Which three filters would you choose?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by kaihc, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. kaihc

    kaihc Member

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    I've often seen the advice that beginners should "for one year use one camera, one lens, and one film". While not exactly a beginner I intend to try this anyway in the hope to become a better photographer. I will use my Pentax LX, my 43/1.9 limited and lots of Delta 3200. I often shoot in low light situations.

    I have a small case attached to the camera strap with room for three filters. Which three filters would you recommend that I should always bring with me, and why?

    Many thanks in advance!
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    UV for protection. Spare UV. ND so you can use the camera outside at noon.
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Polarizer

    Red

    Yellow

    All for extra pop in contrast
     
  4. zsas

    zsas Member

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    1)ND
    2)Yellow
    3) -

    Re ND, with 3200, you might find yourself in a bright scene outdoor and need to cut it down a little more and shoot wide

    Re yellow, you might find yourself in a situation where it's rather drab out, put on the yellow and you can get some nicer contrasts.

    Re 3rd, two seems about enough, too many variables and you might lose sight.
     
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  5. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    Polarizer - Great 1st choice, helps reduce reflection and also works as a mild neutral density filter, around 0.3 I believe.

    0.6 ND Filter - Use this filter whenever you need to slow your shutter speed down to get the wonderful blurring appearance. Use the Polarizer first, if that isn't enough use the 0.6 ND, if you still want more then stack them.

    Yellow or Orange contrast filter - obvious choice for Black and White and helps bring out the clouds in the sky if you do any landscape or scenery shots with black and white. Either one of them are useful for portrait photos as well so they are flexible.

    But, I would hate to limit my filters, at some point or another I use a lot of different filters, but these are probably the most used in my bag.
     
  6. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    On the lens (always, unless you're using one of the others): UV or similar, transparent in the visible spectrum, for protection.

    Polarizer (if you tend to shoot reflective subjects like glass or water, or if you want to darken blue sky).

    Red or yellow for enhanced sky/cloud contrast. There are different 'strengths' available.

    Neutral Density (as E. suggested) if you insist on using such fast film.

    I strongly recommend against stacking filters. Having two adjacent planar surfaces greatly increases the chance of flare.

    - Leigh
     
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  7. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Polarizer - mandatory, especially if you shoot colour.
    Red - if you shoot black and white, to really darken skies.
    Yellow - if you shoot black and white, to make skies a little darker and yet natural.

    If you get a fourth: orange, something in between red and yellow, for dark but not whack-you-on-the-head dark skies.

    If you shoot colour only, then the filter choices will be slightly different, but you'd definitely still want the polarizer.
     
  8. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I wouldn't use any.

    The basis of one camera, one lens, one film philosophy is to simplify your gear and concentrate on composition and techniques. Adding a filter complicates this.

    If you must use a filter, I suggest yellow. It renders sky more naturally then without. If you are shooting in low light situations and using Delta 3200, obviously, sky isn't part of the scene. I wouldn't use any filters.

    I know this isn't what you asked, but if I am going to stick to one film, I'd choose something more generic, like ISO 400 films - unless you are going to exclusively shoot low light images.
     
  9. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    RED, YELLOW, GREEN and ORANGE (sorry that's 4)
     
  10. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    I've never found a use for a green filter, although I have such for the Nikon and Hasselblad.

    Green will lighten foliage, but if I want that I'll shoot infra-red and get a much more dramatic effect.

    What am I missing?

    - Leigh
     
  11. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I concur fully and would like to add that I personally seldom use filters. When people use filters they tend to overuse them. It is helpful to remember that in photography there is always a price to be paid. A filter adds two additional surfaces to the optical path. Even with the very best filters there is some degradation of the image.

    If you decide to use a filter then buy the very best quality. If you use wide angle lenses you will need a filter with a curved surface to avoid further distrotion.
     
  12. kaihc

    kaihc Member

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    Thanks to all for advice!

    I used HP5 (EI320) as my only film for about two years and often found myself in situations where a tripod was required, hence my choice of Delta 3200. I will probably rate this film somewhere between 1000-1600. For years I had an old Pentax ES with a 50mm as my only camera and learned quite a lot from that. On the other hand I've never been any good at judging when and why to use filters which is why I would like to extend the "one of everything"-philosophy.
     
  13. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I use it for foliage when I do not want such a dramatic effect. Good for portraits too though.
     
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  15. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    I shoot exclusively black&white in large format 4x5 and 8x10 (some 35mm and MF work is in color, not relevant to this thread).

    When I use filters, it's usually as an experiment, rather than trying to get a specific look. I might take a dozen or more shots of the same scene using different filters and exposures, just to see how much variation I can get of the same subject.

    - Leigh
     
  16. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    I agree and I respectfully disagree. The idea behind one camera, one lens is definitely to limit your options and to force you to look at ALL your composition options and creative techniques. I would suggest that adding filters enhances those composition options, not complicates it.

    I do agree, filters are not usually the first choice in low light photography. But filtering can still be useful in low light, and sky may be part of the reason. By using a graduated ND filter you can reduce the light coming from the sky which allows you to increase the light coming in from the rest of the scene without necessarily losing some of those nifty cloud patterns that you may want to include, or blowing it out all together.

