Shooting with filters?? Advice for a newbie.

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Alan_Silvester, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. Alan_Silvester

    Alan_Silvester Member

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    So I have a stupid questions about filters. I know almost nothing about shooting with filters. What’s got me onto this is quite silly. I got given a nice new pair of sunglasses, they were clearly quite expensive. They’ve a yellow tint to them, perhaps polarising (?!) but I'm not really sure what that means! Anyway, the enhanced contrast on a sunny day is great. They make things pop and it's really pleasing to the eye. It’s made me think about filters and what they could do when shooting film. Sorry if this is a dumb way of getting into the idea of using a filter but it’s a very visual way of seeing how something in front of the lens (or my eye) changes the feel and look of an image!

    I’ve never really used filters, I have some ND filters with a cokin z-pro but never used it in anger. I bought it and let It sit there as I do with quite a few gadgets! Does anyone have any good guides, videos or advice for a newbie looking at shooting with filters; what differing types do, and what scenarios I might want to use x or y filter for?


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    The subject of photographic filters is too broad for a simple answer here. There is much information on them available online. For example, https://photographylife.com/lens-filters-explained. If your sunglasses are polarized, rotating them while looking at reflections at an angle on non-metallic surfaces will demonstrate one use for them. A polarizer can significantly darken deep blue skies at a right angle to the sun, but have little effect with the sun in front or behind you. Some people always use a clear or UV filter on their lenses for physical protection, some never do. Filters can correct an undesirable color cast in the light source when using film. This is perhaps more often corrected in post processing in digital photography.
     
  3. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    I generally don't use filters with color as using the correct film works well. Occasionally you'll be caught with the wrong film and a correction filter will come in handy.

    I do use them frequently w/B&W.

    Am about to embark on some experimentation with close-up/macro work so I'm looking at some close up filters instead of purchasing macro glass at first.

    Special effects filters just don't interest me.
     
  4. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    There are chapters on filters and their use in just about every text on black-and-white photography. Your library or favorite e-book site or even Wikipedia will get you started just fine. Google is your friend here.

    Using colored filters with B&W film requires a bit of knowledge about colors and their complements; the color wheel is helpful here. Basically, colored filters pass light of the color they are and block other light. In the case of your yellow sunglasses, yellow is transmitted, blue is blocked. This makes blue things darker. A blue filter would work just the opposite. A red filter transmits red and blocks blue and green; a green filter transmits green and blocks red and blue, etc., etc.

    Have fun,

    Doremus
     
  5. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Subscriber

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    Color or Black and White?
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Yes. And there are books too.

    The basic thing is to contemplate about transmission and exposure. About what the filter does to the image, and also if one corrects on that or not by exposure. That decides on how colours will be rendered.

    Using filters in b&w is not about contrast as such, but how one colour is rendered and how the other. Understanding this is essential !
    Much more important than just looking up exposure correcting factors,
     
  7. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Firstly Alan, it's not a stupid question, but very common among people who are not familiar with the use of filters in photography. Many decades ago I was fascinated by polarisers and wanted to see what they did. I made many atrocious mistakes (with slide film) before getting the hang of it. We all started like that!

    Let's address your first discovery: what you see through polarised sunglasses, and the use of a polariser on the camera.
    Using a polariser on your lens will produce much the same effect that you are witnessing through your sunnies (I too have a pair of expensive Bolle sunnies that are polairsed: they show me what a rainforest will look like under full polarisation without having to get the camera out!). The important difference though is that your camera can actually stuff up a good scene by over-zealous use of a polariser because the filter significantly reduces the amount of light reaching the film: too much and the scene will appear flat and dull. There is a right amount and a wrong amount, and how much you apply is governed to some extent by experience. What others have done is not an indication of what you should do, or what you will achieve. The best advice is to buy a roll of film, and a polariser, and go and experiment. You have already witnessed that colours 'pop' when you view them through your sunnies. Depending on the angle of view, colours will appear normal or stronger ("popping"). The same principle applies with the camera: as you move around with the polariser in place, the effect can be viewed in the viewfinder.

