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Old July 11th, 2010, 12:36 PM   #1
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Tiffen Filters

I was looking at the tiffen filters

do i need any adapter? is it a 72 mm thread? I have a Sony z1 how do they work with my camera and what do they do for example, polarizing filter does that take away reflections in glass etc.

Thanks

Ollie
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Old July 11th, 2010, 01:01 PM   #2
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Tiffen filters come in many sizes, it's a matter of picking the size most appropriate to what you wish to do. When used on professional cameras a square or rectangular filter in a matte box is normal, this means that the filter isn't tied to just one lens size or a particular camera.

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Old July 11th, 2010, 03:59 PM   #3
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Ollie,

Yes, 72mm is the correct size for the Z1. Polarizing filters can be used to reduce reflections from glass or water. They can also be used to darken blue skies a bit. The Z1 camcorder has 3 CCDs. The incoming light is distributed to the 3 CCDs by a small block of prisms located immediately behind the zoom lens. Unfortunately, prisms tend to have a polarizing effect of their own, which can mess up already polarized light. But there is a solution to this, namely a Circular Polarizer. A circular polarizer is a regular polarizer with a depolarizing element on the backside of the filter. So you can keep the effect of the polarizer (reduced reflections or darkened sky), while sending non-polarized light to the prism block.

Other filters to consider are a UV filter (which protects the lens from scratches, and reduces haze in outdoors shots), and a neutral density filter (so you don't have to stop down the lens so much). And there are many other types of filters for enhancing skin tones, reducing contrast, darkening or coloring just part of the scene, and various special effects.

You might consider a matte box and 4x4 square filters if you're really going to get heavily into cinematograhy. You could start out with a relatively inexpensive matte box like Formatt. If you move to a fancier camcorder, you should be able to use the same matte box. Or get one of the fancier matte boxes like Chrosziel, and still use your collection of 4x4 filters.

Ken
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Old July 11th, 2010, 06:06 PM   #4
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thanks for the replies

can i just thread it onto the end of the camera, without using a matte box for now because of the price,

are the screw fit ?

thanks Ollie
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Old July 11th, 2010, 06:24 PM   #5
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Without knowing the use of filters, I would save your money and start small. You may find that you don't shoot in a manner that is conducive to using filters much. If you work quickly or do more live events where things move fast, you will probably only be able to use filters on occasion. If you do scenery shots and can take the extra time to set up filters, you might like a full set of gradual ND filters and a polarizer.

Now that all sorts of color and blur effects can be done in the computer, the most important job for filters is to get proper exposure. You certainly have discovered that cameras don't "see" the range which the human eye is capable. A polarizer can darken a bright sky and bring out the green in foliage. A gradual ND (neutral density) filter darkens areas of an image and fades away to clear. This is useful to darken part of the composition that is overexposed while leaving proper exposure in the rest of the area. Typically, this is done to bring down an overexposed sky. This works well in scenery shots, but if an active subject (like a person) moves into the area of an overexposed background being darkened by the ND grad, they will also be darkened and it would look weird if you had a person with properly exposed legs and stomach but their chest and head were underexposed. The last type of filter that can be very useful, and not done digitally, is a filter that effects contrast. Filtration to effect contrast is done often to balance exposure by bringing up the values of the darker areas of an image. It actually may not look good in the original image, but it can bring in detail that is lost due to a scene that would otherwise be underexposed in the shadows. By using a filter to bring up the shadows, it may be possible to expose more accurately in the highlights. As you may have guessed, there are many ways to filter to correct exposure.

One type of common filter that is not related to exposure is that which reduces detail while not reducing overall clarity or focus. Something like a Black Pro Mist 1/2 could be used to reduce the appearance of fine lines in a person's face without making them seem out of focus.

The filters I have and use, when I am shooting in a manner that allows them, are these:

Polarizer - I don't need circular with my cameras so I saved a bit of money. Polarizers soak up a lot of light, so they are of little use indoors.

Variable ND - a filter that changes overall exposure when it is rotated. They are made with two polarizers that work against each other to achieve darkening. It is easier sometimes to just rotate the filter to change exposure but it kills a lot of light so can't be used indoors much. Your camera has ND filters built in and has a good automatic exposure to help compensate. My camera has no good auto exposure and no included ND filter so the variable ND is useful for me.

Tiffen Ultra Contrast 72mm - These seem to work by scattering some light from the bright part of the frame into the darker areas. They help to balance an image with high contrast. Indoors with artificial light is usually low contrast so this filter is not needed and can cause a problem if a light beam hits it. They flare out into an ugly haze if a light source shines directly onto the filter.

ND grad - Gradual ND filters are helpful mainly to bring down an overexposed sky. It is really hard to get shadow details in a scene at the same time sky details are needed. A fill flash to brighten foreground shadows is often used in these situations. A flash strobe is very bright for it's size and power requirements since it is only on for a very short time. A motion picture director of photography would use very powerful lights and big reflectors to accomplish filling in shadow areas while keeping the sky exposed properly. The ND grad has a risk of causing a foreground element to be underexposed at the top.