    Actually, I have been looking closely at Delta 3200 myself. It appears to be a very versatile film and should be capable of holding up to overexposures all the way to ISO 400. I haven't personally played around with this yet but I have picked up a few rolls to see how well it works at various ISO settings. It is certainly intriguing. I'll probably find out I am all wet on this one, I usually am, but it is going to be great fun finding out. :smile:

    Far from seeing people over use filters, I don't think most people think about them at all, or at least not much. It is certainly important to have a specific purpose for your filter, maybe all you want to do is see what impact it has. I think filters are a terrific option if you want to achieve a certain look and if you are not sure what that look will be, experiment away. I definitely agree that you are introducing another couple of glass surfaces to the light path, so you want to be using good, multi-coated filters. But the purpose for most of my images is not sharpness, it is the image, and filters can frequently enhance that.
     
  17. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    A man after my own heart, but probably the most useful filter is a double polariser which can also be used a variable ND filter.
     
  18. whlogan

    whlogan Subscriber

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    1) #22 Orange... and its really orange... none of this wimpy half orange stuff... real orange
    2) #29 Red .... real red.... really !! not a 25 . a 29.... get used to it... dark red... RED
    3) #1 close up should do the job.
    Give 2 stops for the #22 and 3 stops for the #29 nothing less.... make those skies sing.
    Logan
     
  19. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Simplcity is a good thing but actually for me the "one film/camera" idea is about really about understanding the tools and media and being able to make them do whatever you darn well please to get the final result you want.

    Delta 3200 can be shot from EI 400 to 12500 without even straying away from the directions.

    Modifying it's response to color with filters is just part of learning the film.
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When I bring three filters, they're usually medium yellow, orange, and a polarizer. I find red too dramatic for most situations.
     
  21. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    This is exactly the reason I suggest shooting various filters.

    Everyone's vision is different, and thus the reaction to various filtration results and effects will be different.

    You don't know what you like until you try the whole range, then select whatever works best for you.

    You'll never find out if you don't experiment in the first place.

    - Leigh
     
  22. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    red, orange, green
     
  23. ROL

    ROL Member

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    1) Red will not be helpful to you as a beginner. It will wipe out the natural tonalities of most panchromatic films. It is an unprofitable crutch many neophytes use to achieve overly dramatic sky contrast they incorrectly assume to be associated with Ansel Adams type landscapes. The fact is that AA rarely used it, save for one very infamous example. Try looking for interesting compositions and good light instead of slapping on strong contrast filters (orange included) – that will be much more helpful in learning to expose and develop film, and to eventually print beautiful pictures.

    2) Stick with yellow(s), removing blue light from incompletely panchromatic films, for natural contrast.

    3) Consider green for proper contrast if in red rock country or for bright spring foliage (depending on the green). It will also help with sky contrast in the bargain.

    5) Polarizers are OK, but heavy and a lot of extra glass. Their use can largely be avoided with yellow filters, unless you truly need to reduce glare from elements in the scene (and often unpolarized light scintillations can be among the most beautiful parts of an image).

    6) Light blues may be used to increase haze effects, reducing normal contrast, for deamy, or "atmospheric" effects (but then so can fog or stray natural lighting).

    7) Forget the UV filters unless you feel you must protect your lens (perhaps from water). They are almost entirely useless with panchromatic films. Better to learn to accommodate under the enlarger. Why put any piece of glass between you and your subject that can only further degrade the image?


    In the end, use of any filter should serve to increase an broaden your understanding of the character of light and film. I think it very important that any diligent learner attempt to find the purest way to satisfying their particular visualization before experimenting with, or resorting to, exotic light adjusting techniques.



    * Black and white panchromatic films.


    P.S. ...just not telling you which three I'd use.:tongue:
     
  24. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    To those who think it's better not to use any filters... I think that photos taken on black-and-white film with a yellow filter actually look more natural than many photos taken on black-and-white film without a filter at all.

    Yellow makes skies look more normal than they do naturally (due to panchromatic film's light response). Orange makes skies look dark but not terribly unnatural. Red makes them look dramatic - a red filter has to be used judiciously, but sometimes, a red filter can make the image.
     
  25. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Red #29, Green #61, Blue #47 so you can do in-camera separations.

    I agree with Leigh, Green sees little use. I always have it with me because green's my favorite color, but I think I used it once in 1978 and I don't know when the next time was. Oh portraits, right. I don't do many of those. I prefer landscape.

    The last time I talked about filters with a knowledgeable friend, he told me to use Orange for Large Format. So I added that to my set. Now I carry Yellow, Red, Orange and Green and most of the time all I ever use is Yellow and Orange.

    I don't use a UV filter for protection. Well, maybe on the Leica. I sometimes take them off just before shooting.
     
  26. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    PhotoJim,

    This is the classic argument and applies to classic films. You should re-evaluate this for modern films, which have less blue sensitivity - they better approximate visual response "out of the box".