bw contrast filter use and recommendations

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by msbarnes, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I want to start playing with b&w filters for non-people use.

    I'm having trouble deciding between these filters: 040/041/090/091 (orange, red-orange, light red, dark red).

    I prefer convenience and simplicity over "optimal" results. I just want to slap on a filter and go because I'm not that serious about photography. I prefer b+w because they are built well and I'm not looking into cokin/lee filters, graduated, etc. That seems a little overkill because I do not plan on doing things slowly, such as spot metering, using a tripod, and all that stuff. I just want to focus and compose.

    More importantly, my applications:

    Flowers: i like to take pictures of flowers on occasion and i notice that my bw pictures are flat because well...most colors desature to very similar shades of gray. I was thinking of a 090 or 091 filter to darken the greens and lighten pink/red/white flowers.
    Scenics: Similarly, I feel that a darker skys look better but that redder filters would obliterate my shadow detail, maybe, so I was thinking 040 or 041.

    Any suggestions on filters, I'm willing to buy more than one if you guys with experience find uses for having multiple ones. This is probably an open-ended question but I figured that someones experience can save me money from buying and testing all four filters. All examples would be great but I was just thinking of 040 and 090, not to overdo things and to maximize versatility.
     
  2. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    You might like a yellow filter.

    Jeff
     
  3. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Interesting, and is there little use for screw on orange/red filters? My yellow filters do not seem to darken the sky that much or bring enough contrast for flowers.
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If you take specific shots of flowers which aren't a small part of a much bigger scene then an orange or red filter will bring out the difference between red and green much better than a yellow.

    On the other hand if you live in a very sunny high contrast/bright and deep blue skies sort of area and take general scenes especially wide landscapes then a mid yellow filter might capture the gentle summer's day look better.

    On most occasions in the U.K. a light or even mid yellow filter can render skies which look a little weak in my opinion but the word "opinion" is key because that is what it is - not an exact science with a right and wrong. What looks like a natural rendering of a sky to me may not be natural to you or you may simply prefer darker, more dramatic skies.

    Finally I'd consider a yellow green and a green. The former for lightening scenes where green predominates and the latter where you might want to render green foliage much lighter and red petals darker. So the opposite effect to the red.

    You'll never know what is possible unless you are armed with yellow, orange, red, yellow green and green.

    Try the same scene with all 5 and examine the prints - probably the best way to learn how to gauge which filter is most appropriate for scenes in the future.

    Have fun

    pentaxuser
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    If you are "not serious about photography" and "just want to slap a filter and go", then I, too, suggest yellow or none at all.

    Although they are called "contrast filters", they don't actually change contrast. They filter certain color. It is called "contrast filters" because if you take images including blue sky, the will darken the sky in the order of yellow-orange-red. If you are taking flowers, color might actually interfere with your images. Especially with flowers, you'll need to understand exactly what color does what, and it contradicts with our goal with not being serious and want a one filter for all concept.

    Yellow is the most mild one you found out. As you go darker, it'll start to change significantly - which might very well result in changes you don't desire.

    Either that or you can buy an inexpensive set and try them out - but again, it will contradict with not serious and one filter for all concept.
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If the OP wants to screw on one filter and "go" I'd go for orange but as I and others have said one colour doesn't fit all and you'll never know the potential for filters unless you try the range

    I'd buy an orange and see if it does the job you want it to the way you want it to. If it does that's great and if not then invest in a bigger range such as at least yellow/green as well as the orange

    pentaxuser
     
  7. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I regret the way I phrased my question.

    what I meant by not "serious" and on the "go" is that i do not go out specifically to look for these things; however, if i see a nice scene then i would like to bring out the clouds or if I see a nice flower, then I would like to bring out the pedals. So I'm looking for a basic filter system to give me the most mileage and I am not restricting myself to one filter but likewise I do not want a whole collection.

    I know how filters work. I have identified the problem: I want to pronounce the sky in scenes and differentiate the colors between flower pedals and leaves. The next logical question is which filters work best for me? The natural answer is to try everything and find out yourself. I was simply hoping (maybe too wishful) for some guidance to eliminate some from the four next filters that i have narrowed it down to..

