Spot Filter: (all mfg.) A heavy diffusion filter with a clear circular
center spot. Ideal for facial portraits or other situations where a clear
central subject with a diffused, less distracting background is desired.
Hoya's are a close up lens with a drilled out center.
Polarizer: (all mfg.) A polarizer designed for cameras with "beam-splitting"
metering systems and autofocus systems. These cameras use a beam splitting
prism in the light path to direct the light to the meter. Beam splitters
polarize light. If a conventional polarizing filter is added to the light
path, the combination of two polarizers will give underexposure to the
picture. Many cameras including most 35mm auto focus cameras require the
use of a circular polarizer. See your camera instruction manual to see
if your camera model is a type that requires a circular polarizer. Circular
Polarizers are now also available from most mfg. with multi-coated surfaces
or built in warming filtration.
up lens: (all mfg.) Single element diopter lenses enable focusing
on subjects much closer than the standard lens allows. Great for detail
photos of nature subjects and a wide range of situations. Available in
several diopter strengths from .025 to 10+
Compensating Filter: (Tiffen, B+W, Hitech, Ambico, Optiflex) Used
to compensate for deficiencies in the color quantity of light sources,
deficiencies in film, reciprocity failure caused by long time exposures,
etc. Available in primary colors- red, blue, and green and in secondary
colors the most commonly used - cyan, yellow, magenta. Color Compensating
Filters are available in different strengths and may be combined to achieve
precise color rendition.
Gradual Filters: (all mfg.) Half ND-half clear, with a smooth transition
no hard line. Creates deep blue skies. No landscape photographer should
ever be without one. Gradual type filters also come in a wide choice of
enhancing colors. Create brilliant sunsets with the burnt orange tone
graduals, Tiffen calls theirs Sunrise ColorGrad. You can also selectively
tone down bright areas with the Neutral Density. Available round Rotatable
mounts for proper alignment with your image, in squares 3x3, 4x4 or rectangles
3x4, 67x84mm, 84x100mm, 84x165mm, 4x5 and larger.
Screens: (Hoya, Heliopan, B+W,) also called star filters in 4,
6 and 8 point.
(Hoya, Cokin) Overall soft effect due to its irregularly uneven surface,
effective in portrait photography.
Fog Effect Filter: (Tiffen) combines a soft fog with a heavy low
contrast effect. This allows clearer detail than the standard fog filter,
while maintaining a dense fog appearance. Available in several densities.
Color: (Hoya) Two half colors together in one filter available
in red/blue, yellow/pink and orange/green only in 49, 52, 55mm sizes.
(Hoya, B+W soft focus 1,2, Heliopan soft focus 0,1) Filters have fine
concentric lines etched on the surface, The center is usually sharp, effective
in portrait photography.
(didymium) Filter: (Tiffen, Hoya, B+W, Hitech) Made of special
didymium glass creates warm vibrant color by selectively improving saturation
of reds and oranges, with a diminished effect on other colors. This one
is made for Fall, but very useful thou out the year. Red things like,
rock canyons, barns, flowers, SUNSETS, cars, all become interesting subjects.
Light Filters: (all mfg.) Color correction filters that give natural
color renditions with daylight film, eliminating the blue green cast ordinarily
resultant from shooting color films under average fluorescent lighting
without a flash. Useful for cityscapes at night. From only Tiffen FL-B
Filter: For use with indoor type B film.
Effect Filter: (all mfg.) Creates or enhances the effect of a natural
fog. Fog filters cause highlights to flare and "mist" or fog. An even
mist density is produced throughout the image. Available in several densities.
Now being sold by several companies as soft focus "mist" filters.
Contrast Filter, Ultracontrast: (Tiffen) Consists of a special
material evenly distributed between two laminated layers of glass causing
light to spread from highlighted areas to the shadow areas. Lower contrast,
mutes colors, white areas remain, and blacks become lighter. Allows more
detail in dense shadow areas. Ideal for slide duplication work. Available
in several densities.
Lenses: (Hoya, Cokin, B+W, Heliopan, Ambico) Multi-faceted polished
optical glass (except Cokin and Ambico) lens that produces multiple images
of your subject all in one picture. Varying depth-of-field can produce
different effects. Available in several multi-image patterns.
Density Filters: (all mfg.) Used to reduce the amount of light
reaching the film with no selective absorption of colors. Available in
several densities. The classic waterfall filter used to slow down the
speed to create the satin look on the water.
Filter: (all mfg.) Reduced glare and reflections, saturates colors
and darkens blue sky. Reduces reflections when photographing water or
through glass windows. The polarizer can be rotated to determine the amount
of reflection to be removed. When photographing scenics, rotate the polarizer
to change blue-sky densities from light to dark blue. Creates a dramatic
contrast between blue skies and white clouds. Also available in warm versions.
