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  1. #1
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Sharpness and filters

    I just started to shoot B/W from color on medium format. I added some top of the line B+W Schneider B/W filters. I used Tmax 100 developed in a pro lab in Xtol. I think I noticed that the sharpness when using the orange filter is not as good than without a filter. I'm looking at the results by scanning on a flatbed.

    Should I expect a loss in sharpness?

  2. #2
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    I just started to shoot B/W from color on medium format. I added some top of the line B+W Schneider B/W filters. I used Tmax 100 developed in a pro lab in Xtol. I think I noticed that the sharpness when using the orange filter is not as good than without a filter. I'm looking at the results by scanning on a flatbed.

    Should I expect a loss in sharpness?
    sharpness is a combination of contrast and resolution.a clean filter won't affect eitherbutsometimes.filters can pick up a little surface fog,affectingimagecontrast.just make sure your filters are really cleanbefore using them.mine fog up from being kept in foam-padded jewlery containers and need occasional cleaningwith glass cleaner.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  3. #3
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    Many people were swearing that filters degrade final image - so long time ago I did test yellow, orange and red filters - no loss on 30x40cm print visible against same lens without filter (testing lens was nikkor 50mm).
    As Ralph sad - they must be clean. And it looks to me that filters in general are bigger magnet for dust then lens alone.

  4. #4
    ROL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Should I expect a loss in sharpness?
    Possibly a loss in sympathy, if your purpose is scanning.

    As focal length increases, the high optical quality of filters becomes increasingly important, where image quality may be degraded by inferior glass or gels. I doubt that would be much of a factor with clean B&W filters. TMAX films would not be my choice for comparisons of sharpness. I hope you were at least comparing filter use using only TMAX examples. You might find more conclusive results with a high acutance developer like Rodinal or Pyro, on straight grain films. Lastly, your purpose for using moderately strong orange filtration on panchromatic films should be specific and rare, unless you are using artistic license with realistic tonalities. That, will otherwise degrade your images in far greater ways than simply putting more glass between the composition and the film.

  5. #5

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    Filters always affect sharpness. It's just a question of how much. It's one more set of air/glass interfaces. Basic optical science. It's one reason I only use the highest-quality multicoated filters. But in certain scenes, the apparent sharpness of a negative will actually improve simply because you might cut thru the UV or haze using an appropriate filter. Longer wavelengths are atmospherically scattered less than blue light, of course, so a red filter will often reveal details otherwise obscured by smoke or haze. Some films are susceptible to UV at higher altitudes, so a simply UV or skylight filter might help too. Then of course we use contrast filter to bring out certain things within a scene differentially. This
    might make a neg more contrasty in the sense we desire it, and hence appear better differentiated in the print itself; but this should not be
    confused with optical sharpness - nor should any of this.

  6. #6
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    If you're handholding then your technique likely affects sharpness more than any clean and high quality filters would.
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    I'm looking at the results by scanning on a flatbed.

    Should I expect a loss in sharpness?
    You could expect anything in that case. How about just looking directly at the negatives in question .

  8. #8

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    I happen to shoot 8x10 negs and chromes atop a heavy wooden Ries tripod, printed large Cibachromes for years so precisely that you'd need
    a loupe to see all the detail present in parts of the print, and know exactly what I am talking about. Somebody enlarging 35mm to anything
    even remotely as big has nothing to see up close anyway but a ball of mush and fuzz. But because you have to enlarge the neg or slide far,
    far more in that case, the effect of filter loss would be even more dramatic. The worst filters are polyester psedo-gels, followed by sandwich-style Tiffens, then old-school true gels. But I can tell the difference even using the best multicoated ones. But when you need filters you need them - and that happens to be quite often in my case. Another nice thing about MC glass filters is that they resist smudges and condensation better than plain glass, so this in itself helps them stay sharper.

  9. #9
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    You won't get your answer on a scanner and computer screen. You need to make a good wet print.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  10. #10

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    A yellow or red filter will give you more contrast, so whatever sharpness will be lost (negligible in my experience) will be offset by the increased contrast. It's a wash. Orange filters are odd ducklings, at least around here. They change the look of B&W so drastically that I prefer not to use them. Good for portraits maybe. I think they don't add contrast like the yellow and red, so compared to those two, my photos may LOOK less sharp w/ an orange filter.

    I've used very cheap filters and very expensive ones, and never saw a cat's whisker of difference between them. As for flare, keep a good hood on the lens and it doesn't matter. Other people may have different experiences, this is mine.

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