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Archive 2021 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)

  
 
nehemiahphoto
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)



Just thought I’d make a thread and centralized zone/FM resource for diffusion (or really any special effect) with some samples. The CV 75/1.5 thread has been high jacked a bit (or maybe more of plot twist if we are being optimistic!), but here are a couple links and test photos, and I’ll post more below:

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1608503/23

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1608503/26#15556673

For those that don’t know, there are several companies that make diffusion filters. I went with Tiffen which is a reputable brand. The filters seem to be geared towards cinematographers historically and even now more than still shooters. However, while I like lots of modern glass, sometimes the images are simply too clinical, contrasty or not to my liking while I the AF, small, size, weather sealing, flare resistance, ability to be serviced etc. desirable. Or I might want an affect that a filter offers for a particular shooting context or subject. These filters offer the best way I have found to get a different look, often softer or more vintage, or just tone down the IQ in a transparent not gimmicky way.

I know there are various virtual filters and post processing to manipulate images in about every way, I have not had the kind of success or ease that I have with diffusion filters so far in post. But, please do drop links, thoughts or your own tests and images to enrich the thread—it’s for all of use to learn. I know @HelenaH, @bjhurley@ and @highdesertmesa and @Fred Miranda have been actively discussing and can contribute helpful info/experience.

Lastly, I have made 2 raw files available for anyone who wants to try and share virtual filters so we all have a shared reference point Please manipulate away and tell use what you did. Also, I have 3 other types of filters coming I will use on a Tamron 70-180 and Samyang 75/1.8.

Some notes:
- The BlackPro Mist, which is common, has several side affects: lessening contrast by lifting shadows, halation of point light sources (see test photo of light pole), smoother tonal transitions in the light and highlights and a “pastel” affect on images, which I have found to be a slight but noticeable shift in the color palate that is cooler and gives a bit of a fine matt-type texture. One other nice affect I had no read or considered but have observed is axial CA is diminished as filter strength goes up--which makes sense as tonal shift are less distinct and contrast is lowered. Bokeh is also softened as contrast again is lowered and you’re affecting adding SA.

You will find, you need to change your processing when dealing with filtered files, and your files will look different. With the Black ProMist, I really like how the filter soften clouds with light and highlight tonal transitions like the high contrast b/w posted below. In my experience, the filter allows for a high contrast push of the files that does not feel crisp or uber modern in a good way (road photo). On finely detailed or textured subjects, the filter can have a very softening and flattering affects (Yuri photo) while still retaining rendering and tonal richness.

- the strength is rated as 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 3 with 1/8 being the weakest and the 3 the most pronounced. 
That metric system seems to be common across manufactures, though I have read the strength of a filter, 
say 1/8, from each maker will vary. Longer FL’s generally need a stronger filter to get the same affect. 
For instance, I have found a 35mm will take a 1/8 to equal my 75mm getting a 1/4. Roughly, the 1/2 on my 
35mm’s equals the 1 on my 75mm.

- the filters range in their affect. Some reduce resolution and micro-contrasts for a more flattering look but 
don’t change the feel of the image and are described as transparent. Others, like the test shots might add
 color shifts, blooming, halation, modulate contrast conspicuously, change color temp, fog, tobacco 
filters, creates halos etc.

- Some filters add speckling in the bokeh due to the way the filter glass is engineered as @bjhurley@ kindly 
pointed out. This seems to be filter based, and only at some focusing distances with some lenses—please
 feel to share more if you know more here.

Original:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51099685809_df45c75733_k.jpg

Pentax 31 ltd crops:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51099700377_03c53a68b1_k.jpg

Original:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51100159048_0cf31bf385_k.jpg
CV 75/1.5 WO Crops:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51099686004_0ec9c65e4d_k.jpg

Original:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51099618326_8d1d7657c3_k.jpg
35i crops:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51099606236_56acd0b90c_k.jpg

Original:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51099698854_0791fd4171_k.jpg
CV 75/1.5 crops:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51099713867_89f07c1538_k.jpg

Real Photo RAW Export with CV 75/1.5 @f1.5 w/BPM 1:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51099623836_4ff2396441_k.jpg
Real Photo with CV 75/1.5 edited to taste:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51100429390_c2e4e2b2b0_k.jpg

31 Pentax @1.8 A7c:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51100411205_c5abd2d1b3_k.jpg
31 Pentax @1.8 A7c with BPM 1/8:
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51099685849_e311c82cb9_k.jpg

And below are more real world images using the filters:





35i @ f8 w/BPM 1/8







35i @ f2 BPM 1/8







35i @ f9 BPM 1/8







Pentax 31 w/BPM 1







Pentax 31 w/BPM 1



Edited on Jul 07, 2021 at 11:40 AM · View previous versions



Apr 06, 2021 at 05:58 PM
bjhurley
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


Great demos and comparisons! And of course I'm always happy to see someone wearing a Hurley t-shirt.

