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Thread: Help with filter choice for black and white film, please

  1. #1

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    Help with filter choice for black and white film, please

    Hello Everyone,

    I'd like to ask your advice about selecting a filter for a particular use, both in terms of color and brand choice.

    To make the red markings on these trees darker, I'd imagine my choices would be between yellow-green, and a lighter or darker green filter. My question is: how much is enough filtration to make these markings more visible relative to the adjacent tones on FP4 and HP5 film, without making them overly pronounced? I shot some markings that were a similar orangey-red that became barely visible on black and white film. I understand the lighting and adjacent tonal values are important considerations, yet I'd like to choose one filter, if possible, that would be most useful with this type of red-orange on Ilford films.

    I'd like to go with a screw-on filter (67mm) because it would perhaps be the simplest remedy for a situation I don't often encounter. I have a small, light 4x5 field camera (Chamonix), and I'm thinking a compendium hood with filter attachment may be a bit much? However, if anyone does use filter gels on a Chamonix, please chime in with your experience and suggestions!

    As for the screw-in filters, I use B+W to protect my lenses, and have been happy with their build and results. Unfortunately, it seems B+W filters in the colors I'm considering don't seem to be available here? (Noted as unavailable on b&h, etc.) So, anyone have experience with Hoya or Heliopan filters? Or another brand?

    Thank you all in advance for your time and suggestions!

    David

    These pix are from an iPhone7. I've included them just to give you some visual idea of what I'm talking about ; )
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_6731.jpg   IMG_6732.jpg   IMG_6744.jpg  

  2. #2
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Re: Help with filter choice for black and white film, please

    Personally, if I were trying to emphasise the ted text on the tree bark, I would go for a green filter.

    I am not sure that Heliopan are making green filters anymore.

    However, Hoya still do a green filter - designated as an X1 and it is available in 67mm thread.

    Just make sure you buy a multicoated version (HMC in Hoya speak).

    I have found the effect of coloured filters on their opposite colours are not as great as you might imagine - or the brochures imply.

    If you can find a Heliopan green multicoated filter, then there is little to choose between it and a Hoya example.

    Good luck.

    Martin

  3. #3
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Help with filter choice for black and white film, please


  4. #4

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    Re: Help with filter choice for black and white film, please

    As you probably already know, a color filter lightens those hues similar to its color and darkens color on the opposite side of the color wheel. So, yes, a green filter would darken the red text. Another and, perhaps, additional way to separate the text from the values of the tree bark would be to underexpose the red text and do plus development. In zone system terms you might place the red text on Zone III and develop to push the tree bark to Zone VII. Of course, if there is any significant shadow area in the scene (like whatever that area is in your third attachment) then it would have to be considered, too.

  5. #5

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    Re: Help with filter choice for black and white film, please

    Thanks to Martin and the two Alan's for their helpful replies. Interested to hear from others about their experience and suggestions, as well.

    Martin's suggestion that darkening of complimentary colors is not as pronounced as the sales brochures might imply is very interesting. In this case, that would suggest choosing the darker of the two green filters. Has this been the experience of others as well?

    Thanks to all!

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Help with filter choice for black and white film, please

    Hoya X1 med green would distinctly darken the red markings without fully blackening those. But the red isn't pure, since some of the tree bark yellow is showing through, so a light Hoya X0 yellow-green would have only a minor effect. But the perceptual problem is that the spray paint stands out to ordinary sight being red; and only slightly darkened, it might just blend into the gray value of the tree itself. Fully minus red filters would include 59 Green and 61 green, hard to find these days; Tiffen might still make a 59. I always carry a med green Hoya X1 in my kits.

    Incidentally, Hoya HMC and Heliopan filters are every bit as good as B&W, generally even better in my opinion. But I use several brands, depending on who offers exactly what.

  7. #7

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    Re: Help with filter choice for black and white film, please

    I thought that CYAN is the opposite of RED -- in between GREEN and BLUE-- and that MAGENTA is the opposite of GREEN.

  8. #8

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    Re: Help with filter choice for black and white film, please

    This sample of a color image from the Sinar filter brochure with various B&W contrast filters applied to ilustrate their effect on color might help. Wratten filter numbers are very often used as a "standard" for filters. Testing B&W contrast filters is essential to dertermin how a specific filter alters contrast rendition of a given B&W film as each panchromatic film/orthochromatic film when contrast filtered might not respond the same as this example.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Sinar filter brochure:
    http://vmpalvelin.no-ip.info/Photo/D...ar_filters.pdf


    Bernice

  9. #9

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    Re: Help with filter choice for black and white film, please

    B+W filters.. at some point aquired by Schneider...

    Much like German optics and all related to the belief-idea of "German superiority", yes there is a lot of histroy of optical glass and optics rooted in Germany.
    As with many things tech, the information, knolwedge and expertise does spread around lots. Fact and reality today the Germans are not the only ones extremely capable of producing uber quality optical filters. Hoya, Heilopan are just two others that offer filters equal or better than B+W_Schneider.

    Recently did a trial of 10 f-stop ND filters for digital. The surprise was Promaster HGX (made in Japan) had very netrual color, good contrast/reflection control and close enough to spec density at modest cost. Hoya's better ND filters also had very good optical performance -vs- cost. The B+W ND filter of similar cost had more color shift and overall not as good a value. Tiffen was the real let-down at these higher ND filter values.

    Been using Hoya HMC since their introduction a long time ago.. they are a very good value in many ways.

    Testing based on actual image making can reveal what works best for the needs of image making, name brand alone is not always the path to what meets image making needs.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Incidentally, Hoya HMC and Heliopan filters are every bit as good as B&W, generally even better in my opinion. But I use several brands, depending on who offers exactly what.

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Help with filter choice for black and white film, please

    xkaes - cyan cc filters did exist, but they also especially prone to fading, so have seldom found applications as ordinary black and white contrast filters. Also, panchromatic films aren't linear in terms of spectral response. No need to go into details here. Get ahold of an old Wratten handbook with all the specifications, and you'll see what kind of specific filters were engineered to do what. And remember, when it comes to pure colors, the primaries of RGB when intense enough, meaning color separation filters per se, cancel one another out. Third, many colors in nature contain secondary hues which react to filters in unexpected ways.

    For example, a primary blue filter, namely, a 47 or 47B blue, will darken greens as well even more than any red or magenta filter. We all know from experience that green foliage actually contains a lot of yellow, orange, and red light, even infrared. Once the chlorophyll breaks down and fades out in Autumn, those secondary pigments remain and become visible to us. But they're there all along.

    Similarly with the sky. A med green filter will darken the blue in sky and enhance clouds just as much as an orange filter. And out in the desert, that's a valuable fact, because if you use the typical red or orange filter, it will brighten reddish sandstone colors and make them pale paste-like.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 10-Sep-2022 at 13:17.

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