View Full Version : Filters for a tachihara

14-Aug-2008, 10:48
I am considering getting some filters for my Tachihara 4x5. I live in Florida and figure a polarizing filter is probably a must, but would like some ideas on other 'must have' filters. Also, what do I need to secure the filter?


14-Aug-2008, 11:17
It actually depends on your lens, not on the particular camera.
Most modern lenses accept filters which are screwed onto the front lens element. They come in various metric sizes (for example, 58mm and 72mm are very common sizes). Older lenses require a "slip-on" adapter which will take filters in Kodk "Series" sizes, such as Series V, VI, Vii, etc.
Here in Florida, in addition to the Polarizing filter, I use a medium yellow, Orance, Light red, and yellow-green filters. This is for Black and White. I never use anything except the Polarizer for color.
Good luck.

14-Aug-2008, 14:52
Thanks Bill. Yes it's for black and white. Without spending a fortune, can you recommend a brand? Also, when metering with a filter do you meter through the filter or do most of them tell you how many stops you lose? Is that even accurate?

14-Aug-2008, 19:31
I think that most of my filters are Tiffen or Vivitar, with a few B&W and Heliopan (and a beautiful set of giagantic glass for the Technika, which I bought on ebay and never used). For series filters, you'll probably have to get them used.
I just use the published filter factors.

Brian Schall
14-Aug-2008, 20:21
I think the Hoya filters are the best for the money. The Hoya HMC filters are better than the regular coated filters. They are cheaper but almost as good than the B+W or Heliopan but much better than Tiffen or other brands and only a little more costly.

C. D. Keth
14-Aug-2008, 22:18
Usually filter factors are accurate. If there's one you want to check you can do it very accurately with a light table and a spotmeter. Meter the table with the front of the meter right in contact with the top. Then do it with the filter. The result will give you a very accurate filter compensation.

15-Aug-2008, 08:30
You don't state whether you shoot color or B&W. The filters you'd want to use are much different for each medium.

I shoot color, mostly transparency. I very rarely use a polarizer because at the high altitude where I live, polarizers tend to cause the sky to look like deep space. This probably wouldn't be an issue at sea level. I use graduated neutral density filters and warming filters more than any other type of filter. If I lived in Florida (or any coastal area) and shot near the water, I would almost certainly look into reverse GND filters as well.

I use relatively modern lenses. All my lenses have front threads in common sizes (46, 49, 58, 67, 77). I use a Cokin P holder and hitech filters. Cokin P system allows you to use a ring to thread into the lens, a holder that snaps onto the ring and flat plates for the filters.

Brian Ellis
15-Aug-2008, 11:26
Filter factors in b&w photography are approximations. Filters pass their own colors and hold back others in varying proportions so how much light is passed with a particular color filter depends on how much light of that color is in the scene. A red filter will pass much more light when photographing the side of a red barn than when photographing a blue skyfor example.

Metering through a filter works pretty well though some adjustment is required even when that's done. View Camera magazine published a little table some years back showing suggested adjustments after metering through different colored filters that I used to carry around with me. Unfortunately I've misplaced it so I can't tell you what they are. Of course when you're using a spot meter, as many LF photographers do (rather than the kind of meter found on roll film cameras where the entire scene is metered) the effect of the filter on exposure is highly dependent on what you choose to meter through the filter.

If you want to economize you might look into the Lee system that includes a filter holder, a rubber band to hold the holder on the lens, and some basic 4" x 4" (I think that's the size) filters for b&w photography - i.e. yellow, orange, green, and red. I used that system with a Tachihara and it worked pretty well. A more expensive but better system IMHO is the Lee hood that accepts filters since that gives the advantage of a hood as well as a filter holder. You can research the Lee system pretty easily. I think the Cokin system that mrladewig mentions is similar. I used to buy Cokin filters to use with the Lee holder or hood because they were less expensive than the Lee filters.

The circular glass filters are nice but you either need to buy separate sets for lenses that take different filter sizes or step-up/step/down rings for each lens. Some people buy a set of filters in the largest size they think they'll ever need and then step-down rings for each smaller lens.

I've used most of the major brands of circular filters - b+w, Heliopan, Tiffen, Hoya, and probably others I've forgotten. I've never found any difference among them in the technical quality of the photographs made when using them. The b+w filters have a nice "quality" feel to them but I haven't seen any "better" results when using them as compared to the less expensive filters.

You don't need a holder to keep the filter in front of the lens. If you buy a 4" x 4" filter, for example, you can hold the filter by its corner in front of the lens with your hand and keep your hand out of the photograph. I started doing that after I realized that the Lee holder and rubber band weren't really keeping the filter tight against the lenses so I figured why bother with the holder, I can do as well just holding the filter up to the lens with my hand (being careful not to jiggle the lens while tripping the shutter).

While most people seem to think of filters to darken skies or reduce reflections, an equally important use in b&w photography is to separate tones that otherwise would merge. E.g., if you're photographing a red apple against a green leaf, the tones will merge and the apple won't stand out unless you use either a red filter to lighten the apple (and darken the leaf) or a green filter to lighten the leaf (and darken the apple to some extent).

I think many people over-use filters. Use of a filter in b&w photography should IMHO be the exception rather than the rule. They'll always increase your exposure time, they'll always add an extra air and glass surface to your lens which can't possibly improve the quality of your lens. So they should be used only when there's a clear purpose served by using them.

And finally - if you scan your b&w film and edit in Photoshop you really don't need most filters for b&w photography. Anything that can be done in b&w photography with the traditional colored filters can be done (and done better IMHO) in Photoshop. The only filters I use any more are a polarizer and a couple graduated neutral density filters and I could get by without the grads except that I like to get things as right as possible in the camera.

Obviously there are some opinions here with which everyone might not agree, and that's fine, I'm not an optical expert, I've just used a lot of filter brands and systems over the years.