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To Filter or Not To Filter


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#1 Cressidiver

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 01:29 PM

I will be diving in SoCal in july and this will be my first time running some underwater camera gear. I will have both lights and color correcting filters and I was wondering what the proper setup should be both for film and still photography in that particular water?

#2 bvanant

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 02:31 PM

I will be diving in SoCal in july and this will be my first time running some underwater camera gear. I will have both lights and color correcting filters and I was wondering what the proper setup should be both for film and still photography in that particular water?

In July it is quite likely going to be quite green here and a lot depends on what you are shooting. For little stuff lights and strobes will be fine, for kelp forest video you might work on using a green water magic filter together with your lights.
Bill

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#3 Cressidiver

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 02:46 PM

In July it is quite likely going to be quite green here and a lot depends on what you are shooting. For little stuff lights and strobes will be fine, for kelp forest video you might work on using a green water magic filter together with your lights.
Bill


Great, i will keep that in mind as I shoot, i'm sure a bunch of it will just be trial and error, seeing what works and what doesnt

#4 stuartv

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 08:40 AM

Hi,

 

i'm new here and the forum says I cannot start a new topic. I searched and this topic is the closest to what I wanted to ask.

 

I am reading Martin Edge's book (The Underwater Photographer). At the end of the Natural Light section, he has a short part about Magic Filters. He makes it sound like I should probably buy some.

 

But, my camera is an Olympus OM-D E-M10. I will shoot in RAW+JPEG. From everything I've read, including the other parts of Edge's book, I cannot for the life of me figure out why I'd want to use any filters on my setup.

 

It seems to me that those filters reduce the amount of light getting into the camera, so that's a bit of a negative when you're using them. And the only positive if you are using the JPEGs that the camera produces. If I'm going to use the RAW files, it seems like I would be better off to have no filter. I would still probably set a custom WB early in my dive, just so that image reviews during the dive are somewhat corrected. And if I get out and want to upload a picture to Facebook before I do any editing, the color will be a little better than no WB and no filter. But, that's all minor stuff and doesn't seem to be a good reason to justify spending money on Magic (or any other) filters.

 

So, is there really any reason to use any color correction filters if you're shooting RAW (or RAW+JPEG)?

 

Thanks.



#5 Bob_W

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 07:07 AM

Take a look at the page at the link below. It should help you understand how a filter can help.

http://www.magic-filters.com/need.html

 

Bob W



#6 stuartv

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 08:02 AM

Take a look at the page at the link below. It should help you understand how a filter can help.

http://www.magic-filters.com/need.html

 

Bob W

 

Thanks, Bob. Unfortunately, I must be too ignorant to really "get" it. That page seems like it completely avoids discussing shooting in RAW and doing post-processing. Instead, it mostly seems to be just showing how a filter would help if I'm shooting JPEGs. And mostly comparing apples and oranges.

 

The first pair of pictures is two different sharks. It doesn't say anything about shooting RAW and processing after the fact. The "No filter" shark is much closer to the bottom, so you don't see as much of the sharks's shadow. But, what you can see does look like it has more contrast than the shark's shadow in the "With Filter" picture. It also looks like the "No filter" picture could have been processed (if shot in RAW) to bring out the same good things you see in the "With filter" picture. I don't really know, so it's hard to accept these pictures as solid evidence that a filter would help, if shooting RAW and editing after.

 

Pretty much the same comments for the next pair of reef pictures. There is nothing written there that tells me that I couldn't take the "No filter" picture in RAW and then edit it after to get just as good a photo as the "With filter" photo.

 

The video is about shooting video with a GoPro and I'm not concerned with that. I'm concerned with shooting stills with my m43 camera.

 

The next set of pictures is of a wreck, on film, no filter, and with filter. But, they were all taken not just on different days but at least months apart. Comparing "No filter" and "With filter", how do I know that the difference in the background wasn't down to having different conditions that day? How do I know that a RAW, no filter photo, taken on the same day as the "With filter" photo would not come out of post-processing looking just as good as the "With filter" picture?

 

The next pair of pictures is a piece of wreckage. Both photos presumably taken on the same day and the text says they were shot in RAW. The pictures show how the "Manual WB" version has noise that's not in the "Auto WB" version. But, there is no "With filter" version to compare. How do I know that adding a filter to the scene wouldn't reduce the light entering the camera and result in just us much noise in the final result?

 

The last pair of pictures compares "With flash" to "No flash, with filter". There's no version that is "no flash, RAW and processed", so again I can't tell if the filter gave a better result than shooting with no flash, no filter, in RAW, and processing after.

 

I'm not saying the filters aren't useful. I'm just saying that this page hasn't shown me that they are.

 

The writing on that page says that using manual WB to take the blue out causes the background to be washed out and not have the rich blue that is desirable. Okay... So how does a filter take blue out of the subject and not take it equally out of the background also?

 

I can clearly see how the filters are beneficial if you are shooting JPEGs. That is why I have blue and green water filters for my GoPro. I am failing to understand the "why" of saying that a filter can give me better results than shooting no filter to RAW and doing post-processing. Maybe I need a more technical explanation of what "manual WB" does. And if that explanation applies equally to JPEGs produced by the camera and to images that are the result of shooting RAW and processing in LightRoom afterwards.

 

Like I said, I'm not saying the filters don't work to produce the best possible images. I'm just saying I still don't feel like I've seen conclusive evidence. And I haven't seen an explanation that I can understand to convince me.



#7 adamhanlon

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 11:25 PM

Hi Stuart,

 

Detailed instruction on how to make your first post are here!

 

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=52515

 

In terms of your query, filters correct the color shift towards blue or green that occur underwater.

 

Post-capture white balance creates a global color shift. The most common result is that this drains away the blues or greens (as the software shifts the spectrum toward the red end). This leaves them looking very washed out.

 

Shooting in RAW captures all the sensor information, but given that there is little information in the red end of the spectrum at depth, it cannot capture information that simply isn't there.

 

By reducing the amount of blue/green light that the RAW image is capturing by using a filter, this allows the camera to white balance in a way that is more natural looking and retains the deep blue and green colors of the water column.

 

Most images have some sort of post capture work done on them. The point is that shooting with a filter on some types of image will give you better results post capture.

 

In terms of whether you chose to believe the information presented in the shared link, that is up to you. I guess the many underwater photographers that successfully use filters to enhance their images regularly will continue to do so, and if you don't want to use them that is up to you.

 

BTW, if you put "filter" into the search button above, or Google "Wetpixel filter" or similar, you will end up with over 100 results, some of which would give you more understanding about filters...just saying  :mocking:

 

Adam


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