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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
As Japan's first specialty manufacturer of optical glass, Hoya was founded in 1941. Using a unique process, Hoya mixes all raw materials in an automatic V-blender to achieve uniformity before melting and molding, pressing, cooling and polishing the filters. For the color filters, elements such as gold and color chemicals are added in this raw state and added to the V-blender to create the homogenous color. After polishing, filters are then coated and checked by the spectrothermometer to double-check the diffusion of light. Hoya has one of the largest selections of filters and is cost-efficient. Estimated Street Price: $15-$70 (Multi-Coated Glass Filter for Black & White Film). www.hoyafilter.com

Singh-Ray is an American filter manufacturer established in 1962. Based out of Arcadia, Florida, they're known for their unique filter options, such as filter combinations and Vari-ND filters. For instance, the Vari-ND filter is one solid, standard ring filter that offers the variety of 2 to 8 stops of density by simply rotating a ring on the filter. The Vari-N-Trio filter is a combination of a 3- to 8-stop variable-density filter, a polarizing filter and a color-enhancement filter. For photographers who prefer the ring style and still want the flexibility of filter stacking, Singh-Ray has several options to explore. Estimated Street Price: $340 (77mm Vari-ND Filter); $580 (77mm Vari-N-Trio Filter). www.singh-ray.com

A longtime supplier of filters to the professional motion-picture industry, Tiffen, based in Hauppauge, N.Y., offers a wide lineup of filters, including their Digital HT filters, featuring Hi-Trans Double-Sided Titanium Multi-Coating that exceeds military specs for hardness and durability. Tiffen's filters are made of pure optical glass, and the company's ColorCore technology, which provides color consistency, has won awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and two Emmy® awards. The company offers color, UV, ND, VND and polarizing filters in a wide range of sizes. www.tiffen.com

Heliopan has been making filters in Germany since 1949. Each filter features Schott glass and a matte-finished brass mounting ring. SH-PMC filters feature Heliopan's best coatings—eight layers per side, the uppermost and bottommost layers being dust-, oil- and moisture-resistant. Heliopan offers more than 120 types of filters, in sizes from 19mm to 127mm, including UV, ND, polarizing and color. There are also square filters. www.hpmarketingcorp.com

Known widely for its teleconverters, the Japanese Kenko company also offers filters. The Zeta ZR EX circular polarizers feature a zero-reflection super-multicoating and very thin 4mm design to eliminate vignetting and transmit a stop more light than typical polarizers. The NDX 2.5-1000 is a variable neutral-density filter; you change the strength simply by rotating it. www.kenkotokinausa.com

Noted lensmaker Schneider-Kreuznach was founded 100 years ago in Germany, and its U.S. distributor, Schneider Optics, in 1972 in New York. Schneider distributes B+W filters, but also offers a line of MPTV (motion picture and television) filters, including ND, graduated ND, UV and very efficient True-Pol polarizers, as well as a range of color and effects filters. Water White Glass features pure colors, and Edge Seal resists chipping and delamination. www.schneideroptics.com

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