Soft Focus Filters

The soft focus effect is used as an effect for glamour photography, because the effect eliminates blemishes, and in general produces a dream-like image.

The effect of a soft focus lens is sometimes approximated by the use of diffusion filter or other method, such as stretching a nylon stocking over the front of the lens, or smearing petroleum jelly on a clear filter or on the front element of the lens itself.

It can also be approximated with post-processing procedures. Specifically, highlights in an image are blurred.

Soft does not mean unsharp
In spite of the fact that the effect of soft focus attachment is related to unsharpness, it should not be equated with it. That is because good soft focus attach -ments only “coat” a so-called core image that remains very sharp with a subtle veil of unsharpness, so that soft-focus photos can be rich in details. It is exactly this delicate combination of approximately 70% to 90% sharp with only ˇ0% to 30% of an unsharp blend that creates its pleasant charm. In some types of soft effect filters, there is a noticeable reduction of contrast that results partly from refraction and partly from light scattering by the struc -ture of the surface. This can make a contribution to the soft focus effect that is at least equal to that of the finely coated veil of unsharpness.

It’s better to over-expose
In descriptions of the effects of soft focus attachments, reference is frequently made to flare, light fringes or halos. That implies that the subject is bathed in light. The friendly effect of such soft focus pho -tographs also has something to do with our fondness for just the right amount of pleasing light. That amount of light can only appear authentic if the picture’s light-colored portions are really bright. That in turn means that the original exposure should not be too dark, but preferably a bit over (by approximately

