Your Thoughts On Color Enhancing Filters
Fall is fast approaching and was thinking of grabbing a color enhancing filter for capturing the beauty of the season. Singh-Ray has the color combo filter which states that it boost earth tones as well as green tones. I see the B+W, Tiffen, etc have specific color enhancing filters (red enhancer, green enhancer, blue enhancer). I was wondering if I could get some information about:
1) The usefulness of these filters....... some say they aren't necessary since this 'pop' can be added post in software. Just read a luminous landscape article which made this recommendation.
2) Color cast issues with the use of the filters... are they present, and how 'correctable' are they..... is the cost/benefit worth the extra trouble?
3) Are the filters worth having in your gear bag, and if so, which setup (color combo or individual color enhancer filter). The singh-ray is nearly $400, while each color specific filter is approx. $70 ea.
I live in the Pacific NW (north of Seattle) so I'm thinking that the color enhancing features could be used to add more vibrancy and color at other times due to the overcast nature of our weather. I do a lot of forrest hikes, so there is always lots of green in my photos.
Thanks for you opinions in advance...... Nikonians is such a valuable source of info. I lurk and read more then ask, but still learn tons about my gear and techniques.
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#1. "RE: Your Thoughts On Color Enhancing Filters" | In response to Reply # 0blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Fri 20-Aug-10 11:06 AM
It is a LOT cheaper and lighter to do this in post, especially now. I can't speak for NX2, but both Lightroom and Photoshop now have very easy ways of increasing vibrancy (the control is actually called that). In addition, it's very easy to grab the slider for just the color in which you are interested and increase saturation. Seriously, in Lightroom this is a five second operation - it's three clicks if you're doing the really advanced version. In Photoshop, if you didn't do it in the ACR stage (where it's the same as Lightroom), and you have to do it with layers, it's about ten clicks - call it about twenty seconds instead of five.
The other issue with color enhancing filters is that you can't use auto white balance with many of them, especially red. The AWB just dials out the perceived lighting shift! So you have to shoot with a set white balance. Obviously this is not a critical problem if you shoot raw, but considering how easy it is to sort out in post... I will say that the green enhancer would be less subject to the AWB problem than red or blue - but it's still a problem.
Given the cost of these filters, I can't see any good reason to use them if you do any post processing at all. And you don't have to lug them around in the field, either.
I have found some use for color changing filters, for example the Singh-Ray blue-n-gold polarizer. However, even these can be duplicated with a standard CP and some (slightly more advanced) post processing, so I haven't invested in them either.
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#2. "RE: Your Thoughts On Color Enhancing Filters" | In response to Reply # 0Len Shepherd Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003Fri 20-Aug-10 12:31 PM
Adding to reply 1 with the sun over your shoulder a pol will often increase colour saturation, particularly in new spring greens and autumn yellows and golds.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#3. "RE: Your Thoughts On Color Enhancing Filters" | In response to Reply # 2periopnurse Registered since 17th Oct 2008Fri 20-Aug-10 10:02 PM
Thanks for the input. I've been watching some of the daily webinars at Nik software & I see how fast it can be done. Post processing is something I'm not very confident in but I can see how I'm going to need to get passed that. I seem to be able the other concepts of the photographic process, but just can't seem to get post processing down. But trying to avoid post processing tricks can be pricy.
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#4. "RE: Your Thoughts On Color Enhancing Filters" | In response to Reply # 0
Brian and Len make some good points but I'm going to give you the other side of the coin. I used to rely exclusively on post processing some time ago but then I had a change of heart. I found that using these "specialty" polarizers like the Singh-Ray ColorCombo, Warming Polarizer, and Gold-N-Blue are valuable even in the digital age. I used to own the stand alone Color Intensifier (older model) and in my experience don't recommend it. It does have a tendency to produce some strange color shifts in certain situations. Plus, it's a hassle to deal with yet one more filter when shooting - better to use the ColorCombo.
Anyway, what has me sold on these filters is that I see a definite signature in these that you just can't replicate in post processing. You can get close but not quite what the Singh-Rays give you. Since these filters single out certain wavelengths of light it is very difficult or nearly impossible to isolate them in post and alter them without affecting the rest of the image. You could do it using a lot of masking and layers but then that takes a lot of time and advanced skill. I'm sold on the Singh-Ray mantra of "get it right in-camera" for the best quality images. I realize these filters are expensive but then again they are unique and will add a new dimension to your images that not everyone has. Of course, these filters are not for every situation but when they are called upon they deliver. What I like most is that fact that these filters add a subtle effect, nothing over the top, except for the Gold-N-Blue polarizer. This is a very specialized filter and you can go wild with it or tone it down.
If you are interested in seeing some examples of how I use these filters check out my blog entries at the Singh-Ray site here:
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography
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#5. "RE: Your Thoughts On Color Enhancing Filters" | In response to Reply # 4ddmerino Registered since 12th Aug 2006Sun 22-Aug-10 05:03 PM
I have several Singh-Ray filters and love them mostly ND and some Color enhancing ones, however, in my opinion, the ND (Neutral Density) filters are much more useful. I found that I could easily mimic the effects of the color enhancing filters via post processing and the use of software plug-in filters. I prefer the effect of the software filter. Do software filters do a better job? That can only be answered by the user but for me, I prefer it because I am able to control the area where the color enhancing effect can be done -- unlike a physical filter where the enhancing effect is applied on the entire picture. Just my 2 cents.