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Yellow, Orange, Red Filters for B&W left over from film days

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by roundball, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    As I continue to learn the capabilities of the NEX-7, one recent activity has been experimenting with B&W...and so far, I've just been blown away with the excellent B&W detail / results produced by Canon FD lenses on the NEX-7.
    Today, going through, inventorying, reorganizing, cleaning various Hoya filters I'd saved all these years, I realized I had a set of Yellow, Orange, and Red filters originally designed for use with B&W "film" back in the day.

    And that brought a question to mind...wondering if those filters should still be used to provide the same kind of effects shooting B&W in a digital camera...like they did on "film" itself...or has the need for that effect on film now been eliminated by modern digital technology?

    Half of me says they're no longer required as there's no "film chemicals" for them to affect.
    But the other half of me doesn't know if digital cameras are possibly designed to actually replicate film characteristics so closely such that those filters would still show an effect shooting B&W?
    ( I know I can run side by side tests and probably will this weekend...but thought I'd toss this out here tonight as somebody probably knows the answer )
     
  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I imagine you could use them when shooting B&W jpegs. But the same effects, with a lot more control over them, can be achieved with software on your computer. Perhaps, with some wire and some fishing line, you could make a nice, colorful wind chime with them? :p
     
  3. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    An interesting debate.


    One would say that digital post processing offers all the filters you would want.

    The other side would say that you should get the results before, that Post Processing is cheating.

    It really depends on what you want to do. The digital world offers so much that it would be far sighted to pass up what is available. However, you should try and get the best result prior to messing with it digitally.
     
  4. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Yes, my interest is on the front end...really just trying to understand if they'd even have any effect in the "capture" of a B&W photo in the digital world...I'll soon run some tests and see first hand
     
  5. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    I suspect you're right, LOL...
     
  6. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Really? Who is getting cheated? :p

    I know you don't represent that "side," Dave, but I have never been able to understand that argument. After all, if using software to produce an image is cheating, then how is using the software built into the jpg engine of the camera not cheating? After all, it manipulates the heck out of any image taken, and the photographer is in control of that software (or should be). And how about optically-corrected lenses? Or any lens at all? Shouldn't we just use a pin-hole camera to produce "pure" images? And flash? Hoo boy! Adding light that's not there? Talk about cheating!

    Don't even get me started on these new-fangled filter thingies!

    We produce images. We use the tools we choose to produce those images. Any image, no matter how we produce it, is a constrained, radically-altered, two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional space. It's no more "real" than a painting is. Why one tool is legitimate and another is "cheating" is a distinction that makes my head explode. :rant2:

    Hoo.

    It's OK, I'm calm now. :)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Good food for thought there.
    Speaking for myself, after laying off photography since the late 80's with film in Canon A1's, I'm getting back into it decades later in a new digital world that I want to understand...I don't want to simply use an 'auto everything point and shoot approach'.
    So I'm trying to transition one step at a time from that film world approach & technique to the digital world, hopefully to completely understand the relationships between the two...in other words, "this is the way I used to do it...now how does that same approach work in the digital world..."
    Others mileage may vary
     
  8. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Deep Breaths.

    I've met a few that say photography should be 100% what you see. I've also met a few that take pictures that, once they are done with them, look nothing like they did in real life.

    I tend to be more on the side of, get it as close to reality as possible, but also resect the work that goes into creating some of the crazy fantasy shots that clearly are not real.

    The basics are still the same. Light, composition, etc. Just the tools have changed and what one can do with the image has been advanced. You no longer have the day of showing up at the developers, (if you don't do it yourself), and realizing you only have two good shots out of a roll of 36.
     
  9. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Yes, understand all the basics of photography haven't changed, LOL.
    And immediate results feedback along with no more film costs are huge advances...however, both are after the fact.

    Just wasn't sure if the filters would introduce the same effects on today's digital images on the front end, as they did on actual film negatives years ago..
    And after running a very basic tests on simple back yard foliage scenes a while ago, with orange then red filters, using B&W mode on the NEX-7, the filters do indeed still produce expected results.
    Will reserve total judgement until I get a chance that includes some sky & cloud scenes for that more vivid contrast opportunity, but I'll be surprised if they don't do as intended there as well.
     
  10. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    777
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    The filters will have an effect on the image taken, as you are changing the light that is hitting the sensor. Will it be exactly the same as if you had used the filter with B&W film? Not exactly. If the sensor were a B*W sensor, then yes, it would have the same effect. But for a color sensor, something still needs to convert the color data into a black and white image. Depending on the method chosen, you could match, or vary greatly from what you would have gotten on film.

    I wouldn't consider PP an image to get the best B*W conversion out of it to be cheating any more that using the filter would be cheating using film. They are both ends to a means.
     
  11. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Don't know if you're directing your post to me or what...but to be clear, I have no dog in that fight, LOL
    I couldn't care less what approaches anybody thinks is right or wrong...the point of my posts on this are pretty clear.
    ;)