Hand-Holdable Black and White Filters

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by AutumnJazz, May 17, 2008.

  1. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

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    I finally realized that I need filters for my black and white photography.

    I suppose I have three choices. A Red #25A (+3 stops), a Yellow #K2 (+1 stop), or an Orange G (+1.3 stops).

    So my question is, are the above hand-holdable? If the red filter isn't hand-holdable (which I doubt it is), is its effect worth it so much so that it should be bought in addition to one of the two above? Is the Orange filter so much better than the Yellow that it is worth the extra third of a stop?

    Thanks.

    Edit: I use a lens with an aperature of f/3.5-5.6 and film ranging from 100ISO to 25ISO.
     
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    First, starting out I would suggest rather than a 25 red a 23. You get the same effect but it's not as pronounced. Seen a lot of great shots cheesed with too much filtration of light. For my bag I have the Cokin filters, the square ones and more often than not I don't feel like fiddling with the filter holder so I just compose the image, hold the filter to the front of the lens and fire away.

    Oh, and consider getting a blue like an 81A to drop reds and to block golden hour atmospheric haze.

    Oh, and a Circular Polarizer is good for blocking glare and reflections form non-metallic surfaces.
     
  3. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    When I first started shooting LF I bought a B&W filter set from Lee Filters IIRC. They were polyester 3x3 inches, a red 23, a yellow (equal to a K2) a green and orange. I did not have any kind of a holder, just held them up to the lens barrel. With the camera on a tripod it did not really matter if the exposure was a few seconds since I could hold the filter with one hand and trip the shutter release cable with the other.
     
  4. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

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    Not good for skin tones? I love street photography. I suppose I would be better off with a yellow or orange filter, then?
     
  5. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    I suspect with "hand-holdable" you mean not the simple act of holding them in front of the lens (which I find impractical, one should use the threads) but "will they prolong exposure so much that I need a tripod". That depnds on the light levels, doesnt it?
     
  6. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    AJ, my suggestion is to use the orange for general street photography, it's what I use 90% of the time.

    I also use a yellow for general work and sometimes a yellow/green for portraits.

    The orange filter with FP4+ / HP5+ / Neopan 400 and Tmax100 gives me more or less all of the contrast enhancements required to make nice prints.

    I have the red filter as well but only use it on a tripod, 3 stops is just too much.

    With small clouds interspersed with clear sky, the difference between the orange and red filters, is there, but the orange wins hands down as being the far easier to use and see through.

    I use Nikkor glass filters, any reputable brand should be alright.

    Consider a screw in lens hood to lessen any flare with direct sunlight on your glass.

    Mick.
     
  7. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    What are your typical speeds now? Old-time rule of thumb is that you can hand-hold to approximately the reciprocal of the lens focal length using a 35mm SLR. For example, the theory is that you should be able to hand-hold a 50mm lens at 1/60th, a 28mm lens at 1/25th and a 200mm lens at 1/250th etc.

    Assuming a sunny day and using Sunny-16, shooting film rated at 100ASA @ f/4 you have 1/1600th of a second; take off 2.5 - 3 stops for red #25 and we are back down to around 1/200th second. This assumes it's sunny and your lens is open at f/4; in overcast conditions and/or when you want more DoF, you are likely to find yourself down to 1/25th or less. Slower film of course adds to the situation.

    The usual reason for red is in landscape shots to darken the blue sky against the clouds which prompts two immediate thoughts: (a) if you are using red it is probably sunny so that works in your favour, and (b) if you are shooting landscapes, you can use a tripod in any case which is even better!... :wink:

    As with all things, YMMV...

    Good luck, Bob.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2008
  8. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    If you are using a camera with a built in light meter, the meter will provide you with the "correct" exposure setting with the filter in place. With a hand held meter you need to compute the change as Bob F states in his post.
     
  9. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

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    That's exactly what I meant.

    My camera meters through the lens, so I don't need to worry about correcting exposure myself.

    I suppose I'll pick up an orange filter now, then. Maybe a red one when I get a tripod this summer.
     
  10. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Maybe. Probably.

    Some older camera meters were "color-blind", so the ttl meter might not give an accurate reading through a colored filter. Simple to test. Take two readings of the same scene with and without the filter. If the difference matches the filter factor, you're good to go.
     
  11. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    To get the best results from ISO 25 film, one should use a tripod if at all practical. Then high filter factors usually become unimportant. The old rule of thumb about shutter speeds and focal lengths is fine for those more concerned with following the rules than with making the best possible photographs. Big prints from slow film and fine lenses demonstrate the fallacy of such rules and of DOF charts. Also, with black and white photography, bracket your exposures until you know from experience what exposure index works best for you.
     
  12. Resoman

    Resoman Member

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    I find the effect of yellow filters not strong enough and I've never gotten a picture I like through a red filter, so I've settled on an orange filter for general use.

    Specifically, after trying the B+W 041 filter, I liked the results so much that I bought that same filter in sizes for (almost) all my cameras. B+W calls it "red-orange "; it just looks orange to me.

    It's a 4x (two-stop) filter, which makes calculating exposure pretty easy. The fact that I typically have XP2 film in the camera means that I've got enough film speed to (usually) be able to hand hold, if I choose to. The 041 is the only filter I carry, so the only filter decision I'm faced with is whether or not to use it.



    Regards,

    Gary,
    East Snook, TX
     
  13. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

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    I've been trying to bracket, but my camera seems to hate me. It has an auto-bracket function...which doesn't seem to work. I've got a Nikon F100. I, however, don't think that this is the place to troubleshoot such a matter.
     
  14. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    And bear in mind that if you meter with the filter in front of the lens it might not be the MOST reliable as, for example, a red filter will not block red light but block blues and greens so the light reflecting from local areas of your subject area will be affected in different ways. Learn to take this into account.