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Thread: Filters and Digital Age

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Beds, UK

    Filters and Digital Age

    For those seasoned photographers, I am a relative new comer to large format, recently being using digital, therfore apart from a polarizer and Graduated Neutal density flters I don't use warm up filters or an other filters.

    Now I am shooting film and eventually the good ines will be scanned and corrected with Photoshop, do you thing warm up filters or any others are as useful, and woould continue to use them

    Your experience and thoughts

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Filters and Digital Age

    I sometimes use a polariser or ND grad with color film, and several colored filters with b/w.

  3. #3

    Re: Filters and Digital Age

    Basically you get it as close as you can in the camera and on the film. Then when you scan later, if there is a slight adjustment needed, you can do that. Larger adjustments could cause problems in some areas of your scan. The concept is that you give yourself the closest to optimum image you can on film, and then minimize your time post processing and scanning.

    Since I do lots of night and low light imaging, I find the various blue filters very useful. Usually that means an 82A or 82B, though rarely an 80A. In daylight, I sometimes shoot at the coast, under hazy conditions, so sometimes an 81A will be use to warm things up a bit, or provide some mild UV control. I only use a polarizer when I am dealing with reflective surfaces.


    Gordon Moat Photography

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Lakewood, CO

    Re: Filters and Digital Age

    If you're shooting with daylight balanced color film, then you'll definitely need warming filters in addition to those you've already got (GND and CPL). Daylight film will take a blue cast when you shoot in shade or in cloudy conditions and there will be times when you don't want that. You might also want 1 stop gnds which aren't often needed or recommended on digital. In digital it wouldn't be worth it, but especially on E-6 film, it always helps to get it just right when shot.

    Then if you shoot B&W the range of B&W color filters comes into play. Yellows and yellow-green and orange and red...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Re: Filters and Digital Age

    I never go on location without a red and an ND wedge and a screw-in orange. The wedge for sky and the window side of interiors - the orange for B&W sky and long daylight exposures on tungsten colour film. I never found any use for the polarizer.
    However, when the subject stands still, it's a hard choice between that and a multi-shot digital blended with an HDR processor like Photomatix.
    Pride and predjudice usually makes me go for LF and filters though it's easier to screw-up LF than it is to screw-up digital.
    (Also, on location I'm risking $30,000 of digital equipment against $250 of home -made LF)
    Here's my red wedge:

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Ottawa, Canada

    Re: Filters and Digital Age

    For B&W, definitely the coloured filters are handy. It would require a lot of photoshop work to do what they do (careful masking, etc).

    What is not recorded cannot be fixed in Photoshop. This is particularly relevant if you are shooting narrow latitude film like transparency film, so things like grad filters, split density and polarizers (which can limit their effect) still have a role. As others point out, generally the closer you can get to the your final image the better.

    That being said, if you don't shoot B&W, or don't shoot bright skies or the like, you are quite likely to getaway with minimal filters and post-process instead. YMMV.

  7. #7
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Salt Lake City, UT

    Re: Filters and Digital Age

    I do everything in camera since I hate doing more than I have to sitting in front of a computer.

  8. #8
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico

    Re: Filters and Digital Age

    If the film is getting scanned or I am shooting digital, I have quit using graduated filters as I can do so much more with gradients in PS. In terms of color balance with transparency film, I try to get it in the ballpark with filters and fine tune it in the scan UNLESS there are light sources in the image and I will do it all in PS so as to not risk additional flair from the filter. In terms of LF b&w to be scanned, I prefer to filter in the field, but with difficult subjects I will shoot color negs and add filtration effects in the conversion.

    at age 70:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Hudson Valley, NY

    Re: Filters and Digital Age

    For color film it is better to use a warming filter in the field rather than try to correct for blue cast in Photoshop.

    For digital I only use polarizer and GNDs. For film I only add warming filters.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Bend, OR

    Re: Filters and Digital Age

    Since I dislike computers and often show my clients actual chromes on a light table to let them select what they ultimately want, I do the filtering in the field. I dont carry gradient filters though- I at times dodge and burn using a black card held in front of the lens.

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