There are some other filters that look like they might be fun to play with. I would like to try out a smoke or fog filter to see if they can be used effectively. The preview shots used in their sales brochures look interesting but I'll bet they are hard to use in the real world.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 07:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie Walton View Post
thanks for the replies

can i just thread it onto the end of the camera, without using a matte box for now because of the price,

are the screw fit ?

thanks Ollie
Yes. If you have a lens shade attached to the front of your lens, you will need to first remove the lens shade. But then just screw in a 72mm filter to the end of the lens. You then should be able to re-attach the lens shade, and you're all set to go.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 09:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Hull View Post
A circular polarizer is a regular polarizer with a depolarizing element on the backside of the filter. So you can keep the effect of the polarizer (reduced reflections or darkened sky), while sending non-polarized light to the prism block.
One nuance in the explanation I could add... The backside of a circular polarizer doesn't actually "de-polarize", but takes the polarized light (with glares, etc. taken out) and puts a "spin" back into it so the prism doesn't do the "re-polarizing" that Ken was referring to...

So...Ken's point is that you need a circular polarizer for a 3 sensor camera, and that is exactly right.

Otherwise you will notice substantial color shifts when turning the polarizer.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 07:34 PM   #8
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Matte Box

Hi Ollie,

You were asking about matte boxes. They range from "Somewhat Expensive" to "You Gotta Be Kidding!" Some attach to the lens by clamping on, some by screwing into the lens (like a filter), some by using a rail system (expensive and bulky), and some can attach by more than one way.
Chrosziel and Petroff seem to be the most professional brands. Here's a list of links to matte boxes on B&H that you might consider. Most require buying an adapter seperately, and some include a French flag (very useful):

Cavision 3x3 wide angle $165 (Its only 3x3, so not sure that's big enough)
Cavision MB385PW Wide 3x3 Matte Box MB385PW - B&H Photo Video


Cavision 4x4 $290
Cavision MB410H-2 4x4 Hard Shade Matte Box with Two MB410H-2A -


Formatt 4x4 with French flag $350 (I got this one. Seems good.)
Formatt FM-600 4x4 Matte Box BF FM-600MATT - B&H Photo Video


Chrosziel Only 1 stage, but rotates, with French flag and 72mm adapter $687
Chrosziel CMB-R10 SunShade w/110-72mm Step-down AC-CMB-R10-72 -


Petroff 4x4 with French flag $1575
Petroff P443 4x4" Matte Box w/ 4x4 Filter P443E4482 - B&H


Good luck!
Ken Hull
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Old July 12th, 2010, 08:08 PM   #9
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Gotta agree with Ken again...the "gotta be kidding" price range has some advantages, but it can sometimes be difficult to justify the price difference.

I have a Z1 and a Chrosziel 3x3...it is a bit too small, just as Ken guessed. The 3x3 he mentions is from Cavision though...and it says "wide" so it might be enough. I can't get the Z1 completely wide with the 3x3 on it.

Also...all these *&^%$ Sony cameras and their #$%$% microphones are a blight on matteboxes everywhere...and the z1 is the worst I've seen. I also have an EX1 (I like Sony cams...LOVE the EX1...hate the built in mic placement), and I have a Cavision 4x4 bellows on rails on that. The rear most filter stage has to side-load...I haven't really tried to disassemble the entire thing and see if I can make the whole assembly rotate 90 degrees or not. on the Chrosziel 3x3, I took it apart and put it back together so it bottom-loads (it's not square so I can't just rotate the thing 90 degrees), and yes...it's a little frightening. The 4X4 on the EX1 is mounted on rails so bottom-load is not even an option, as nerve-wracking as it would be if it was...

The bottom line is that loading (or even getting these matteboxes into place on a camera) is sometimes prevented by that forward microphone design. The adapter ring that the mattebox mounts to needs to extend a bit to get the filter stages as far forward as possible to get out from underneath the microphone. on my EX1, I can't stow the LCD panel at all while the mattebox is mounted...that space is too tight.

On Cavision...I'll just say that I got on the phone with them and they seemed quite helpful. I bought the Cavision used from another DVinfo member and the Chrosziel I bought from an add elsewhere on the web.

You may want to get an idea what the short list of ideal matteboxes is for you and skulk about ebay and this site for a month or two before you spend the money for brand new. Sometimes with included filters and that sort of thing you can do OK if you can live with the idea of buying used.

The only new thing on my EX1 is the Cavision adapter ring for the lense. Everything else (18" rails, Cavision camera base, 4X4 bellows matte box, additional Cavision camera base and small DSLR type rails "custom" rigged on the back to hold the Nano Flash)...is all used.

(Oh...and french flags are great unless it's windy, then they become a sail or an airfoil. Make sure you carry tools that you need to take it off when necessary.)

Useful thread I think...
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