BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Steve McCroskey

Filters with Digital

Can the same filters used with film cameras be used with Digital cameras with the same result?

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7/30/2007 4:43:53 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  pretty much.
yet others may argue that you can go ahead and take the pic and add the filters later in ps.

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7/30/2007 7:10:58 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  You talking about the orange and red for black and white contrast?

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7/30/2007 8:18:19 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  Most except maybe the infrared filters.

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7/31/2007 7:31:34 AM

Alan N. Marcus   As to filters, those designed for film applications remain viable for the digital camera however, editing with software after the picture taking event has obvious advantages.

A filter passes something and stops something. A water filter passes water and stops dirt and silt. An oil filter passes oil etc. Generally the name of the filter tells us what is passed. The color stopped is the filterís complementary (opposite) color. A strong red filter passes red light and stops redís complement which is cyan. Cyan is made up of equal amounts of green and blue. A strong blue filter passes blue light and stops yellow (red + green). A strong green filter passed green and stops magenta (red + blue). A strong yellow filter passes yellow light (red + green) and stops blue light. A strong magenta filter (red + blue) passes magenta and stops green. A strong cyan filter (green + blue) passes cyan and stops red. A weak filter passes all three primaries but stops some percentage of the filterís complementary color. A natural density filter stops equally some percentage of the three primary colors which are red green blue.

The glory days of color filters was tied to the use of black & white film. Different B&W films see and reproduce colors as different shades of gray. Photographers relied heavily on colored filters to achieve improved color renditions on the final B&W print. Color filters were also used to get better cloud renditions. The movies used strong red when shooing in bright sun to give an illusion of night. Product photographers depended on filters to give correct monochromatic renderings of colored objects on black & white materials.

Color slide and movie photographers used a series of mild warming and cooling filters to correct imbalances caused by the color of the light source (white balancing). The advent of the color negative film negated most colored filter use because almost all enhancing filter usage could be applied during the printing cycle.

For color work the most useful filter is the polarizing screen. A polarizer darkens sky, increase contrast, enhance clouds, penetrates haze, alleviate reflections penetrates beneath the surface of water. One should be in every gadget bag. A UV filter is popular, it provides some haze penetration. Some will keep a UV mounted to protect the camera lens. A Skylight filter is a UV with a slight warming effect. Sunlight with a clear blue sky often produces images that are slightly cold. Popular is the graduated neutral density filter used to add a creative effect to a sunlit vista.

Caution I dispense marginal technical advice.

Alan Marcus

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7/31/2007 8:58:06 AM

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