A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Red Filters

Dean Dranko , Nov 30, 1999; 01:01 a.m.

I recently bought the Cokin P filter system to try and see if I like square filters. Using T-max 100 set at iso 100. I used a 28 and and 85 mm lens to shoot some outdoor pics. The time was approx 9:00 - 10:00 am. The sky was blue with white puffy clouds. I started shooting using matrix metering and bracketing to +0.7,...+1.3....+2.0 and +2.7. I then did the same in the opposite - 0.7,...-1.3....-2.0 etc. When I received my prints the sky did not look dark at all like I thought it would or should with a Red filter. In the overexposed prints the sky was washed out and white. In the underexposed prints the sky still appeared white with the foreground appearing very dark. What did I do wrong. Sorry I don't have a scanner yet to show my results. I was aiming to get a very darkened sky with white clouds.


    1   |   2     Next    Last

Darron Spohn , Nov 30, 1999; 01:33 a.m.

I don't understand how the sky could be white. Using a red filter to turn the sky black means there should be no density in that part of the negative. I'm looking at a T-Max 100 negative I shot in Yosemite last year using a red No. 25 filter. The sky portion of the negative is clear. I developed the film myself and printed it on Zone VI #2 fiber paper. The print matches the example shown here.

This is just a small portion of the negative uploaded to illustrate what a red filter should do. Who developed the film and printed it for you? Did they print it in a black and white darkroom or on a one-hour machine using color paper?

Clouds above Yosemite Valley

Ellis Vener , Nov 30, 1999; 02:02 a.m.

You need to get a proper contact sheet done to compare results, not prints from a mini-lab. Are you using a TTL meter? then you might not need to compensate at all.

Al shaikh , Nov 30, 1999; 02:36 a.m.

Darron that looks really nice, lets see the rest of it if you don't mind.

Dean Dranko , Nov 30, 1999; 06:16 a.m.

Darron, your picture is exactly what I had in mind when I shot mine. I've seen the effects before and thought it would be fun to see what I could come up with. Ellis, I had them processed with the KP mailers from B&H. I am using an N90s in matrix metering mode. I bracketed like I previously mentioned figuring the most I might be off would be +/- 0.3. I was mostly interested in figuring if my initial metering without exposure compensation was accurate with the red filter, and if it wasn't how far off it was for the scenery I was shooting. To say I was very disappointed with the results would be an understatement. I was using Cokin's Red filter. In a roll of 36 none of the sky areas looked as dramatic as Darron's. I had made sure to include plenty of sky in all of them since this was what I was trying to achive.

Dean Dranko , Nov 30, 1999; 06:18 a.m.

One more note. I even put a note on the cannister indicating I had used a Red filter so that the effects would not be filtered out somehow in processing.

Darron Spohn , Nov 30, 1999; 09:28 a.m.

Dean, take a look at the negatives. If the sky portion is clear any lab that is competent in black and white can print them properly. My red filter's literature states to compensate three stops, so I meter the scene as normal then open three stops when using it. If the sky portion of your negatives is not clear then you need to try again and compensate a bit more.

However, if you're letting the camera meter the scene with the filter in front of the lens I would assume you should not have to compensate for the filter. For what its worth, I use a Pentax Spotmeter V and always shoot in manual mode. Of course, its kinda hard to set a Mamiya C330f (which I used for the shot above) on anything but manual mode.

The entire negative of this shot has a big ugly tree in the lower left corner, but does have Upper Yosemite Falls in the right of the frame. I'll get it posted on my web site later today. I posted only a portion just to illustrate a point and to avoid diverting this thread into a critique of the photo (which does not need critiquing, I know the tree ruins the shot).

Phil Stiles , Nov 30, 1999; 12:39 p.m.

I've always had a problem with TTL metering and red filters. Seems like the meter is more sensitive to red than the film. So the common result is underexposure. When I shoot Ilford SFX, I use a #25 filter and set the meter to 50. Check your negatives for proper density.

Ellis Vener , Nov 30, 1999; 01:11 p.m.

there is also the fact that Cokin filters aren't always what they are marked, but red is red so I can't really imagine that is the problem. I suspect you are the victim of an automatic printer, try to find a custom lab near you and either have them print you a contact sheet and tell them that you are looking for exposure differences between different frames or shoot a new roll of tests and have them process and print a proper contact sheet. make sure the lab person, knows what you are looking for and does try to correct the exposures to "pleasing". And yes some meters are less or more sensitive to different parts of the spectrum, the same is true even for panchromatic b&w film.

Jacques Desjardins , Nov 30, 1999; 05:08 p.m.

Isn't the yellow filter the one that cuts blue the most?

    1   |   2     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses