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Tiffen Ultra / Low Contrast filters

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So I bit the bullet over the week and bought the filter. From what I had read the filters work by spreading the light around the image, which is different to simply using a low contrast lens I think.

Tiffen HDTV/FX 1/2 58mm - EUR 11.32 (+ UK shipping c. EUR 9.99; AVIDES, via Amazon.de): http://www.amazon.de/Tiffen-Filter-58MM-HDTV-FILTER/dp/B001U8888M/ref=sr_1_69?ie=UTF8&qid=1454358161&sr=

Here is a 2015 test comparing different strengths of Ultracon, low con etc... Some of the filters look drastic, but If you open multiple browser windows side x side and pause the test on Clean, Ultrac

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To be honest: I dont know. A couple of  observations:


- if you look closer, you will see that blurred background tend to look noisy when FilmConvert is used.

- focusing is a bit harder due to lower contrast

- Focusing without a hood got much harder in direct sunlight; i really need an EVF. Maybe I will upgrade to GM5.


Since I am a frequent reader here at EosHD, i am infected with a constant GAS. However, when editing a new shot, I am still amazed by the quality of this combination (I only shoot 720p@50fps!).

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I just ordered one of these to try instead of the Ultra Contrast (because it was so cheap) on my shiny new GH4: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001U8885U/ref=ox_sc_act_title_5?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=AJ1X1FSMF7YWQ


They are a combination of the UltraCon and Tiffen's Digital Diffusion FX (which reduces digital sharpness a bit). I got grade no.4, because they didn't have grade 3. I hope 4 isn't too strong. Presumably the effect on contrast will be the same as the Ultracons. Tiffen official info: http://www.tiffen.com/pressreleasehdtvfx.html


I'm really looking forward to giving it a try. I think the Ultracons are a great find for Panasonic cameras in particular, because they completely negate the over-sharpened, contrasty, "videoy" look they are always getting accused of having. They make MFT glass much more attractive to me now as well.


The other thing I'm wondering - and think I'm seeing in the videos posted here (which look awesome btw ) - is, as well as increasing 'perceived' dynamic range (not real DR though) and improving highlight rolloff, do the ultracons not also dispense with the dreaded Lumix shadow-noise problem to some degree? I assume that because they effectively put more light into the shadows, the sensor isn't having to go so close to the noise floor. Of course you can always pull these 'brighter' shadows down in post to get more contrast, but the noise won't be there so much. Am I right about this? Doesn't this make these filters more useful than, for example, a flat profile or log curve, which uses the sensor to put more brightness in the shadows? Macroblocking won't be improved much though I don't think.

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The Ultra con gives a softening effect on its own due to the way it softens the tonal graduation. I'm not sure if it needed to be combined with a digital diffusion.


I think the filter does increase DR in the highlights a little, along with the overall effect of making them roll off more nicely.


You won't notice much difference in noise levels. Yes it lifts shadows a little but you're still shooting into underexposed areas and you'll continue getting noise regardless. For what it's worth, the noise (especially in 4k) should be very fine.


EDIT: Hmm actually I just did a little test and you're right. The filter lifts shadows enough that you don't have to lift them in camera

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Here is a 2015 test comparing different strengths of Ultracon, low con etc... Some of the filters look drastic, but If you open multiple browser windows side x side and pause the test on Clean, Ultracon, lowcon etc.. you can make a better comparison.  Keep in mind small vs large viewing screens and different focal lengths change the strength of a filters look.  I use Schnieder Digicon a bit, as it lowers highlights by adding black specs in the filter.  As you can see in the test, it is almost like an optical log.   I also have used Hollywood Blackmagic to take the digital edge off, but it isn't included in the test.  Curious how it compares to Glimmer Glass?   http://vimeo.com/116316115

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  • 8 months later...

Because that is like having a bag of M&Ms and then empty it out over a glass, with some of the M&Ms missing the glass completely and fall on the floor and say 'look, now they're in the glass'. No, they aren't, not all of them. Just effin' great. I was looking forward to eating those, but I ain't eating 'em offa this floor!

Better to deal with things before they get captured, rather than the notorious 'fixing it in post'.

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Rather yet, instead of recovering, it's destroying. Apply some filter afterwards and they remove details that were there... ;) which truly is a sin.

But then again. It's just for simulating purposes, so you kinda get the general idea of what these filters would be doing. IronFilm knows that. So I guess, it's all good. :) Just not to give the wrong impression to newbies reading along that such a thing might just be an idea grandioso to actually implement in an editing workflow. Unless you want to pimp out some quick screengrabs for sharing on your Facebook page... then by all means.

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I have a 77mm set of 3 Tiffen UltraContrast filters, in strengths of 1, 3, & 5. Happy to sell to anyone interested. I love the look but have moved to vintage lenses that are already low contrast. The 5 in particular is great at lifting shadows when shooting at night.

How much would you want for them?

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