    If your camera as on-board matrix/evaluative/3D or some other fancy-named metering system, you will require a circular polariser -- a variation that is specifically designed to work with these advanced meters, and unfortunately this variety if often more expensive than the normal/usual polariser (linear polariser). If you have an ordinary TTL meter, you can use any polariser at all. Depending on the size of your lens, a polariser can cause quite a dent in the wallet: some can be around $27 or so for a 49mm polariser, rising (and rising, and rising) to more than $700 for German-made specialised polarisers (you keep these in the velvet-lined box with the family jewels...). You will not need (nor benefit from) the upper-crust offerings when starting out with experiments. That applies to just about every other filter too in the beginning.

    There are many other filters, some doing little more to cut through UV haze e.g. light-pink Skylight 1B or near-colourless UV filters (these can be left in place to afford some protection to the front element in the event of a bang). These Skylight and UV filters often have different, confusing designations, with German manufacturers using something like KR1.5 for a filter that Japanese marque HOYA (made by Tokina) calls a Skylight 1B!

    Warming filters (light to moderate brown in colour), colour correction filters (light to moderate blue) and then, for B&W, red, green, blue, yellow... all provide a specific effect of enhancing or reducing contrast and the appearance of tones. There is a bit of a learning curve!

    Some people will cart around a vast armoury of filters of types and sizes. I get by economically, in black and white or colour (slide film), with just one -- a polariser! :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  8. Dismayed

    Dismayed Subscriber

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    Filters aren't all that complex. The color of the filter passes the same color of light, and attenuates the complementary color. So a yellow filer used for B+W film passes yellow light, but it reduces the amount of blue light, so slue skies appear darker. This is necessary because many B+W films are overly sensitive to blue light.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I use filters for color to remove UV light which is a cause of distant haze. For black and white I use filters to bring out the clouds or to lighten a chosen color. Se Jim Jones' post [#2] and Wikipedia for a fuller explanation.
     
  10. flavio81

    flavio81 Member

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    A quick filter guide:

    blue - reduces overall sky contrast on landscapes

    green - gives healthy skin appearance, it is said to improve panchromatic film color response to better match the eye.

    yellow - increases contrast , increases cloud vs sky separation, lightens skin

    orange - even greater effect than yellow

    red - strongest / extreme effects of contrast increase, makes skin appear pale white. See examples on the 'net.
     
  11. Dismayed

    Dismayed Subscriber

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  12. jvo

    jvo Subscriber

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    pick one filter and go out and use it. one exposure with, one exposure without.

    (with b&w film, i'd choose red to start - shoot cloudy sky; then green and do some portraits.)

    have fun:errm:
     
  13. Minoltafan2904

    Minoltafan2904 Member

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    With colour negative film filters do almost nothing, perhaps a polarizer will darken your skies a bit but not much, with black and white it certainly matters and it's good to have a set of filters ( red, yellow, orange, green, blue ) , there's articles online that explain what they all do.
    Now with colour SLIDE film, filters are important, i always carry an 81A and 81B warming filter and a polarizer in my bag when shooting slide film, for example with Provia 100F i leave on an 81A almost all the time, as it tend toward cool tones.
     
  14. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    I know exactly what you mean when you say your sunglasses make the scene pop. My glasses do the same, though they are not polarizing.

    A lot of the advice given above is good, though you may not be able to match what you see with your glasses. I have tried to duplicate the saturation, intensity, and 'pop' with neutral density filters, polarizers, UV filters, but have failed.

    I can walk through my neighborhood with these glasses on and be amazed and the rich deep green of trees and grass, the intense blue sky, and there's nothing I've been able to do photographically to duplicate it - even with digital.
     
