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Thread: Soft focus filter?

  1. #1

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    Soft focus filter?

    Hi,
    Are there any usable soft focus filters on the market? I am using a filter for women portraiture in b/w. or is it a stupid idea and I should get a decent soft focus lens, because chances are, that those filters don't hold what they promise?
    Thanks for your advice
    Dennis

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by rince View Post
    Hi,
    I am using a filter for women portraiture in b/w. or is it a stupid idea ....
    Dennis
    What I meant to say was, that I want to use a filter , not that I am using one ... Sometime my iPad does strange things to my writing and I will not realize until after I hit send ...

  3. #3
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: Soft focus filter?

    There are two filters which come close to what a soft-focus lens does. The first is a B+W Zeiss Softar, and the other is a Tiffen Soft FX. Both of these have "dimples" cut into the surface of the glass. This allows the shine from highlights to bleed into the shadows, and the shadows stay dark. Other filters will reduce the contrast in your shadows. However, a set of those filters will run what a used Imagon costs.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  4. #4
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Soft focus filter?

    If you are looking for cheap and soft, get Reinhold's wallaston lens and use it at f5.6-8.

  5. #5

    Re: Soft focus filter?

    Actually the Softar from Zeiss was also available from Heliopan, Rollei, Hasselblad and Contax as well. We still have a 67 and a 77mm Softar II in stock even though Heliopan stopped selling them some time ago. We also have a demo 55mm Softar II available also.

    To be accurate, there was only a Zeiss Softar. The companies that sold them made the rings. The rings were sent on to Zeiss and Zeiss mounted the Softar in the ring. So there was never a B+W or a Heliopan Zeiss Softar. There was just the Softar. The box that the filter came in said Heliopan or B+W, the filter did not.

    But there is also a copy of the Softar that works very differently, although it looks like it. It is from Asia. B+W and others did sell it with their name on it. So if you have something that looks like a Softar but does not say Zeiss Softar then you have the copy.

  6. #6

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    Re: Soft focus filter?

    I use both of the filters Brian Miller mentioned. They are acceptable but not quite as good as a "real" SF lens. For the filters, I find anything mroe than the lowest level of softening to be too much.

  7. #7

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    Re: Soft focus filter?

    p.s. on smaller cameras I actually like Duto filters better than the soft filters -- especially in comparison to the Nikon soft filter which I find even the least soft version to be too much.

  8. #8

    Re: Soft focus filter?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    p.s. on smaller cameras I actually like Duto filters better than the soft filters -- especially in comparison to the Nikon soft filter which I find even the least soft version to be too much.
    The DUTO filter has concentric rings rater then the random lenses of the Softar. Heliopan does still have the DUTO filters in most sizes. They are also considerably less expensive then the SOFTAR. But soft focus is a personal thing. Too much and many people feel that it is out of focus rather then soft focus. Of them all I prefer the Softar in either of its weakest strengths. But bear in mind that lighting and contrast are important componants of soft focus.

  9. #9

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    Re: Soft focus filter?

    My favorite soft focus effect comes from a series 8 ring that has a wire mesh in it and nothing more. No glass. It gives a pretty cool effect. I'll dig around and try to find one of the negatives I've done, scan it and put it up.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  10. #10

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    Re: Soft focus filter?

    The "soft" filters can give a nice effect, but they aren't the same as from a true soft focus lens that works through sphereical, or sometimes chromatic, aberration. I'd agree that the Softars give the best imitation, but it's still an imitation.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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