Tone Filter: (Tiffen, Cokin, Ambico) Creates a warm brown tone
and offers a "turn of the century" look to your image. Sepia filters do
allow some unwanted colors to pass so monochromatic scenes are recommended.
Black Filter: (Tiffen) Net material laminated between optical clear
glass. Creates a soft diffusion effect while causing no halation from
highlights. Dark areas remain dark. Available in several densities 1,
2, 3 & 4.
White Filter: (Tiffen) Net material laminated between optical clear
glass. Creates a soft diffusion effect while adding a misty look. Produces
halation from highlights; dark areas appear less dense. Available in several
densities 1, 2, 3 & 4.
A, B: (Hoya) Randomly arranged minute lens, shaped like drops of
water on the surface of the acrylic filter. Creates a picture with a clear
focus and soft gradation. No change of the degree of softness with f/stop
changes. Softners can be used together to increase the soft effect.
Contrast Filters: (Tiffen) Contrast is reduced while allowing black
areas to stay black; also produces softer, less intense colors. Available
in several densities. Also called mist filters.
TM Filter: (Tiffen) Used in portraits to retain overall image clarity
while softening unwanted details. Will tone down wrinkles and skin blemishes,
while leaving the eyes appearing sharp. Available in several densities.
And in warm versions.
I, II Ziess: (B+W, Heliopan) Special lenses with mini diffuser
lenses randomly arranged Softars can be used at any f/stop without changing
the degree of softness. Softars can be used together to increase the softness.
Not available in 60E size.
Field: (all mfg.) A close up lens cut in half allowing close up
focusing on one portion of the image while retaining clear focus on the
Effect Filter: (all mfg.) Produces a star effect from pinpoint
light sources (sun reflections, citylights, holiday lights, etc.) Available
in effects of 4 point, 6 point and 8 point stars. The best star filters
are made of optical glass, with lines engraved on the surface, forming
Filters 87, R72, 89: (Hoya Tiffen, Heliopan, B+W) Transmits infrared
with no visual transmission.
Filter: (Tiffen only) A warm tone filter ideal for enhancing colors
in ordinary cool (bluish) lighting situations. Ideal for usage with electronic
flash, outdoor shade and as an all around filter. This is the color tone
Tiffen is using in their warm soft focus filters and polarizers.
Many of our photographers do
not want to change the natural beauty of the scene before them, yet they
use filters. All films have a certain contrast range that they can capture,
but when the sky is several F-stops brighter than the foreground, what
can you do? Try using graduated ND filters. No outdoor photographer should
be without a gradual filter. Every brand of filters that we sell offers
gradual filters, but all are not equal, in quality vs. price. Graduated
filters come in many sizes and types. Two of our most popular types are
from Tiffen and Hitech. Both are true neutral density, with no color shift.
We are very very happy to see a Multi-Coated gradual ND become available
from Schneider Optics, but they do not fit in the Cokin Holder.
have been our first choice for grads comparing price and value. We still
like them from the early 80s when they first became available in the P
85mm size. Tiffen calls them Colorgrads and they come both in round screw-in,
glass P series (2mm thick) for the Cokin holders and glass 4x4 or 4x5
(2mm thick) for Lee/Calumet and Hitech holders. The round screw-in type
filters are only available in three colors, blue, sunrise (amber tone)
and only ND 0.6 (2 stops), 49mm-82mm. The 2-stop version is the best one
to start with from any of the companies. The glass P series and 4x4, 4x5
inch types come in (9 different colors, 77k jpg) 2 grades of density in
each color and ND in 1,2 and 3 stop types (ND .3, .6 and .9) Made in USA
filters are optical resin and are available in Cokin P size and 4x5. The
Hitech ND filters come in 1,2,3 and 4 stop, both in a hard or soft edge.
The Hitech hard edge is about the same as Tiffen's SE edge (standard edge).
Hitech also offers a very high quality holder for P series and 4x5 type
filters. Hitech is the only company which makes special mounting rings
and holders for ultra wide angle lenses. Hitech also offers 13 pleasant
colors of graduals, in grades #1, 2 and 3 in both sizes, 3 styles of two
color grads, #1, 2 or 3 and really interesting combo ND grads with warming
filters (81B or 81EF) built in with the ND grad 1,2 or 3 stops. Hitech
also offers the combo of the two color grads with gradual ND added in,
again 1,2 and 3 stops. In total 59 creative choices in grads. Filters
are made in England.
P series 85 series type gradual filters cover lenses up to 82mm,
using different adapter rings with the same Cokin or Hitech filter holder.
