Shooting B&W without filters.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Mike Kennedy, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    I am forever searching my home for misplaced step rings & filters.They are either on another lens,in another camera bag or for instance today,not here at all (I had lent it to a friend).There was a thread which mentioned going filterless but I can't find it.
    Should I rate my film or meter differently? Maybe even develop or print another way.

    Thanks
     
  2. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I seldom use filters with B&W. When I do use filters, it's with medium format and slower films. For 35mm, it's usually nothing more than a UV filter.

    Use the box speed of the film for speed rating (unless you've determined a different EI by testing) and just proceed as you normally do. The effect filters have on B&W is more in the relationship of grey tones to each other than in exposure or development technique.
     
  3. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    It depends. With through-the-lens metering, you might get adequate exposures without any exposure index adjustment. Otherwise, you may have to apply up to several stops more exposure, depending on both the filter and the subject.
     
  4. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    You may want to give more exposure and a little less development, since one of the main uses of filters in BW is to tone down the sky a bit, and this is easier if you keep develop a little less than normal. Nonetheless, most current films react to more exposure very well, i.e. they don't lose contrast in the highlights until you really nuke them. So if you make sure that you expose such that you have enough detail in the darker areas of the image, usually darked toned areas in shade, and you don't over develop, you'll still have lot's of good detail in the brighter areas, usually the sky and clouds. You'll probably have to do quite a bit of burning in to get that detail on paper, but that isn't hard to do.
     
  5. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    Thanks all!
    I'll have a go at it tomorrow.
     
  6. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    When going w/o filters, expect less detail in clouds if shooting outdoors. Skin tones will also be distorted, it depends on where you are looking.
     
  7. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Michael A. Smith claims he never uses filters for his B&W's. I have no reason to dispute this and he seems to get pretty good tonal range.

    I myself however use them sparingly to emphasize a specific thing.
     
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I have 4 B&W filters and I have difficulty recalling many shots where the filters really made a difference EXCEPT in that area which nearly always seems to be in my shots to a greater or lesser extent, namely sky. I have yet to capture any decent blue sky and cloud shots without a filter. The best were with red + polariser and most of those didn't appear to be over the top. OK maybe I like more defined skies than most but in any non filter shot the sky is a featureless white.

    Anyone with any success at scenes that include sky without filters, I'd appreciate your advice. On a bright day I actually enjoy looking through an orange or medium red filter. It seems to brighten the day. A bit like the saying about looking at life throught rose coloured spectacles.

    pentaxuser
     
  9. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I'll admit, I'm using them sparingly also. It depends on the color temperature of the light source.

    Perhaps the modern lens coatings are doing a good job at balancing tonal values with modern films. I have some older photos taken w/o filter and the contrast had much to be desired.
     
  10. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Filters are mostly for contrast control. And there is more tonal seperation in negative of decreased exposure. Maybe drop a zone or two and then push it. Personally, I have not shot filterless for a long time on purpose.
     
  11. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    What b&w film are we talking about? A pan film with enough red sensitivity can of course give quite nice results without any filtration.
     
  12. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I rarely shoot B&W with filters. When I do use them, it's usually a polarizer or yellow, sometimes a red.