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Author Topic: B&W filters for shooting digital  (Read 3375 times)
Deardorff
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« on: October 30, 2013, 09:57:28 PM »
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If one puts a Wratten #25 or #29 in front of the lens for digital as they would for normal B&W film, will it work the same way for B&W digital images?

Some of the digital cameras have built in 'filter' settings. Red, yellow, green and whatnot. But nothing as to what filter it actually is or is emulating. Nothing as to whether it is a Wratten #8, 13 or whatever.

So, can I get the B&W contrast I am used to with film - and a bit more control at the shooting stage - by using filters on the lens at the time of shooting?
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2013, 03:49:28 AM »
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If one puts a Wratten #25 or #29 in front of the lens for digital as they would for normal B&W film, will it work the same way for B&W digital images?

On a monochrome sensor, yes. On a Bayer CFA sensor there will be small differences, but in general it will have the same effect.

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Some of the digital cameras have built in 'filter' settings. Red, yellow, green and whatnot. But nothing as to what filter it actually is or is emulating. Nothing as to whether it is a Wratten #8, 13 or whatever.

So, can I get the B&W contrast I am used to with film - and a bit more control at the shooting stage - by using filters on the lens at the time of shooting?

You will get hugely more control by shooting digital color and adjusting the filter characteristics/effect  in post-processing. Here is a quick impression of the tonal controls of the older version of TopazLabs "Black and White Effects" plugin filter. The current newer version has many useful additions that give even more control, and quicker selections of color filters.

Cheers,
Bart
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2013, 04:50:55 AM »
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I think the question is "why would you want to?"

Using filters in front of the lens, as we did in the days of black and white film, means deciding what effect you want before shooting.

My advice for producing mono photographs with a digital camera would be:

Shoot in Raw

Import into Lightroom

"Kill" any default presets applied by Lightroom (e.g. sharpening, etc) so that you have as near to a "pure" Raw file as possible to work with.

From within Lightroom, edit in Nik's Silver Efex Pro2 to convert to mono.

Saving the resultant image in SEP2 will result in a mono Tiff being sent back to Lightroom to lie alongside the original Raw file image.

Then finish processing and print from Lightroom.

(As they would say on the BBC, other mono converters are available - some of which may provide similar processing options)

The advantage of this type of process over lens filters is that being able to adjust each of the colour channels independently in SEP2 gives you, in reality, the equivalent of an almost infinite box of glass filters in every conceivable colour and strength. Plus, of course, you can produce many variations to compare - something that would have been time-consuming and expensive in the days of film.

(If you do not want to go to the expense of buying Nik or Topaz plug-ins, then the B&W conversion in Lightroom itself, although more limited, does a fairly good job of mono conversion.)
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 04:53:23 AM by PhotoEcosse » Logged

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Deardorff
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2013, 07:03:37 AM »
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I take it Photoshop will suffice? No way am I dealing with Lightroom as it is so different from Photoshop I can't figure it out.

50+ years of film shooting and I know the effects of my wratten filters. Find it quite confusing to have a generic "red" and such.

Will have to check on tutorials for fine filter control for the B&W work.
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2013, 12:13:54 PM »
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Absolutely. SEP2 works fine from Photoshop CS6 (or CC if you have taken that plunge). I am pretty sure the Topaz equivalent does also.

The only reason I mentioned Lightroom is that most of us "old timers" who cut our photographic teeth in a wet darkroom find Lightroom hugely more intuitive and familiar than the "geek-speak" of Photoshop.
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 10:29:07 AM »
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50+ years of film shooting and I know the effects of my wratten filters. Find it quite confusing to have a generic "red" and such.



There really isn't a "generic red". You can adjust both the hue and strength of the filters to an almost infinitesimal degree. Couldn't do that in the olden days.

And, yes, you can use SEP2 from within Photoshop rather than from within Lightroom if you prefer.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 10:31:00 AM by PhotoEcosse » Logged

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Petrus
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2014, 11:02:51 AM »
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In Photoshop you can take a color file and use Image -> Adjustments-> Black & White, and simulate all possible and impossible filters after the fact. So there really is no sense in using B&W filters anymore in the digital age.

NIK SEP2 has really nice effects and I have started using that for B&W conversion and tweaking.
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luxborealis
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 09:25:47 AM »
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No way am I dealing with Lightroom as it is so different from Photoshop I can't figure it out.


If you are already using PS, fine. If you are shooting raw and using PS, then your workflow really should include ACR. If it's not, then you are missing out on a whole slew of very useful processing tools that will actually make your life easier. And, if you are using ACR with PS, then you ARE using Lightroom. The interface is virtually the same and the tools identical, except LR offers more.

It just doesn't seem sensible to ignore extremely useful tools that are at your fingertips and remain unused. "Old dogs" (like many of us here) can learn new tricks!
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 03:40:53 PM »
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I must say that there are times when I use a filter on my Leica M8.2. If I know that the subject I'm shooting is going to be rendered as a bw, I slap on a yellow/orange filter. Why? Why not? I happen to like how my bw conversions come out when shot this way. There are no set rules here. Slip the bonds, live a little, do something different today, don't give in to convention, be a contrarian, etc. Grin.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2014, 03:53:51 AM »
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I must say that there are times when I use a filter on my Leica M8.2. If I know that the subject I'm shooting is going to be rendered as a bw, I slap on a yellow/orange filter. Why? Why not?

Hi John,

Why not? Because you may lose information that would have allowed to make a better B/W conversion in postprocessing! Sad

Cheers,
Bart
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