Review: Hoya 52mm Circular Polarizing Filter on a Nikon D5100 Digital SLR with a 18mm-55mm VR Lens

Review: Hoya 52mm Circular Polarizing Filter on a Nikon D5100 Digital SLR with a 18mm-55mm VR Lens

A forthcoming holiday in Belgium was the kindling behind my purchase of the Hoya 52mm Circular Polarizing Filter (CIR-PL); a new companion for my trusty Nikon D5100 Digital SLR. Being an avid photographer, I had used a polarizing filter before on my older Olympus SLR (1972 model) and loved the deep blue skies that it could deliver on film. Over the years, I’ve taken some impressive photographs. And when I look back at them, I’m pleased I had a polarizing filter screwed onto the end of the lens. It can make a photograph so much better. And for very little cost.

What it does

Polarizing filters on modern cameras filter light that is linearly polarized, then circularly polarize the light entering the camera so as not to affect the camera’s sensors.
A Circular Polarizing Filter can increase contrast, darken skies and reduce reflections. The same effects are achievable in colour and black and white photography.

Hoya 52mm CIR-PL

The Hoya 52mm CIR-PL is a mid-ranged product in terms of price. It receives very good reviews at Amazon UK and the consensus there is that it’s a great product and good value for money.
It is well known that it is not suitable for wide angle lenses due to the physical depth of the polarizing ring. It can cast a shadow on the corners of photographs when at a high wide angle. As long as you don’t intend to use it in conjunction with such a lens, that won’t be a problem.

Purchased From CameraKing via Amazon UK

Delivery was very quick despite choosing the Super Saver Delivery option in Amazon.
The filter was posted well packaged and protected in a jiffy bag, small enough to be posted through the letter-box. The filter is packaged in a sealed, protective, plastic carry-case.

Nikon D5100 Digital SLR with 18mm-55mm VR Lens

I’ve had this camera and lens for a few years now. I love it and have taken some great photographs with it. Dare I say? Photographs bordering on professional quality.

Attaching the Filter

Making sure I didn’t cross-thread, the Hoya 52mm CIR-PL screwed onto the 18mm-55mm VR lens beautifully. The inner filter ring is knurled and allows sufficient grip to tighten the filter securely onto the lens despite its shallow depth.
Care does have to be taken here, not only to avoid the mistake of cross-threading the filter. The focus ring of this lens is on the very end of the lens, which the filter screws onto. So you must take care not to apply excessive torque to the focus ring when making the final tightening nip.
The original Nikon lens cap attaches to the filter to protect it.

In Use – Suppressing Reflections

CIR-PL: No Filtration
CIR-PL: Full Filtration
Sunlight falling on the black ceramic tiles in my kitchen was a good starting point to test the Hoya 52mm CIR-PL. The two photographs are taken with the same camera settings. The only difference between shots is the amount of polarizing filtration; in this case, either fully off or fully on.
CIR-PL: No Filtration
CIR-PL: Full Filtration
The same comparison again. This time with light reflections from water, courtesy of my son’s toy dumper truck.
CIR-PL: No Filtration
CIR-PL: Full Filtration

 And this really shows what it can do; suppressing reflections from glass. 

In Use – Increased Contrast & Darkened Skies

CIR-PL: No Filtration
CIR-PL: Full Filtration
Not only does contrast improve and skies darken but clarity seems to improve. More detail can be seen in the clouds as the washed-out appearance of the sky diminishes.
CIR-PL: No Filtration
CIR-PL: Full Filtration
The contrast in vegetation is fleshed out too making the whole scene look and feel much more vibrant.


  • Fast delivery
  • Great value product.
  • Excellent build quality and ergonomics. The knurled ring to enable tightening is a well thought out feature. The filter screwed onto the lens with precision. Operation is smooth and almost effortless. The original Nikon lens cap fits the filter.
  • Filter operation does not interfere with the focus ring when the lens is set to automatic focus.
  • The filter performs well; suppressing reflections from glass, water and other objects such as tiles and leather. It improves contrast of skies and vegetation, removes the washed-out appearance of skies, darkens them and improves clarity.
  • Score: 5/5
I’ve only demonstrated the filtration fully on or off in these comparisons. Remember, various degrees of  filter effect can be gained by turning the filter ring accordingly.


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