B&W viewing filter ?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Jayd, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. Jayd

    Jayd Subscriber

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    What filter exactly is the B&W viewing filter used by Ansel Adams and Fred Picker to see how a scene would appear in B&W? Helping to see if filters would be needed to add separation etc.
    So far I have found: Adams is supposed to have used the no longer available
    Kodak wratten #90 and I don't know but assume the same was used in the no longer available Zone VI filter. Tiffen I think sells one but rather than the properly proportioned rectangular mask ones Adams and Zone VI had the Tiffen is round.
    My suspicion is if one knew what filter to use you could buy a filter and make your own mask.

    Jay
     
  2. Todd Barlow

    Todd Barlow Subscriber

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    Jay:
    I checked out each camera store looking for a Kodak Wratten #90 in their bin of filters. It is like looking for the needle in the haystack! I finally found one, 3"x3" and I then cut it down to fit a 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" glass slide mount (transparency) for protection.

    Todd
     
  3. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Here's what I do, Jay. I have no money. But I have a cell phone. So when I have my 4x5 set up I take a shot in monochrome setting on my cell, look at it and make necessary contrast adjustments based on that and extensive metering. Sometimes I don't feel like getting the cell out to do it (as opposed to setting up a view camera, ain't figured that one out yet) and shoot from the hip with good results.

    Now you can use the color contrast filter you are using to try and guage your results. Flick the filter in front of your eye and away again. Do this four or five times in somewhat rapid succession. This will give your eye the idea of what contrast will occur when the filter is used. Leave it before your eye and your mind will remember the colors and the filter will loose its effectiveness.
     
  4. E76

    E76 Member

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    B&H has both 4x4 and 3x3 inch Wratten #90 filters in stock.
     
  5. Maris

    Maris Member

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    I never bought the Wratten #90 filter when I wanted to preview tonal outcomes in b&w photography, didn't have the money, was too parsimonious as well.

    What I found was a pair of sunglasses with dark brown lenses at the local pharmacy that were a close match for the Wratten #90. The match doesn't have to be perfect because a viewing filter gives, at best, a qualitative hint about where the tones will fall. Frankly, I reckon any dark brown glass (or plastic) optically better than a beer bottle will work as a viewing filter.

    Incidentally, wearing the brown sunglasses cancels their usefulness as a viewing filter. The eye adapts in seconds to cancel the effect. A filter works only if you take quick glances through it.
     
  6. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    Why not a beer bottle in frames? That would be real beer goggles!

    Cheers, Steve
     
  7. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I have previously used a length of film that I used for testing fix to get a rough idea of what a B&W capture will look like. Since it fixes clear, the film is easy to see through but again, your eyes adjust easily.
     
  8. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    SRB in the UK used to sell a BW viewing filter encased in a nifty rubber holder, but they don't seem to have it any more.
     
  9. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    Tiffen, Harrison & Harrison, and Peak (and others too) all make viewing filters. Tiffen and Peak's are amber color, similar to the #90. Harrison & Harrison makes them in amber, grey, and blue. I don't know why amber was chosen as it makes no sense. Theoretically, the blue filter is right and a #47 is commonly sold for this purpose. I'm sure it is close enough.

    It makes sense because BW film has the most sensitivity in the blue-green part of the spectrum and the eye has the most sensitivity in the green part of the spectrum, thus for you to see what the film sees, you need to look through a blue dominate filter. Go with the blue.
     
  10. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Ilford used to make a hand held PV (pan viewing) filter, I don't know if they still do .
     
  11. CBG

    CBG Member

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  12. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Really, any dark yellow filter would do the trick with some effectiveness.