The filters are 1/2 graduated in ND or color. The best feature of the
P series and larger rectangels, is the ability to slide the filter up
and down in the filter holder. This gives you the most creative control
over the scene you wish to graduate (control brightness). On lenses 67mm
and smaller the regular, Tiffen at 100mm long and Hitech P series, 115mm
long, work very well. Above 67 the 100mm long filters are still ok, you
just, do not have as much slide-ability, example with a 77mm filter size
you have 23mm above or below center to adjust the graduals edge. Tiffen
does offer an PXL extra-long version for the P series holders at 165mm
this year 3/99, Schneider 4x4 4x5.65 ND glass grads. Now available
with MaxTran Multi Coatings or also called anti-reflective coatings. The
filters are 4mm thick so they do not work in some brands of filter holders.
But, the ablitiy to get this product, in Multi-coating is something to
consider, if you are big on photograping sunsets. The coatings will make
a difference. We have asked all our filter suppliers over the years to
offer this product and until now no one has ever been able to get it right
or felt it was worth the effort. well we are very happy to see this tool
arrive in the market place.
We do not recommend the Cokin
gradual NDs because they have never been neutral (sometimes referred
to as clean) This off color effects clouds and the natural sky color.
Thatís why Cokin calls them gray grads, If you are only shooting black
and white film the Cokins are fine. But, noteworthy is the Cokin Sunset
grads (197 or 198), because they are the only ones that the complete filter
is washed over with the burnt orange color along with the gradual density
on top. Both Tiffen and Hitech sun types are clear on the bottom. The
Cokin colors are also a very good choice for the P series. Cokin's are
made in France.
graduals only come in round sizes 49mm-58mm screw-in. Hoya's are
made of optical resin like Cokin and Hitech. Like the round Tiffen's 1/2
color 1/2 clear they too have rotating mounts. Hoya's are a good value
for colors and an affordable way to try out graduals. Made in Japan.
graduals are made only from optical resin. Available in 2 types
of gray #501 and #502 with screw-in brass rotating mounts, 49mm-82mm,
The B+W have a very feathered edge, the full ND 1 stop or 2 stop effect
is, in the top 1/3 of the filter. Other colors are available special order
from Germany. One of our most popular color gradual beside the 502 is
the 590 red gradual. Brands that we currently do not recommend and not
because of quality. The Heliopan grads both in round and rectangular type
filters. Heliopan rounds are the same as B+W, made from resin but with
a much higher profile rotating ring, sometimes they can cause vignetting
with wide angle lenses. Heliopan rectangular filters are excellent but
very very expensive. The Heliopans also need a special filter mount and
are made, using the same method as the Tiffens. A brand that, we do not
sell, but is well known, is the Singh-Ray Galen Rowell grads. They are
made of optical resin, NOT glass and expensive, The Hitech's are a much
better value for the money.
Soft focus Filters, which
one is the best?
This is one of the most often
asked FAQ's. Currently we offer 85 different Soft Focus Filters, in most
popular filter styles. A total of 1,190 filters in all, and we do not
even sell every one that is available in the USA today, Our guess there
is about 150 distinct types available. Well as you can see the answer,
which is at best, a very hard one to answer. Soft focus filters are useful
in, of course, classic portrait photography but don't over look their
use in still life and scenic images. At The Filter Connection we start
the answer, with a little knowledge of the different ways (methods), of
breaking up the razor sharp images of today's lenses. The most common,
to simplify, are weak fog filters. These groups of softeners are sometimes
called mist, diffusion, diffuser or fog. The differences can be in strength
of the fogging, also the warmth of the filter and even the material used
to make the filter.
The next major type is the
pattern type of soft focus filter. When you look at the filter very close
up, a wave pattern or line pattern is visible on the surface of the filter
or inside the glass sandwich, as the Tiffen's. This group differs by the
count of the patterns and angles of the wave patterns. Most manufactures
of filters in this group have given unique names to their products, like
Tiffen's S/FX (Soft/FX). This group also has versions with warmth. Many
of the filters in the above two groups do vary in the degree of softness
also, by simple changes in the f/stop you use.
The last group consists of
many very unique ways of disturbing the light images as the light passes
to the final capture device. One of the worlds most famous, The Ziess
Softar's is covered with tiny droplets that are lenses in themselves.
A very popular type is the concentric ring softener; they look like water
after you drop a stone into it. An example of this type is the B+W Soft
Focus 1 and 2. Put also in this group is the mesh, gauze or net type of
softeners. This net material comes in different colors; the most popular
are the blacks and whites. An example of this type is Tiffen's Softnets
Soft Focus filters, as you
know are effecting the light that transmits through your lens but other
factors are in play also when using soft focus. The focal length of the
lens, whether you are in a studio or outdoors also contributes to how
the final results will be. The use of a lens hood is critical to the outcome
of your images. Unlike any other type of filter, stray light, from clouds,
windows and studio lights do effect the filters. Sometimes this effect
is desired and will improve the final image.
