with a manual fine tuning photography app with raw capture then it really doesn’t matter as it can adjusted. The filter pairs very well with the Slow Shutter Cam app where photographing waterfalls and moving water with a long exposure and a polarizer gets silky, saturated results.
What I Liked
- Affordable price.
- Small, lightweight, fits in my pocket to be taken anywhere.
- Retains image sharpness.
- Full polarization saturates color, removes glare from water for higher contrast.
What I Didn’t Like
- Needs some fine-tune adjusting when mounted to get rid of reflection in corner.
- Gives a warm color cast to images.
The Aukey PF-C1 37mm Circular Polarizer is available now on Amazon for $16.99.