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Guest roey

Contrast Decreasing Filters?

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Guest roey

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Inspired by Sean's reviews I have bought one of the lower contrast CV lenses for my M8 to use in high contrast situations (e.g. sunny days). I like the results and I am wondering whether there are any filters available that achieve the same thing for my higher contrast lenses? A quick look at the B+W website didn't turn anything useful up. Does anybody here know of a solution?

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Back in the pre-digital days, I had great success with a special filter from Tiffen called "Ultra Contrast". Designed for cinemaphotography, it didn't boost contrast, but rather "shared" some of the bright highlights with the deep shadows, thereby reducing contrast--without degrading sharpness. I used it to great advantage for harshly sunlit scenes, as well as in making reasonable internegatives and in duplicating slides. The filters are available in most popular sizes, and in 3x3" drop in. They are graded #1to #5. I found the #3 to be just right for most situations.

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Roey,

 

How about taping very fine gauze or a very fine denier, but sheer, stocking over the front element? (Remember to remove the occupant first though.

)

 

Pete.

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Guest roey

Thanks for your suggestions. I think I will give the Tiffen filter a try.

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Roey,

 

It appears that in addition to its Ultra Contrast filter Tiffen also offers a Low Contrast filter and a Soft Contrast filter that you might also like to consider. I'm not familiar with any of these filters but the weblink below shows the effects of each of them.

 

Tiffen contrast filters

 

Pete.

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Guest roey

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Hi Pete,

 

I had found that link after reading ismon's post. The Ultra looks like it is doing what I am after: lowering the contrast without unduly impacting overall sharpness and resolution. I have ordered one and will try it out this weekend. I can post the results if anybody is interested.

 

- Roey

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Very interested. It might be the sort of thing one could shove on the front of a summilux asph to help it out in asia. Appreciate if you could post links here.

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Guest roey

I got the filter last Thursday. Since then we had some very nice and bright days and I did several test shots with and without the filter on my M8.

 

The filter reduces contrast by distributing light from the highlights across the whole frame. The effect is similar to an even flare across the whole frame. It's strength depends on the ratio between bright and dark areas: If you have a lot of bright areas in the frame the flare is very intense. In some cases the histogram didn't show any data in the lower third. In these cases the resulting picture looks washed out. When adjusting the black point so that the histogram looks reasonable, the shadows lack the detail I can see in the pictures taken without the filter.

 

Another problem is that the shadows get contaminated with the colors of the highlights, i.e. if you have a lot of bright foliage in your picture the shadows show a distinct green cast.

 

The filter might be useful if you shoot a scene with just the right ratio of shadows and neutral highlights and just the right dynamic range and you apply just the right tone curve to the resulting image. But it is definitely not the "turn my high contrast lens into a sunny day lens"-filter that I was looking for.

 

On a positive note: Seeking out high contrast scenes I was surprised by the dynamic range and shadow detail the M8 captures.

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With film, contrast can be reduced via a double exposure by"fogging" the film first ie taking a picture of a diffuse light source but at eg one sixth of the indicated exposure and then taking the actual subject ... never tried this with digital but expect it will work equally well.

 

Cheers

 

dunk

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The filter reduces contrast by distributing light from the highlights across the whole frame. The effect is similar to an even flare across the whole frame. It's strength depends on the ratio between bright and dark areas: If you have a lot of bright areas in the frame the flare is very intense. In some cases the histogram didn't show any data in the lower third. In these cases the resulting picture looks washed out. When adjusting the black point so that the histogram looks reasonable, the shadows lack the detail I can see in the pictures taken without the filter.

 

This does not surprise me at all. I expect that when using the filter and adjusting the black point as you did, you will also lose some tonal gradation. It's exactly like using a lens with lots of internal reflections vs. using a modern Leica ASPH or APO lens, and one very big reason I prefer high-contrast lenses.

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Guest roey

Here are some samples: 1: without filter, 2: with filter, 3: with filter and black point adjustment. I had to adjust WB to make it the same on both images.

 

[ATTACH]153443[/ATTACH] [ATTACH]153444[/ATTACH] [ATTACH]153445[/ATTACH]

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