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Skylight filter

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In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2013 20:33:10 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
Dr. A,

Yes, taken to extremes the "blue" sky will appear very dark, in fact black with b/w film. I made some very stormy looking pics from gloriously sunny days!

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2013 14:47:24 GMT
I'd add that sometimes the effect can be too dramatic and you end up with a sky which looks completely over saturated. So use with care - or take a few shots at differing intensity.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2013 12:44:06 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
You've got the correct polariser, linear ones won't work as these are suited only for non-AF and non-TTL cameras.

If you've never played with one before, you should know they have no effect on metal, and their efficiency has a lot to do with the camera viewpoint relative to the sun's rays, so don't be surprised if in some circumstances you seem to be getting a limited effect. It is all to do with the angles of incidence and reflectance, and which is too scientific for me, so I simply suck it and see! For colour work, especially white billowing clouds in a blue sky, the effect can be dramatic. But you should also experiment using it on flowers, foliage, and landscapes and see what result you get. It is amazing how much more saturated and natural looking the colours of nature can be using a polariser.

Posted on 27 Feb 2013 01:58:50 GMT
Bill says:
Thanks for the advice. I already use a UV filter to prevent scratches and my cameras are all digital. I intend to mess around a bit with a circular polariser on my next holiday in Spain.
Thanks again.

Posted on 27 Feb 2013 00:55:38 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Feb 2013 00:58:16 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
Following on from Dr. A, you don't mention if you use a film or digital camera.

These filters do behave slightly differently depending upon whether they are used with film or digital.

A UV filter is clear glass and with b/w film it helps remove some of the UV light that in landscapes can reduce the clarity of the image which is caused by haze caused by the film effectively being "fogged" by its being too sensitive to UV radiation. It has a similar effect when being used with colour film, but colour film can see differences in colour, so the effect of a simple UV filter may not be as so marked.

By contrast, skylight filters, designated A or B, have a slight straw tint, B being slightly stronger than A, and are ideally suited to colour film, be it slide, in particular, as you have no easy way of correcting the final result, what you take is what you get, or negative film.

In the good old days of film, if one wanted to have an all-purpose filter on the lens for colour film, a 1A was usually the choice. A 1B tended to be very flattering and gave everyone a healthy suntan!

It is arguable if these filters have any real benefit in digital photography as your camera will try and set White Balance to what it thinks is correct under the circumstances, and in doing so will negate the slight colour shift of the 1A and 1B filter. I also understand that the colour spectrum to which digital sensors are responsive, makes them less susceptible, if at all to UV radiation.

So you are left with the main reason why digital photographers will still use a UV filter on their lens(es) - to protect them from becoming scratched. It is cheaper to replace a filter than a lens. Despite the latest lens coatings, optical glass is still relative soft compared to the glass filters are made from, so filters will stand up to more abuse, i.e. cleaning.

Dr. A rightly points out that if you are going to use a filter, you should go for a good make, Hoya Pro and B&W digital filters come highly recommended, I use both makes, and can attest that they do the job. These filters have quality multi-coating and in my experience this is a must. Before deciding to buy these makes, I tried a cheaper brand of multi-coated filter as the lens I was going to put it on has a 67mm mount so the top quality filters don't come cheap. This was a mistake as I found the coating was insufficient to stop light that had already passed through the filter, from being reflected from the lens to the back of the filter and then back to the camera. This caused a major flare. The shop, yes these were still around then, happily gave me a credit for a B&W, but it cost 3x the price and had to be ordered.

On the question of filters, you will see some photographers argue not to use them as by definition putting something in front of the lens must have an impact on image quality. There is no arguing the theory, but I've yet to see any impact on my images that offsets the damage the lens can suffer from dust, cleaning or rain. It's my lens, and I wish to protect it.

To answer your question do they improve shots in bright sunlight, the answer is maybe, as this is not the specific reason you'd use one, see above. But as I mentioned, skylight filters can give pleasing skin tones, so perhaps you might say that in this case, shots in bright sunlight could be an improvement.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2013 23:42:42 GMT
With digital a UV or skylight A or B filter will do little more than protect the front element of the lens but it helps cut UV when using film and makes a very slight colour correction. You would do better to have no filter for digital because it will only increase flare and has to be kept scrupulously clean. On the other hand a flat filter is easier to clean than a curved lens element and it avoids cleaning marks on the lens coating. Get a coated filter if you decide its a good idea. I have a Hoya pro fitted on my camera. I also use a polariser quite a lot.
If you need more info try google.

Initial post: 26 Feb 2013 19:31:30 GMT
Bill says:
Excuse my ignorance, but what does a Skylight filter do ?? Would it improve shots in very bright sunlight ??
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Total posts:  7
Initial post:  26 Feb 2013
Latest post:  28 Feb 2013

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