As you can begin to see, with
the many choices no one can be maybe considered the best. A starting point
for your choice is to know someone who uses soft focus and to see the
images that they have created. If you like the effect then, the softener
they have used, is the one to start with. If you don't have the opportunity
to see actual photographs, some of our best sellers are a good starting
point. The popular ones have been Tiffen's Soft/FX series in grade 2 or
3. , Cokin's Diffusers 083 or 084, Hoya's diffuser, Ziess's Softar 1,
Hoya' Softner A. Tiffen's Softnets, Tiffen' ProMIsts and B+W Soft Focus
A couple of other points to
consider is that the fog types usually lighten the dark colors and because
of the overall diffusion with the stronger ones a dreamy effect is created.
Tiffen' Black Mist filters do keep the color saturated, even to the extent
of enriching the colors. The wave pattern softeners have less effect on
the overall color saturation, except in parts of the photograph that has
high contrast, like a black of a tux next to the white of a shirt. Generally
the wave softeners keep the eyes of the person being photographed clearer.
It is usually best to use a weaker softener to start out with, but this
will always depend on the results you are looking for. The last groups
of softeners vary in effect results by the unique methods they use to
break up the light. The literature from the various filters manufactures
help in seeing the various effects, but they all use different situations
in their examples. Again the reason to look at actual photographs taken
with the softeners.
Many of our photographers
have created their own custom made softeners, by using common household
materials to diffuse the images. The only problem with homemade softeners
sometimes you will not be able to control the effect, each time you recreate
the filter. An example of this is the classic nylon stocking stretched
over the lens. If you have a UV or warming filter that has seen its better
day, have some fun trying different materials put on the surface of the
Warming filters are they all
One of the most used filters
by photographers is a warming filter; Warming filters are used for scenic,
portrait, travel, and even to improve color rendition of different brands
of lenses. As you might know they come in many varying strengths and tonal
qualities. If you currently have a skylight filter on the front of your
lens, you are using a warming filter already. Skylights made here in USA
and Japan are very similar. Skylight as you might have noticed have a
slight pink tone to them. Tiffen's are called Skylight 1A and the Hoya's
are Skylight 1B's, the Hoya's are slightly warmer. The German Skylights
are called KR 1.5s and generally are slightly warmer than the US and Japan
counter parts. The German ones shift the kelvin tone of the light plus
200 degrees. This shift by the way, is the same as 81A's. Just as a note
we have customers that prefer to leave 81A's on their lenses instead of
The number one warming filter
sold by us is the 81B. The 81 series come in strengths from 81 the weakest
to 81EF the strongest .The 81s are straw toned and when used for outdoor
photography they compensate for the excess blues found in shade, extend
the morning light and overall enrich the tonal quality of your images.
The 81A's and 81B's from all our filter companies are the same in strength
and tonality. When referring to the literature from most of the filter
companies the uses for 81A's are for indoor use with artificial light
to warm it up to the standard Kelvin temperature of B type films. We have
found that the 81s by our customers are used more outdoors than indoor.
This is especially true of the 81B.
The German filter makers have
offered the KR series as their warming group and you will find references
to the comparable 81 filter strengths. When using the German warmers the
Kelvin degree shift may be similar but the tonal quality is defiantly
not the same. The German filters are more of a coral tone and not the
straw tone of the 81 filter group. Many of our customers have found this
tone to be much more pleasing and life like. So a B+W KR3 is not the same
as an 81C. An American produced filter, which is in the same tonal range
as the German warming filters, is Tiffen's 812 warming filter. The Tiffen
812 has been our second most popular warming filter and if there was a
German filter like it. It would fall into their range as a KR2, which
for years we wish they would make. The Tiffen 812 has about a 300 degree
shift in warmth just like the 81B's. This coral tone warmth has also found
its way into Tiffen's very popular warm soft focus filter line. If you
have been a fan of Tiffen's 812 warming filter and wished for a stronger
version try the German KR3.
The German KR3's are very
useful on overcast days, high-altitude mountain photography and anywhere
there is too much blue. The coral tone is especially very pleasing in
portrait photography. We have found that the KR3 in combination with polarizers
also create excellent results.
A less known, but also very
pleasing warming filter is the 85C. The 85C's have more of amber tone
and create the look of very early or late sunlight. Using 85C's will take
some experimentation on your part, but for certain subjects the results
again could be very nice.
When evaluating the different
warming filters keep in mind that the brand of film, the brand of lens
and the processor will effect the final results that you achieve. One
way if you shoot slides to see the effect of the different warming filters
is to look at your slides with the actual warming filters behind them.
Using your lightbox put the warming filter on the box and then put the
slide on top and you will get a pretty good idea of what the image would
have been using the warming filter.