I originally got my diffusion filters for cinematography, to reduce the contrast of one specific lens (Sigma Art 18-35/1.8 zoom) and they do a nice job with that. I never considered using them for stills until last year when I decided to add one to an already vintage lens to accentuate the glow just a bit more; this is on a Minolta MC Rokkor 55mm/1.7

Inuit carving by Brad Hurley, on Flickr

I don't have a filter-free image to compare it with, but the glow you see at the top of the carving's head and around the shoulders is accentuated by the filter (I used a 1/8 strength Hollywood Black Magic diffusion filter). The grid pattern in the background is not caused by the filter; that's a screen in the window.

The "speckled bokeh" effect can be seen in this photo, which I took this morning using that same 1/8-strength Hollywood Black Magic on a 1990s-era Tokina ATX-Pro 28-70mm/2.6-2.8 zoom. I shot into the sun to provoke veiling flare but also to see if it would produce speckles in the OOF highlights, and it did; you can see it pretty well here.

speckled bokeh2 by Brad Hurley, on Flickr



Apr 06, 2021 at 06:42 PM
highdesertmesa
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


Reposting the link I posted in the previous post

X100V w/Black Pro Mist 1/4:

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1190792/26#15259715



Apr 06, 2021 at 08:10 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


Are you guys mostly using these filters in combination with shooting wide open?

I had a PM conversation about this a while back with Brad. I was wondering how effective diffusion is when stopped down? It will certainly depend on filter strength, focal length, subject content and lighting. But I guess the initial concern was that the diffusion pattern might somehow become noticeable in images, or in OOF specular highlights, etc.

The application I'm thinking about is head shots/portraits. I typically do these at around 135mm on FF at around f/8 for sufficient depth of field on the face. The background is usually very uniform and without any OOF specular highlights. Modern lenses and highly resolving sensors can be unkind to "no longer so young" subjects and I guess I'm hopeful it could be an in-camera solution to save time later in post.



Apr 07, 2021 at 01:45 AM
bjhurley
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


rscheffler wrote:
I had a PM conversation about this a while back with Brad. I was wondering how effective diffusion is when stopped down?


When we talked about this, I tried using my 1/8-strength Hollywood Black Magic with an 85mm lens stopped down to f/8 and couldn't see much if any impact on the image. I have a 1/4-strength filter as well but it's awkward to mount (it's a cinema-size filter and needs to be used in a matte box), but a couple of stronger ones (1/2 and 1 strength, 77mm circular filters) are coming my way and I can test them with a 100mm lens stopped down to f8. Once those arrive in a week or two I will test and post results here with and without filter. Nehemiah might be able to do these tests as well, maybe with more modern lenses than I have.



Apr 07, 2021 at 06:41 AM
HelenaN
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


Thank you very much for sharing Nehemia and bjhurley too! Very interesting and helpful. I'll almost certainly buy one or two more, but it's hard to choose...

As mentioned in the CV 75/1.5 thread I have the Haida Nano Pro Mist Black 1/4. Meant to get Tiffen, but didn't read the eBay ad carefully enough, so it's my own fault. Very pleased with it though and it was quite a bit cheaper than Tiffen. Can't really describe the effect except that it does give a more gentle look, has some highlight blooming and can give quite a bit of veiling flare, which I like.
Btw. I haven't noticed any black spots in my photos or the filter itself.