  15. Dismayed

    Dismayed Subscriber

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    Color correction filters are important for negative film, too. They correct for mixed lighting in daylight scenes; shadows are illuminated by blue sky, directly lit objects by warmer sunlight. You can not match lighting in the darkroom after the fact. You could with photoshop - if you want to waste time masking and adjusting colors separately.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  16. Arklatexian

    Arklatexian Subscriber

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    Sounds as if you might have a pair of "shooters glasses", guns not cameras. I doubt that they are polarizing. However before anyone can recommend filters or even books on filters, we need to know if you plan to shoot B&W or color because filters for each are not interchangeable except for polarizing filters. If you are shooting black & white, any good book on B&W will contain instructions on using different filters for that film.........Regards!....And please don't apologize for not knowing about things. No person, in this group knew anything about any of this stuff before they were taught by someone OR BY A BOOK.
     
  17. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    You've already got a good clue. Amber sunglasses change the relationship of certain colors. Now go get a deep red pair of glasses, like red laser glasses, and start looking around. Film doesn't behave exactly the same as human vision, but glasses will give you an approximation. This is in reference to what are classified as Contrast Filters for black and white shooting. Filters for color film work are more subtle, so you'd need to look through specific filters themselves to get an idea.
     
  18. AgX

    AgX Member

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    As known here at Apug I typically advise to read a textbook on such matter, rather than to be educated in a thread or some often questionable sites.
    Aside of the comments I made above, out of my library on photo technology the by far best book on this matter is one from East-Germany: "Filterpraxis" by Clauss and Meusel from 1962. Since then published in several editions including in the USA and the UK.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  19. Berkeley Mike

    Berkeley Mike Member

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    Yes: there is an unfortunate tendency to be attracted to "Tips and Tricks" rather than studying the craft. It makes a statement about simple curiosity, convenience, experience and investigation. The presence and utility of the Internet feeds this at many levels.
     
  20. markjwyatt

    markjwyatt Subscriber

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    Thanks! Picked up an English version (mein Deutsch ist nicht gut genug fur die Deuthscher buch) for $3 + $3.99 shipping on Amazon. Filter Practice, Hans Clauss, Heinz Meusel
     
  21. Luis-F-S

    Luis-F-S Subscriber

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    Pretty much what you need to know. I seldom use filters.
     
  22. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    I use filters often with b/w film but prefer lighter filters like the Wratten no. 8, 11 and slightly stronger #15. Sometimes I'll use a strong contrast filter such as the #25 to darken foliage or the sky. When I shoot infrared, it's always the 72.
     
  23. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Don't get mixed up by all this back and forth discussion between filters for color photography and those for black and white film. If for color use, you can simply look through them to get an idea of the effect, just like your sunglasses. Eyesight and film are not identical, but it's still a valid approximation. Normally you'd want to own some kind of UV filter or very light pink Skylight filter for distant scenes, especially at higher altitudes, and for certain films, a light amber 81A warming filter to compensate for the extra bluishness of overcast days. This applies to color negative as well as color slide films; it will improve performance in either category. I wouldn't worry much about neutral density filters or polarizers to start out; in fact, I never use them. If you are interested in black and white photography instead, also start out simple with just a few basic filters, like the set noted on the previous post. However, I prefer quality multi-coated glass filters. They're well worth it in the long run.
     
  24. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I must be in a negative( nice pun eh?) mood tonight but the OP asked the question on 29 Jun and hasn't visited since. Such a pity when in the space of over 2 months the info seems to have fallen on "stony ground". Sometimes we try to feed the starving man and all come back to the same spot with food, only to find that he has gone. :D Still exchanging food with each other has its uses. What we thought of as a vital Samaritan's journey turns out to be a nice picnic amongst fellow Samaritans instead

    pentaxuser

     
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    ????

    The only thing in that colour negative film is different is that a cast induced by misfit lighting or misfit filter to some extent can be filtered out in the printing process.
    But keep in mind correcting at the printing stage means working at lowest common denominator so to say. Thus lowest density. What is gone at density is gone. Thus for colour negative too it is better to filter at taking, at least roughly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018 at 7:30 PM
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