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Polariser results

Rough diamond

George Lewis asks I was shooting with my newly bought Sanyo FH1 recently, and having already taken a number of still pictures at the eight-million-pixel capture setting, I pointed the camera at an apple tree in my garden to test the autofocus -resulting in the strange diamond-shaped artefact appearing in the downloaded picture.

Have you any ideas about what might have caused this? I checked, and there was absolutely nothing hanging on the tree.

Barney Britten replies I have a Sanyo FH1 in front of ne at the moment, George, and after pee'in g down the lens I can tell you that what you're seeing is flare in the shape of the lens aperture. The lenses in most cameras have circular apertures, formed by several overlapping blades, but the aperture of the Sanyo FH1 s ens Is of the square type. Square apertures are cheaper and easier to manufacture, and they are very simple in design, consisting of two L-shaped plates that :orm a square or, in this case, diamond-shaped aperture. This aperture can be varied in size simply by moving the two plates closer or further apart. There is nothing you can do about the effect I'm afraid, except shade the lens, and avoid shooting or filming in environments where lens flare is likely, such as into, or at an acute angle to, the sun or any powerful ight source.

Sid Gillingham asks I'm using Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 and FZ18 bridge cameras and wonder if there's a circular polarising filter available to fit them? Also, am I right in thinking I can't expect the results I enjoyed with the polariser and my film Minolta Dynax 7, and that Photoshop is the preferred way of adjusting digital images?

Barney Britton replies Bull i the Panasonic Lumix DM C-FZ8 and FZ18 have 55mm filter threads, which is a standard size, so you should have no problem finding a circular polarising filter to fit.

To address your second point, you can expect the same results from using a polarising filter on your digital cameras as you woukt on film. Polarising filters don't simply colour the light coming through the camera's lens, they block reflected light which allows you to remove reflections fron water and glass. Photoshop can help increase the contrast anc saturation in skies (another benefit of polarising filters), but it cannot be used to remove reflections, since this is a product of the way the light is treated before it reaches the sensor, rather than a post-processing effect

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