    My thinking is that dark red might be overkill and that the difference between say orange and orange-red is too subtle. So from these four I was thinking orange + red will be more versatile, and possibly a green for a yellow / orange / green / red system, and just forgetting about the ones in between (yellow - green , orange - red, dark red).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2013
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I thought that collectively we had managed that :smile:

    pentaxuser
     
  9. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I'd like to add, the manufacturer of the filter is equally important to the results you intend to get. Don't waste your money on a "cheap" filter. Consider the cost of your lens and do not degrade it unnecessarily with poor quality filters. Look for filters that are solid colored glass rather than a plastic film over clear glass. Consider your filter as a lens, not a lens cover, they make lens caps for that. Also, brass rims will never prove their value but that's why they're costly. Plastic rims will miss-thread and strip.

    I don't mean to derail the subject.
     
  10. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Yes, certainly. I was just clarifying what I wanted out of this thread. Most people seem to have had the notion that I was looking into using one filter for all applications.
     
  11. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thanks! I appreciate that. Although expensive, I prefer B+W MRC because they are easy to clean and also because they do not bind on onto my lenses. I know that Hoya HMC are just as good or better optically, but the aluminum (I think) rims feel icky after using B+W. For this reason, I would rather choose my filters wisely because they are expensive. I use UV (for protection) and Yellow mostly so I was looking into expanding my system.
     
  12. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Yes to green, Polarizer, yellow, red +/- orange, blue.
    You want a colour to be darker than what it looks, use its opposite on the colour wheel.(blue sky darker use yelloworange or red)
    You want a flower to look lighter, use the same colour filter.( yellow dandelions whiter use yellow)
    I prefer the older version of the B&W filters that are thicker on the front end, more to screw two together. They are usually only single coated but it seems enough.
     
  13. gliderbee

    gliderbee Member

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    Don't forget a polarizer: it can darken a blue sky (depending on the angle of the sun without darkening the greens (as a red filter does).

    Stefan

    Verstuurd van mijn GT-P7510 met Tapatalk
     
  14. lacavol

    lacavol Member

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    I would suggest the Kodak Databook on filters, Amazon lists two used (ca. 1953) for less than $10. These little phamplets have taught me more about filters for B/W film than anything else. They give the traditional Wratten numbers as well as the newer numbers for the filters. The yellow (K2, or 8) tends to record the eye view most realistically on films like Tri-X. The other filters are more dramatic. If you have purple flowers then you might use a blue (C5, or 47) to bring out the flowers from the green foliage. Or red (A, or 25) for red flowers. The most common for lanscapes depending what you want for sky effects to terrestrial are usually K2 yellow, G deep yellow, X1 green and A red. Of course I have gotten good results with B/W with an 85C also. I tend to hold the filters up to the subject when choosing and only look at contrast between objects. If I really like the subject I may make multiple exposures with different filters.
     
  15. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    Really? Not that serious about photography? Just by choosing to work with a film camera these days suggests the opposite!:smile:
     
  16. Cold

    Cold Member

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    I have a small filter set for my Canonet and am working on assembling a similar set for the small Nikon kit I'm putting together (Currently just an FM2n with a 50/1.8 and a 55/1.2 that pulls double duty for night work on my D300).

    For the Canonet, I've settled on: medium yellow, red, light green, a polarizer, and a small assortment of NDs I got in a bundled purchase of somewhat uncommon 48mm filters (from this site, I believe). In low light (anything darker than a heavily overcast day) I go without a filter at all, but if it's daylight and decently bright, I like to add the yellow filter as a general rule to boost contrast a bit in landscapes. It's not overwhelming, but the difference is notable. If the light is very bright, I'll go to an ND, or use the red for a more striking effect.

    For the Nikon kit, I currently only have a dark yellow. I plan to add to this: Dark orange, yellow-green, a polarizer, and a few ND.
     
  17. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    Colored Filters to Alter Subject Density of Photos Shot on B&W Panchromatic Film

    Listed by subject color, (filters to lighten), (filters to darken) in current Kodak Wratten numbers.

    Red (lighter 29, 25, 15), (darker 47, 58)

    Green (lighter 58, 15, 11, 13), (darker 47, 25)

    Blue (lighter 47), (darker 29, 25, 15, 58)

    Blue-Green (lighter 47, 58), (darker 29, 25)

    Magenta/Pink (lighter 29, 25), (darker 58)

    Purple (lighter 47), (darker 58)

    Yellow (lighter 15, 25), (darker 47)

    Orange (lighter 15, 25), (darker 47)
     
  18. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    Back in the distant past when I used to do landscape and nature photography, I found that the very best filter to use was a Minus Blue (Kodak Wratten no.12) filter. It is really great for bringing out skies and foliage (especially when there is a lot of haze about).

    It has a filter factor of 3 (which is much less than a deep orange or red), gives a significant result but is far less 'theatrical' effect than a red filter.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de