B & W viewing filter

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by David Brown, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Anybody use a B & W viewing filter? Worth the cost and trouble? Isn't there a Wratten equivelent to what Zone VI sells for big bucks?

    Inquiring monochrome minds want to know?

    Cheers, y'all.

    David

    PS: Anybody want to sell me one cheap ... :wink:
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I have used the Zone VI viewing filter for over fifteen years. I have found it to be useful in depicting tonal representations by stripping the color influence out of the equation. The Wratten 90 is supposed to be the filter material used. Regarding the Zone VI filter, the other factor in addition to the monochrome aspect is the format aspect as an aid to composition.
     
  3. chiller

    chiller Member

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    Quoted from a google search --"Kodak Wratten Gelatin Filter 100mm/4x4" Dark Grayish Amber #90, ... Monochrome viewing filter. Visually approximates the relative tones of gray produced in a scene."


    Hi David,

    I have had one for years and rarely use it. I cut a card with a hole proportional to 5x4 and pasted the filter to the card. It provides arepresentation of the scene in mono and aids as a composition tool at the same time.

    To use it effectively you look through it briefly so your eye doesn't adapt to the "colour" of the filter.

    Steve.
     
  4. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    years ago, when i first started doing LF work i got one and used it regularly.

    Now, i don't need to do that, it was helpful at the time.
     
  5. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    I have used a Wratten in the past. I agree that using it "quickly", not allowing the eye to adjust, gives a good approximation of the tonal range of the scene in b&w, and is a good initial guide to exposure and zone development. Perhaps I found it more useful than Steve, but agree with his methodology.

    Earl
     
  6. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I have used one for a long time, probably 25+ years now. I don't really like the #90 or the zone vi. The one I use is a darker amber made by Peak of Japan. I don't think it is imported any longer. Tiffen makes one that is good and available. Harrison makes several, different colors: grey, blue, amber. Seems amber is traditional. Grey is for color ( I have a spare one of these. ) Blue is the theoretically correct viewing filter for BW. Since your eye sees best in the greens and films see most in the blues, you need a color that shifts your eye more towards film. Then there is an overall density to allow you eyes to see into the highlights (like sunglasses) and to see what is going to go dark This helps so much for contrast evaluation.

    On the one I use, I mask off the filter to match my format size and evaluate the scene with the filter, both for contrast and cropping, and also depending on how far the filter is from my eye, I can guess the proper lens.

    A great tool.
     
  7. Eric Mac

    Eric Mac Member

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    The Zone vi filters seem to be at a premium on that auction site lately. I bought a 90 wratten filter and took over to the Office big box store and had them laminate it. It is a little wrinkled and I probably should of devised some sort of framing for it, but a total cost a little over 20 bucks and works like a champ.

    Eric
     
  8. chiller

    chiller Member

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    Thanks Earl,

    I will revisit mine and follow your excellent tip regarding contrast evaluation. Now where did I put it :smile:


    Steve
     
  9. BarrieB

    BarrieB Member

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    Many years ago I purchased a 'Square' framed one from Fred Picker, I only had a H`blad at the time, I still use it and find it good for framing my Images as well. Yes ,do not leave up to your eye for too long or you loose the ' Filter Effect'. Now I alsop have a 4 X 5 Field Camera I also have a Black Card with 4 X 5 cut out AND a fine string with Knots @ the length of each lens I own; eg, with the 90mm Knot against my forehead I can view the ' field of view I will get for that lens, works well for me. ......... Cheers BarrieB
     
  10. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone for the comments on the filters - confirms what I thought I knew. (As I get older I need more confirmation ... )

    Several of you mentioned using a frame to fit your format - with or without a filter - to preview a shot. Is there a formula for the length of the string as Barrie mentioned? Is it the focal length of the lens if your frame is actual size?

    Cheers

    David
     
  11. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I've used one of the Zone VI models for years. A few years ago, I found a pair of "shooter's glasses" at a sporting goods store. They are a pair of sunglasses tinted yellow. I've found they also help me judge zones.
    juan
     
  12. BarrieB

    BarrieB Member

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    Greetings David; Yes the length of string does equal the focal length of the lens: I hold the knot on my forehead above my viewing eye and find the area in the frame to be near enough. Linhof, and others made an optical Zoom finder with the field of view frames marked on the glass, these are sold on Ebay and elsewhere but the cut out frame does the job for me.
    BTW. you can work out a smaller cut-out in the sheet film proportions that is smaller and then you have shorter string lenghts and a smaller card to carry round. BarrieB.
     
  13. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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    Hmmm...I once went to Calumet in NYC to buy the viewing filter they were offering. Interestingly, the salesman talked me out of it. He suggested using a viewing card such as has been described already and reminded me to keep one eye closed to diminish the 3 dimensional view two eyes offer. He also suggested that squinting a bit would help since detail would be lessened but 'gross' contrasts would be more easily discerned. He was right. I've used such procedures since and been quite satisfied with the result.

    Additionally, a good excercise in dealing with color and value is to get a hold of a whole bunch of paint chip cards in a wide variety of colors from Home Depot or other paint dealer. Cut them up into individual chips and try sorting them into groups of similar values. Training your eye to recognize values despite their chroma helps one to do what the filter is used to do.
     
  14. HenceForthWith

    HenceForthWith Member

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    Hi David,

    I got the two Peak viewers on ePay for about $20. I see them on there occasionally.

    Jon
     

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  15. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I've also noticed that the prices at the auction site for the Zone VI filters seem exhorbitant.

    Many years ago, I bought a Wratten 90 filter, and cut a piece to fit into a glass slide mount. I've carried it around with me for probably 20 years - took it out while shooting earlier this week for perhaps the fitst time in several years.

    So given the amount of use that I have for it, buying a wratten filter and devoting a spare glass slide mount makes more economic sense that paying a ridiculous price for a commercial model.
     
  16. Andy Tymon

    Andy Tymon Member

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    Hi David,
    I used a wratten 90 filter sandwiched between two pieces of clear plastic for years. When I lost mine I found that two pieces of clear c41 film (the end bits you get back with your prints) will work in a pinch.It's not exactly the same colour but close :smile:
     
  17. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone! I appreciate all of the comments and advice.

    A very nice APUG member has actually agreed to send me a filter he no longer uses. :D

    I was just curious and now I can satisfy my curiosity. I'm also going to get me some string and frames. I'm just not as good at "pre-visualization" as some ... :rolleyes:

    Is this a great forum or what!

    Cheers, y'all.

    David
     
  18. edz

    edz Member

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    There are, in fact, multiple kinds of viewing filters--- perhaps Fred Picker never understood that (just as he never quite unterstood much but he had a lot of enthusiasm and was effective at selling snake oils). Ansel Adams seemed to go for the Wratten#90 but there are really better filters around.

    Are they worth while? I learned to use them back in my cine days. They are not, as commonly held here, for judging B&W but to judge lighting contrast. The light levels are attenuated so one can get a better indication of what kind of shadow detail might be possible and if fill lights are called for. One would use a set of other filters to judge the tonal separation. Together, I've found, one can better respond to conditions.

    I still sometimes carry my old DuPont viewing filter. Its colour is something between the panchromatic viewing glasses sold by Harrison or Tiffen and the yellow/amber glasses. If I want I then hold a yellow, green or red filter (if I'm considering one) in from of my viewing glass.