I’ve always wanted to do a head to head comparison of Hoya and Tiffen to see exactly how well they perform. I’ve never really liked my Tiffen, whether it’s green casts on cloudy days or the blues not being as intense as I want them to be. So I’m going to put the three polarizers (my 62mm Hoya polarizer, my wife’s 62mm Hoya circular polarizer and my Tiffen circular polarizer) to the test and see just how close or far they are from each other. It’s a nice sunny day today and I am sure that I can get some intense blues with them.
The first up is the Tiffen Circular Polarizer; 1. With the white background test, you can see that it filters out to complete black which is what a polarizer is supposed to do. That’s a promising start. You should not be able to see anything on your computer screen through the polarizer if the polarizer is doing its job as advertised, because what it does is that it blocks out all polarized light reflected or emitted. The sky is an deep blue, however, you will see that in comparison to Hoya, the blue is not as intense (despite the introduction of the fingers reflecting in the background; but that has no effect on what is produced from the other end of the lens)
2. I opted to do a Hoya 62mm circular polarizer test as my wife owns one. This polarizer also when subjected to the white background test also comes up as not emitting any polarized light. And when you see the sky photographed through this polarizer it is an intense blue; a deeper blue than the Tiffen.
3. And this is my regular Hoya 62mm which I used to use on my entry level Nikkor AF 70-300mm G. This (if you will excuse my fingers)
When it comes down to a straight shootout between all three exposed at centered meter; Hoya beats Tiffen in intensity hands down. The first picture is one that is completely unfiltered - bare lens, no polarizer
Tiffen 67mm (exposed for center-meter) (in order for me to even come close to matching the Hoya texture, I had to increase shutterspeed to underexpose the image and that would have to be done for each and every photo ever taken.)
Tiffen underexposed (by increasing shutterspeed)
Hoya Circular Polarizer 62mm
Hoya Regular Polarizer (used with film cameras usually)
All in all, the Hoya cuts out more light during the White Background Test (pitchblack as opposed to somewhat black which means that it cuts out the majority of the polarized light) and it tends to do a deeper more intense blue than the Tiffen; which marks it as the winner in my books. I tend to prefer the intensely deep blue of the Hoya, than the somewhat blue of the Tiffen as it makes for a more striking sky.
Now polarizers and their resultant effects are subject to personal opinion. Some may not like an intense blue whereas other will prefer the Hoya. I tend to lean towards the latter. The only advice that I can give, is to learn how to use the polarizer to its best effect. You will get the best effect by utilizing it at a 90 degree angle away from the sun. If the sun is to your side, you will get the best results from a polarizer.
The only recommendation that I can give, is do not skimp when it comes to buying a cheap polarizer filter. The cheap ones that are made aren’t worth the money and don’t do anything for you in terms of filtering out. The decent polarizers range from $65.00 up and stick with either Hoya or Tiffen depending on your preference. If it’s possible to test one out before buying, do so.
…and I personally will be buying myself a 67mm Hoya Pro-1 circular polarizer as soon as I possibly can.
Edit: May, 5, 2016: I will be trying a Kenko brand 67mm - from what I've been told Kenko and Hoya were made by the same factory, with the only difference being labeling - We'll see...
Here are some of my shots with the Tiffen 67mm on a sky with clouds and seeing how much definition I can get with the clouds thanks to the polarizer.Tiffen 67mm at 18mm
Hoya Circular Polarizer at 70mm
Hoya Linear (regular) polarizer at 70mm
I had to shoot the 62mm Hoya polarizers at 70mm since I can only shoot them on a 70-300mm G without throwing on a 52mm step-up ring to shoot it on the 18-55mm lens.
So in order to keep the photos similar, I opted to shoot the clouds with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 with the two Hoyas.
Hoya Circular Polarizer with 52-62mm step-up ring at 18mm.
Hoya Linear Polarizer with 52-62mm step-up ring at 18mm.
The color definition may be muted on the 18-55mm but I kind of figure that it's not the fault of the Hoya filter as it is more with the Nikon 18-55mm in terms of glass. But make no mistake, the 18-55mm (iteration 1 is no slouch of a lens; even though it is a kit lens - it will take great pictures provided you correctly handle the lens).