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Use of IR Filters for M8 B&W Photography


lanetomlane

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Jaap brought up a particularly interesting point, to me at least, in this original post.

 

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/250835-old-new-m8-2-a.html

 

I've taken the liberty of starting a new post under a different heading as I thought a lot of people "who are in the know" may not have bothered reading the post under the original title.

 

Basically I would be interested in peoples' view on using an IR filter when using the M8 for B&W photography. I have been using my M8 exclusively for B&W for sometime and have always been happy with the results. However, Jaap has recommended their use and may well be right as I have never even considered using one. I guess I will try using one and make my own comparision but I would still be interested in what other people think.

 

I seem to remember an article in LFI in which they suggested not using the filter, but it was a while ago and my memory is not what it used to be.

 

Thanks for any comments.

__________________

Tom Lane

 

 

 

 

Photography by Tom Lane

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IR filtering is highly recommended as to remove any IR contamination, also for B&W images with the M8, M8u and M8.2! Works with trees, leafs and grass etc.

Much sharper B&W but also color images with the UV/IR filter.

I only remove the filter when shooting into the sun as to avoid/reduce flare and reflections.

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Well, strangely enough it even depends on the lens, as the amount of misfocus with IR light varies with the lens. The basic premisse is that the M8 will record an IR image that is basically about 4-5 stops underexposed compared with the visible light image, but in a different focal plane. It will lighten up foliage and some shadows to a certain extent, reason a number of B&W shooters prefer it.

If the lens has an IR hotspot, one will even add vignetting.

 

However, being out of focus, there will be a slight deterioration of contrast edges, thus of sharpness. Certainly not enough to really spoil a photograph, but still I can see a more crisp image when I use an IR filter.

.

Add to that that shadow density can be manipulated in Photoshop, I feel there is a case to be made for using IR filters on the M8 even for Black and White..

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I always keep a UV/IR filter on my M8.2s, for b/w and color. I'm not about to take it off each time I contemplate a b/w pic, especially considering that any significant issues can generally be addressed satisfactorily in PP. Plus, the lens remains protected.

 

Jeff

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Any filter degrades an image

 

Really?...probably news to folks who use color filters to better render colors or even improve b/w (as Leica recommends a light yellow filter for the new MM), or a polarizing filter where appropriate, etc. And I challenge anyone to figure out which camera or lens was used for any given pic, let alone a filter. I've even seen perfectly fine pics with scratched lenses, showing no evidence of lens damage.

 

Jeff

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Filters do degrade the image. If you doubt this take the example to the extreme and shoot through 50 filters, link below.One filter is a 50th of the effect but it is an effect. Another argument is whether you can actually see that effect and is it relevant. The benefit of using an "effects" filter will outweigh the detriment, usually, I may make an exception for a starburst :D

 

LensRentals.com - Good Times with Bad Filters

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Edge contrast can be manipulated much easier than 4-5 stops of under-exposure.

For me the filter stays off for B&W.

Localized sharpening in the channels can also be used.

 

Any filter degrades an image and also reflects light, ( the very thing you are trying to capture).

The point of a filter is, if you made the right choice, to reflect exactly the part of the light you do NOT want to capture.

If you find it easier to cope with edge contrast (which is true - up to a point), and difficult to deal with the unsharp underexposed IR part of the image, that is an excellent argument to use an IR filter.

Edited by jaapv
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I've already weighed in on this subject on the other thread, but I thought I might toss this in as an aside. Back when the M8 was fairly new Barack Obama was running for President. He had a rally here and I went with my M8, but I hadn't received my filters from Leica yet. So he came and made a big speech and John Kerry endorsed him and it was a big deal. Because of the way the M8 rendered colors I discovered that Obama was wearing a polyester suit! And Kerry was wearing natural wool. It was interesting and told me that since I shot nature and landscape I really didn't need to worry about all the discussion of using or not using the filters at the time.