Soft Focus Filters
  B+W Soft Focus Filters
Soft Focus Attachment Soft Pro Glass Diffusion Filter. The effect of this B+W soft focus attachment is cre -ated by fine lenticular protrusions that have been applied to a high-grade plano-parallel plate of glass in a random pattern. The light passing through between these protrusions creates a sharp core image for ac -curate focusing and great detail. This is an important feature for photographers using AF reflex cameras. The light diverted from its regular direction by the mini-lenses, coats the image with a diffuse halo of light for a delightful softness. This soft focus attach -ment is as ideal for feminine portraits, especially with highlights in blond hair. You can also use this attach -ment to create dreamy landscapes.
Soft Image Glass Filter. Subject contours “flow” markedly softer with the Soft Image attachment on the lens than they do with the B+W Soft Pro. Prominent halos form around light sources and reflections, and bright parts of the subject acquire a noticeable veil of light. This effect is maintained even when the lens is stopped down. It is recommended for portraits and for backlit situations (however, it may be too soft for some landscapes).
B+W SF Attachments Original Zeiss Softar 1 and 2 This soft focus attachment has a large number of mini-lenses of varying sizes distributed on its surface in a random pattern, which deliberately defocuses the light that is passing through. This creates a soft, unsharp image around a sharp core image (which is advantageous for reliable manual or automatic focus -ing). The soft focus effect is largely independent of the chosen aperture setting, so that the depth of field can be controlled for the most part with only very modest concern for the degree of the soft focus effect. For a delicate soft focus effect, there is the Softar 1, and for a more pronounced soft.
B+W Fog Attachments Fog 1 and Fog 2 The effect of the Fog ˇ and Fog 2 attachments is quite different from that of the soft focus attachments as descibed above. The subject appears to be behind a delicate, bright veil of fog, which, unlike the effect created in corresponding pictures by soft focus at -tachments, also noticeably lightens large dark por -tions of the picture. All colors are strongly whitened and desaturated. By slightly over-exposing by ap -proximately half an aperture stop, the romanticizing soft effect can often be enhanced even further. The two strengths that are available serve for tailoring the effect to the subject.
B+W Softspot The Softspot attachment consists of a clear circular opening in the center, surrounded by a structured surface that “coats” the outer portions of the image with a whitening unsharp softness in a vignette-like fashion: the center of the image is clearly emphasized and surrounded by a wide frame. At large apertures (small f-stop number), the transition from sharpness to whitened unsharpness is very gradual, whereas it is almost abrupt when the lens is stopped down. It is advisable to use the preview lever on cameras (that are equipped with one) to determine the optimal.
  Tiffen Soft Focus Filters
Tiffen Black Diffusion Filter. The Tiffen Black Diffusion F/X 1 Filter is a high-quality soft focus filter. The Black Diffusion F/X creates a flattering image even in tight close-ups without sacrificing image clarity. This is an extremely advanced diffuser from Tiffen because it creates a diffused image that doesn't look like it's been shot through a filter. The filter produces a soft, smooth texture - perfect for portraiture. Tiffen, a leader in the filter industry, proudly makes its filters in the USA and backs up its products with a solid 10-year warranty. Note! Black Diffusion F/X filters are available in grades from 1/4-5 with grade 5 having the greatest effect Benefits • Made with an irregular black pattern which softens smaller details, like wrinkles and skin blemishes, while leaving larger details such as the eyes sharp • This filter is most effective when used for portraiture; effect of lighter grades is subtle, with higher grades becoming gradually more noticeable • Does spectacular job of suppressing facial blemishes and wrinkles • Maintains clear focused image • Eyes stay clear and sharp • Virtually eliminates unwanted details without being dull or "fuzzy" • Bare minimum of highlight flare is produced.
Tiffen Pro Mist Filters. The Pro-Mist is a popular motion picture effect that creates a special "atmosphere" by softening excess sharpness and contrast. It generates a pearlescent halo around highlights. Lighter grades are useful in toning down the excessive sharpness and contrast of contemporary film and lens combinations. This Hollywood/FX filters was originally designed for the TV and Motion Picture industry, but is now available to all photographers and videographers.
Tiffen Black Pro-Mist F/X Filter. The Tiffen Black Pro-Mist F/X Filter is part of the Hollywood F/X series of filters. The Black Pro-Mist creates moderate image softening and modest-to-strong highlight flare, but without as much of a lightening effect in the shadow areas. Here's another tool to add to your portrait arsenal. As part of Tiffen's award-winning series of F/X filters, the Black Pro-Mist gives you the option to add another dimension to your images.
Tiffen Glimmerglass Diffusion Filter. The Tiffen Glimmerglass Diffusion Filter is a unique way to give your portrait subject a clean, fresh and flattering appearance. This creative diffusion filter comes in grades and offers you a "graded" way to choose the degree of diffusion that will compliment your subject. The effect of the lighter grades is subtle, with the higher grades becoming gradually more noticeable - all capable of producing a beautiful image. Note! Glimmerglass filters are available in Grades 1-5 - in many standard professional motion picture and television sizes, as well as screw-in sizes from 49mm to 82mm The Glimmerglass is the First Series of Filters Offering a "Psychological Edge" The Glimmerglass softens fine details in a unique manner, while adding a mild glow to highlights; As contrast is also reduced, the look is one of enhanced beauty Effective and Functional The glass itself has a distinct silver sparkle, which has been found to be doubly useful • When production starts and people see the filter glittering on the front of the lens, they become more confident in the knowledge that the filter is working for them and they may also turn in a better performance.
Tiffen Center Spot Filter. The Tiffen 52mm Center Spot Filter isolates the main subject, held sharp in the clear center, while diffusing a distracting background. How many of us have shot weddings? How many of us have tried to put together a wedding portfolio for prospective clients? What about adding that special effects shot that sets your portfolio a cut above the rest? A Center Spot shows your clients that you think beyond the box and can offer more than just the traditional shot of the bride and groom on a staircase or under a tree. Note! Tiffen Center Spot Filters are available in both rectangular shapes as well as screw-on sizes • The size of the clear part in the center of the picture varies depending on the focal length and the aperture of the lens used • Excellent for portraits when a special effect is needed • Makes the background diffused while focusing attention on the center of the frame.
Tiffen Warm Center Spot Glass Filter. The Tiffen 2 x 2" Warm Center Spot Filter isolates the main subject, held sharp in the clear center, while diffusing a distracting background. The advantage of this filter is that it incorporates the exclusive Tiffen 812 Warming filter. If your image is being shot on a cloudy, overcast day, the 812 portion of this filter replaces the warmth lost to the unflattering blue/grey available light. Note! Tiffen Warm Center Spot filters are available in both rectangular shapes as well as screw-on sizes • The size of the clear part in the center of the picture varies depending on the focal length and the aperture of the lens used • Excellent for portraits when a special effect is needed • Makes the background diffused while focusing attention on the center of the frame.
Tiffen Double Fog Glass Filter. Tiffen Double Fog Filters are a variation on the traditional Tiffen Fog Filter. Double Fogs have slightly milder flare and diffusion characteristics than standard Fog filters. A very thick natural fog will still allow close-up objects to appear sharp. So will a Double Fog filter. • Produces lower contrast combined with minimal highlight flare.
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