Some comparison examples (copied from the CV 75 thread)):
All taken with CV 75/1.5. Bare lens first, then with the filter.

https://helenasphotography.com/keep/1_CV75_f15_bare.jpg

https://helenasphotography.com/keep/1_CV75_f15_black-mist.jpg

https://helenasphotography.com/keep/2_CV75_f15_bare.jpg

https://helenasphotography.com/keep/2_CV75_f15_black-mist.jpg

https://helenasphotography.com/keep/3_CV75_f15_bare.jpg

https://helenasphotography.com/keep/3_CV75_f15_black-mist.jpg

https://helenasphotography.com/keep/4_CV75_f15_bare.jpg

https://helenasphotography.com/keep/4_CV75_f15_black-mist.jpg

And a couple showing veiling flare:


Snowman standing guard by Helena, on Flickr


Into the light by Helena, on Flickr



Apr 07, 2021 at 07:58 AM
retrofocus
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


Thanks for sharing - even I find it bit funny that with all those expensive and modern sharp and contrasty lenses blur/diffusion filters are now applied to make the images look more vintage. On the other hand I rather use vintage lenses in the first place which create similar effects directly and more realistically looking. The Leica 50/1.5 Summarit is a great contender here wide open, or the Leica 50/2 Summitar LTM lens.


Apr 07, 2021 at 08:34 AM
bjhurley
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


retrofocus wrote:
Thanks for sharing - even I find it bit funny that with all those expensive and modern sharp and contrasty lenses blur/diffusion filters are now applied to make the images look more vintage.


Agreed. As nehemiah mentioned above these filters are mainly used in cinematography, where sharpness and high contrast are frequently undesirable--especially if you're trying to evoke or emulate film or if you want an image that flatters an actor's skin. Cine lenses are expensive; filters allow you to achieve a variety of looks without having to buy separate lenses or spend time and money having a colorist make those changes in post.

I'm having fun using these filters on vintage lenses, which accentuates some of the things I like about them in the first place. And while it's true that some of these effects can be achieved in post, part of the enjoyment for me is seeing what comes out of camera.




Apr 07, 2021 at 08:45 AM
HelenaN
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


I don't like having too many lenses, so I appreciate how these filters can make any lens "two in one". You can get the sharp modern look, then change it into a vintage style look when it suits the subjects.


Apr 07, 2021 at 09:18 AM
highdesertmesa
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


retrofocus wrote:
Thanks for sharing - even I find it bit funny that with all those expensive and modern sharp and contrasty lenses blur/diffusion filters are now applied to make the images look more vintage. On the other hand I rather use vintage lenses in the first place which create similar effects directly and more realistically looking. The Leica 50/1.5 Summarit is a great contender here wide open, or the Leica 50/2 Summitar LTM lens.


If you take a lens that is near perfect wide open like the RF 50 1.2, the BPM 1/4 doesn’t make it look more vintage or even less sharp, IMO. The effect I like is the bokeh smoothing and general atmosphere change of the image. There is also something about it that seems to increase the perceived saturation of color when used in gold hour lighting.

I have been meaning to try the BPM 1/4 on the Q2M, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I especially want to try it in combination with the red filter to see if it makes the images look even more like infrared film by adding a slight glow to the brightest tones.

The filter HelenaN is using is cool because it gives the effect of using a single-coated or uncoated lens. I think the Tiffen Black Pro Mist effect is a little different.



Apr 07, 2021 at 10:16 AM
nehemiahphoto
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


retrofocus wrote:
Thanks for sharing - even I find it bit funny that with all those expensive and modern sharp and contrasty lenses blur/diffusion filters are now applied to make the images look more vintage. On the other hand I rather use vintage lenses in the first place which create similar effects directly and more realistically looking. The Leica 50/1.5 Summarit is a great contender here wide open, or the Leica 50/2 Summitar LTM lens.


@retrofocus - A couple things to consider. A $50 filter is much cheaper the a $600 dollar lens you mention, much easier to carry, and you’re not locked into that look. I just bring a filter with me, pop it on and off, it weighs 50g. Plus, many of these older smaller RF lenses are getting quite expensive, as is older well known glass in general. We also don’t have older options to recent equivalents, either optically or with modern amenities like AF, weather sealing, structurally smooth renderings, reduced overall size, EXIF, etc.

Another aspect of older lenses is the many are 40-70 years old, meaning maintenance is quite a bit harder, and warranties are nill, they can be hard to find etc. Also something to consider is the filter I used above has several characteristics which do make a vintage vibe with reduced contrast, a faux layer of SA, halation of point light sources and color shift. But, the diffusion filters vary considerably in their effects. I ordered one for my Tampon 70-180 which is “transparent”, meaning if offers no flare or loss of contrast, just smoothes fine textures and backgrounds. I know that’s what Fred was asking about on the CV 75/1.5 thread for his Sigma 65i. Does not change the feel of the image, merely accentuates or slightly alters its rendering in a preferable way. I have another couple filters slated to arrive tomorrow, including the transparent one (Digital Diffusion FX) what I can post photos of with my Tamron.