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Filters do degrade the image. If you doubt this take the example to the extreme and shoot through 50 filters, link below.One filter is a 50th of the effect but it is an effect. Another argument is whether you can actually see that effect and is it relevant. The benefit of using an "effects" filter will outweigh the detriment, usually, I may make an exception for a starburst :D

 

LensRentals.com - Good Times with Bad Filters

 

I was always taught that filters degrade an image. I've used Leicas since the late sixties and years ago I remember a lecturer saying why put an inferior piece of glass in front of a superb Leica lens.

 

Also, you're adding two surfaces to the lens which may create the lighting effect but surely cannot improve the actual quality of the image.

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Regards, Tom

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Yes - any filter does degrade an image - but it is a very small effect with a good filter. The point of the discussion here is whether the removal of the degradation of the image by IR light outweighs the filter effect. I think it does - by a fair margin, and that the use of an IR filter overall improves a B&W image on the M8. Whether that is the case on an M9 is a question, although color rendering is clearly improved there as well.

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Yes - any filter does degrade an image - but it is a very small effect with a good filter. The point of the discussion here is whether the removal of the degradation of the image by IR light outweighs the filter effect. I think it does - by a fair margin, and that the use of an IR filter overall improves a B&W image on the M8. Whether that is the case on an M9 is a question, although color rendering is clearly improved there as well.

 

Again I completely agree!

 

Your black fabrics that often are rendered purple, will also be much darker, black and have correct graduation of the shades into the blacks.

 

Please note: The M8 is the only digital camera where I would recommend to always use a filter in front of the lens; a UV/IR filter. Other applications require Polarizing filters or Natural density filters yes.

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For focal lengths of 35 and longer.( Shorter focal lengths need an LCC profile in C1) I simpy find it easier to postprocess color images taken under high-IR conditions', which I have when in the tropics and fortunately right now at home as well :).

It is essential imo if you want 100% color fidelity, for instance for commercial product shots. (Which I obviously never take ;))

 

It tallies with Leica's opinion, which claims "more than 80%" IR reduction, placing the M9 into the <best 30% of cameras> group in this respect, albeit rather at the low end of those 30%.

Which means IR filtration is adequate to good, but not exceptional.

 

I would like to point out that UV/IR filters were around for much longer than the M8. Heliopan brought its "Digital" filters to the market in the mid-90ies, because all sensor cameras struggle with IR.

 

The M8 filters about 40% of IR, with the well-known results.

Edited by jaapv
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Any bit of glass will be less than 100% efficient and have various effects that afflict all lens elements to a greater or lesser extent. It will become part of the lens system in a a very small way. The stacked filter pictures and particularly the 5 cheap filter picture demonstrate that you should ideally only use when required.

 

Hoods protect lenses for me and I personally don't use UV filters 'to keep the lens from damage' as some do. I did however use Leica UV/IR filters on my M8 for obvious reasons. I did read about the wavelength of IR light and how this might 'smear' detail a little through abberations on the M8, so possibly worth keeping on for B&W. I'd try both with and without to see if I was to shoot B&W only.

 

I don't use filters generally on my M9

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Noise is a problem in under-exposed shadow areas taken with the M8's.

 

If you can gain density in those areas, and in effect extend the dynamic range of the image by not using a filter. Thus reducing noise in the image.

 

Tom, take some test photos and see what you think for your type of shooting.

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Of course. but if you are in such conditions that you have deep shadows that need lifting because of noise , i.e. high ISO, high contrast and probably bright specular highlights or lightsources in the image, IR filters will most likely be showing reflections.

In that case it is better to shoot without anyway.

 

Adapting your technique to the (light) situation is one of photography's basics.

Edited by jaapv
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Almost never used filters before the M8.2 and i don't quite like wearing red noses but i'm getting used to them more or less reluctantly. Problem is i'm often too distracted or too lasy to remove the filters in due time but fact is i prefer the M8.2's IQ to that of the M9 generally so if filters play a role i won't be choosy.

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Even if you make a monochrome, the tones are still screwed up without the cut filter.

 

I only take mine off for pure ir photography, monochrome only, and then add a deep ir filter such as the B+W 092 or 093 occasionally I have marked the proper focus points on each of my lenses for the filter.

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