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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gadget Bag: Filters For B&W Photography

Find the right on-camera filter to give your images rich gray tones

Labels: Gadget BagGear
>> Blue. Blue filters are rarely used in black-and-white photography because they lighten the sky and darken colors we think of as light. But there are some situations where a blue filter may be called upon to increase the strength of haze and mist in the early morning, enhancing the mood of a photo.

While color filters are used almost exclusively in black-and-white photography, neutral-density, UV and polarizing filters are used for both black-and-white and color photos. And while you may use the ND filter in a similar way for all your photos, decisions about how you use your polarizer will be determined by your black-and-white tonal previsualizations.

Many companies offer filters in a range of materials, systems and prices. It's important to decide on a filter that matches your shooting style.

Selected Filters For B&W Photography
The French filter manufacturer Cokin was founded in 1978, and photographers and the industry alike quickly adopted their P-holder design. An adapter ring is attached to the lens and the P-holder is dropped into the ring. From there, the P-holder can hold up to three 4x4 filters at a time, being quite the creative workhorse. Adapter rings are inexpensive, allowing you to have one on each of your lenses and easily move the P-holder from lens to lens, making the filter system versatile. Several companies have made filters that fit the P-holder size, increasing your options. Cokin has recently added the Snap! system for mirrorless cameras, with smaller rings available in 37mm-52mm diameter sizes and a filter holder to fit the smaller system. Estimated Street Price: $33 (Cokin Snap! Kit). www.cokin-filters.com

Known for creating colored gels used for lighting stage productions and films, Lee Filters expanded their brand to manufacture photography filters in 1978. Their photo filters are a square design and use a filter holder system. Adapter rings screw on the lens and are available in 49mm-105mm sizes, and bayonet fittings and wide-angle rings at 49mm-82mm. The filters come in two materials. Resin filters are lightweight, tough and easy to clean. These filters are available in Standard full colors or in half-color half-clear grads. Polyester filters are thin and flexible. These filters can be cut to fit smaller systems and are less expensive than Resin filters. Polyester filters come only in Standard colors. While Lee offers eight color Standards, the RF-75 Black & White Filter Set will start you out with exploring color filters. The set includes Yellow Standard 8, Light Red Standard 23A and Yellowish Green Standard 11 in Resin. Estimated Street Price: $294 (RF-75 Black & White Filter Set). www.leefilters.com

Founded in Berlin in 1947 and currently based out of Bad Kreuznach, Germany, B+W is one of the world's leading filter manufacturers, often looked to as an obvious choice by professional photographers when needing any type of filter. B+W pioneered the Multi Resistant Coating (MRC) surface coating technology, which is known for its ability to reduce reflections and protect against scratching, dirt and moisture. Using Schott glass, the filters are ground and polished using computer-controlled technology and are coated on both sides to ensure durability. Each filter fits the lens individually, so if you change lenses often, you'll need to invest in several filters for different lenses. B+W offers standard color and infrared filters, as well as the landscape photographer's favorite 10-stop #110 ND filter, for a variety of mounts, including standard F-Pro mounts, extra-wide, Hasselblad and bayonet mounts. Estimated Street Price: $45-$216 (10-stop #110 ND filter). www.schneideroptics.com


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