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  1. #1
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    bw contrast filter use and recommendations

    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. #2

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    You might like a yellow filter.

    Jeff

  3. #3
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kubach View Post
    You might like a yellow filter.

    Jeff
    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. #4

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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. #5

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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.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  6. #6

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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. #7
    msbarnes's Avatar
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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 msbarnes; 02-01-2013 at 06:32 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    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..
    I thought that collectively we had managed that

    pentaxuser

  9. #9
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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. #10
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pentaxuser View Post
    I thought that collectively we had managed that

    pentaxuser
    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.

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