@rscheffler I will show you the Tamron at 135mm @ f8 with and without the Digital Diffusion FX (neutral filter described above).

@highdesertmesa lol you beat me to it. The filters are indeed diverse in affect and strength! Please post your experiments!



Apr 07, 2021 at 10:23 AM
ftllens
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


BPM 1/4 on Samyang XP 85 1.2 GFX50R (I shot these before I sold the filter)

DSFS1489 by Visual Novel, on Flickr

DSFS1485 by Visual Novel, on Flickr

DSFS1479 by Visual Novel, on Flickr

DSFS1475a by Visual Novel, on Flickr

DSFS1474 by Visual Novel, on Flickr



Apr 07, 2021 at 11:01 AM
bjhurley
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


nehemiahphoto wrote:
I ordered one for my Tampon 70-180 which is “transparent”, meaning if offers no flare or loss of contrast, just smoothes fine textures and backgrounds. I know that’s what Fred was asking about on the CV 75/1.5 thread for his Sigma 65i. Does not change the feel of the image, merely accentuates or slightly alters its rendering in a preferable way. I have another couple filters slated to arrive tomorrow, including the transparent one (Digital Diffusion FX) what I can post photos of with my Tamron.


I'll be interested to see these. It sounds similar to the Schneider Radiant Soft cine diffusion lens (expensive, and only available in cine sizes so even more expensive because you're paying for a lot of glass). The video interview with James Cressanthis here is interesting; he talks about some of the benefits of using a filter vs. applying diffusion effects in post: https://schneiderkreuznach.com/en/cine-optics/cinematography/filters/emotional-filters/radiant-soft



Apr 07, 2021 at 11:15 AM
retrofocus
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


Other option I read as alternative to these kind of diffusion/flare filters is to put a thin layer of vaseline onto the front lens. Did anybody try and see if it causes a similar effect as the filters do?


Apr 07, 2021 at 11:30 AM
ftllens
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


retrofocus wrote:
Other option I read as alternative to these kind of diffusion/flare filters is to put a thin layer of vaseline onto the front lens. Did anybody try and see if it causes a similar effect as the filters do?


You can put stocking over a uv filter too or pretty much anything. Just don't put it directly on your front element cause it's a pain to clean.

The filters are kinda overpriced, but sometimes amazon warehouse has good discounts on them (just make sure you get the actual thing and not a UV filter swap scam).






Apr 07, 2021 at 11:55 AM
highdesertmesa
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


retrofocus wrote:
Other option I read as alternative to these kind of diffusion/flare filters is to put a thin layer of vaseline onto the front lens. Did anybody try and see if it causes a similar effect as the filters do?


Ew I will probably never try that

Filters like the BPM have a very fine gauze-like pattern mesh – not sure if it's etched or what.

A good place to see samples of this filter put to good use are in some of the nighttime photos of Jonas Rask in his various lens reviews. Neon lights at night look great with the BPM.

Trying to do the same with Vaseline would probably give you a much higher reduction in sharpness.



Apr 07, 2021 at 11:57 AM
Zplusc3
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


Anyone here have any experience comparing the Tiffen Black pro mist vs, Kenko/hoya black mist vs Moment cinebloom ? I've been thinking of buying one and have been reading up on reviews but still haven't decided on which one to get.


Apr 07, 2021 at 12:36 PM
highdesertmesa
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


Zplusc3 wrote:
Anyone here have any experience comparing the Tiffen Black pro mist vs, Kenko/hoya black mist vs Moment cinebloom ? I've been thinking of buying one and have been reading up on reviews but still haven't decided on which one to get.


Order all of them, keep the one you like, and let us know The Tiffen seems to be the most popular, but I have no idea how it compares.



Apr 07, 2021 at 12:46 PM
theHUN
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


nehemiahphoto wrote:
... my Tampon 70-180 ...



Typo of the year.



Apr 07, 2021 at 01:13 PM
nehemiahphoto
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Diffusion Filters! (or Effect Filters in general)


theHUN wrote:
Typo of the year.


Vaseline and Tampons—this thread is superb. By page 2 we’ll be talking about how to builds patios and keto diets



Apr 07, 2021 at 01:17 PM
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