Filters vs Photoshop

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Nicole, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    I have an opportunity to purchase a large selection of filters for well, not very much and they are all in very good condition.
    1) Is it worth buying filters these days with Photoshop and other technology available?
    2) What are the pros and cons with filters?
     
  2. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    I forgot to mention, I don't do my own processing (yet).
    Thank you for taking the time.
    Kind regards from West Australia
    Nicole
     
  3. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    First I have to say that the filters are great for analog use when you want to make a great negative for use in the darkroom. A red filter can enhance the sky so it becomes more dramatic. That could be done in Photoshop as well, but then it cannot be used in the darkroom /which is my prefered tool to make prints). I have a rather good collection of filters which I use a lot.
    Second, the pros are that you can manipulate tones directly in the exposure, and create a negs with the tones ready for printing (as said above). The cons are that every filter you put in front of the lens you add to more surfaces that can become dusty and full of grease from fingers etc.

    That was my 2 danish kroner...

    Morten
     
  4. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    If you intend to do b&w work, a minimum set of filters is important. Take for instant a scene in which a red apple site before a green background. With “normal???” film, the subject, the apple, would fade into the background and no PS manipulation would be possible. However with a red filter, the apple would be rendered lighter than the background and with a green filter, the opposite.

    Filters are important.
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    In addition to Morten and dr bob's good words:

    'Colour' filters (colour balance, colour correction) or 'B&W' filters (green, yellow, red etc 'contrast' filters) or both?

    B&W filters:
    First - if you are using B&W film there is no way a Photoshop filter can replicate the actual effect of a filter in front of the camera. That's simple.

    If you are using colour film, and channel mixing , then you do have the possibility to choose which 'filter' to apply after the exposure. There will be a quality difference, and extreme filters like the deep reds especially won't be replicable, but there are many ways in which this method is a good one (heresy! burn her!).

    Colour
    With slide film: no contest, use filters on the camera.

    With neg film: this is a much more equivocal issue in my mind. For absolute colour fidelity use camera filters. Otherwise overexpose and correct in Photoshop. I'll stop there in case this is not what you were asking about. Just ask if you want me to expand on these dangerously brief generalisations.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  6. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Even if you use photoshop a good image is far easier to 'fix' then one that is broken.

    Some items require good 'capture' to compensate for digital's short comings (not intended to be anti digital). Such as using an ND grad to compensate for the limited dynamic range of D-capture (especially camera, but also non-drum scans).

    In colour images, digital just like traditional, colour balance is best done at the time of taking. With b&w a lot can be said in the positive about tweaking the RGB channels of a colour image to achieve the look of the traditional filtered B&W image. The rub is that you need to start with a colour image. I know of no way to digitally imitate a Red 25 (as an example) on an image that is B&W and therefore has no red/Green/Blue to filter. This is further complicated by the spectral sensitivity of the film. Some B&W films have differing sensitivities to colours (Tech pan and Red as an example) which makes them unique and not easily duplicated digitally. Colour film has a different grain structure than B&W (dye clouds v. grain) giving the final image a different 'look' from B&W when converted to greyscale.

    Finally, If you decide to go the digital route please PM me regarding the filters I might be interested.
     
  7. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    'In colour images, digital just like traditional, colour balance is best done at the time of taking'

    Um... doesn't it depend on what 'best' means? I'm not disagreeing if 'best' means 'best colour fidelity' (I completely agree in that case), but aren't there other compasses to hold?

    Best wishes, and much non-contentious respect,
    Helen
     
  8. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, I am speaking of colour fidelity. I also whole heartedly agree that if you don't have the filter(s) overexposure can allow for cc to be done at the enlarger. Conversly, a dense neg can be a problem when scanning.

    Best regards and heaping helpings of non-contentious admiration particularly for your mondo-bella mane

    jdc
     
  9. Art Vandalay

    Art Vandalay Member

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    The only good thing about the digital craze, and I say this with a heavy heart, is that traditional equipment is becoming very cheap on the used market - phenomenally cheap! I would take advantage of this and buy the filters regardless. It may make a huge difference to your photography, or it may not, but if you don't buy them you'll always wished that you had.
     
  10. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    I have been shooting digitally for about 12 months after getting frustrated with my old Pentax MZ-50. I realised since then that film is far superior to digital (or maybe its my lack of understanding in Photoshop - or my waining interest of spending hours in the 'digital darkroom' - instead I'd much rather be out doing what I love - taking photos) and of course my MZ-50 was too basic for what I was trying to achieve.

    Since then I have invested in a much better 35mm and a medium format.

    I am interested in these filters as I'd rather be creative with my camera than with a computer. Suppose that hits it on the nail, doesn't it!

    Your views are all very interesting and I'd love to hear more.

    Kind regards from West Australia
    Nicole
     
  11. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Thanks everyone! I'm off to get the filters! :smile:
     
  12. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Buy the filters.