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  1. #1
    cmo
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    Softars and other diffusors

    Guys, I think I ignored all my life that people are vain, more than I had ever expected.

    See here:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum47/9...tal-story.html

    So, I am setting up a small studio-to-go with very large softbox types like these:

    http://www.paulcbuff.com/wfdf.php

    And, of course, I want a soft lens... but I don't want to scratch Summicrons and Elmarits, and I don't want to invest a fortune.

    But I have no idea what are the differences between:

    - vaseline on an old filter
    - a Softar
    - a Duto
    - other diffuser scrims
    - special portrait lenses like the Imagon

    What do you recommend for classy, slightly kitschy portraits with a 35mm SLR that make the model really happy and still look good enough that I don't have to ashamed of myself?
    The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands smell like fixing bath.

  2. #2

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    I have a Hasselblad Softar 1. They come in three strengths and can be stacked. They have a "dimpled" surface. When I use it I focus accurately and let the filter soften the image. I am not overly interested in special effects so this takes the edge off close face shots when desired. Since I do my own printing I prefer to diffuse at that time. There are a number of techniques for that as well. One I have found to be effective is to take two 3/16ths thicknesses of glass (smooth or tape the sharp edges) and put some baby oil between them. Depending on the amount of oil and how much you smush the glass around you can control the amount of diffusion with it placed under the enlarger lens. It has worked very well and is adjustable and cheap. I suppose you could use it in front of the camera lens but I haven't tried it.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  3. #3
    martyryan's Avatar
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    I can't make any recommendations for what is best, but it is amazing the amount of vaseline you need to use to be noticed!
    Here is a shot I did way back, vaseline on a filter and pushed Ektachrome 400 a stop or two( I don't remember 30yrs later).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img045.jpg  

  4. #4

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    Most prefabricated filters use a diffusion pattern that is uniformly distributed across the surface of the filter. This doesn’t allow much variation and the central area is equally diffuse as the rest of the image. It works, but can be boring, as there is no relatively sharp area about the face.

    By making your own, especially by smearing something that can be cleaned off, you can experiment with various patterns and strengths without permanently altering a filter.

    If you don’t like the effect, you can clean the filter and start over.

    Some of the most useful effects are realized by smearing a thin film of petrolatum about the outer 40% to 80% of the filter and leaving the center clear. Then by choosing various aperture values you can tune the percentages of sharp vs unsharp image-forming light.

    The clear center projects a sharp core while light passing through the smeared outer areas projects a diffuse, out of focus image onto the sharp core of the image.

    Done right, this can deliver effects something like a “poor man’s Imagon.” Close the aperture, and much of the smeared area is blocked from contributing to image formation so that the image is sharper and less diffuse.

    Shoot wide open for the maximum softening. Intermediate aperture values give intermediate softening.

  5. #5

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    Nikon had a series some years back in 52mm that worked well for me.

    Many years back I used a stocking stretched over an old filter ring.

    Another old trick is to spray a skylight filter with cheap hair spray.

    B2

  6. #6

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    I have a Zeiss Softar One (the weakest ) It is plenty diffusing enough for portraits. The stretched mesh diffusers are good too,but use black mesh or you will get horrible ,flat results.
    The Softar "glow" is quite distinctive , and is not aperture dependent, unlike many soft filters.

  7. #7
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    I second the black stocking technique. I had to add half a stop of exposure when using it,



 

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