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Tiffen Ultra / Low Contrast filters

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Yes DSLR users use those filters for better codec handling but as so as i will use bmpcc raw files my concept will be to lift shadows with a contrast filter and than underexpose camera without crushing those lifted blacks to protect highlights (i saw someone do this trick on youtube with hd video camera and result was pretty nice). did you try this?

 to process raw data i also use RPP app which is true 32 bit floating point and has better quality than resolve, so i think that poor gradations and banging is not a problem for this workflow. 

btw i noticed glimmer glass filter too but still don't have time to check the differences from other diffusion-contrast Tiffens

I did try underexposing but it didn't seem to be a much better result. It's just a bit inconsistent and fiddly to work with, whereas bounce board and ND grads just work.

All that post workflow stuff is way over my head, though. No idea. Ultra contrast is definitely more a contrast filter and glimmer glass more film look, though. 

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yeah, they all do. tiffen black satin has an unusual shape. distractingly so. shaped like little cowboy hats if i recall correctly. so i returned it. in wanting to introduce halation and lowered contrast, I've switched to vintage glass instead of filtration. this is why i'm so happy with the Dog Shidt Optiks set I purchased. Here is a video from Bob Gundu that shows the halation you get using these. I think it's perfect.


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Zak, what you can say about ultra contrast filters? Are they affect bokeh look?  I saw you try to sell them here and on your website. Are you use them a lot? 

I don't have experience with this kind of filters but after about week of research i still would like to go for ultra contrast because i don't like a lot those halo and dreamy look all the way and don't see any problem to add it in post with plugins. But the low contrast is the different story.

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Yeah, as you've noticed, UltraCons aren't the same as the rest being discussed here. UltraCons will lower the contrast of the entire image. Tiffen also makes Low Contrast filters that limit the effect to areas of the frame that have a bright light source -- lamps, traffic lights, etc. So if you want globally lowered contrast across the entire frame, I would go with an UltraCon set. You'll need different strengths depending on the available light in the scene. I used the 5 at night to lift the black level. But a 5 during the day would wash everything out too much.

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glad you're happy with your purchase zach. filters just aren't for me. many affect the bokeh in a way i don't like, and many introduce green reflections that I *really* don't like. so I decided to pursue lenses that basically have the look I want built in.

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are there those green reflections, Zak Forsman talking about? i like them)



yeah ! I like them too. If we can live with anamorphic flare then we should be able to live with filter reflections !

i bought some zeiss milvus lenses im thinking the better coating of the newer lenses should help minimize these reflections

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these are the green reflections I'm talking about. this guy was handholding the filters so it looks even worse here. but my problem was that the color rarely compliments the scene and if the camera is moving, the reflections move in the opposite direction (because science) which is a distraction I don't want in a movie. also, they don't look like flares, they are actual reflections of bright objects elsewhere in the frame. it's not a constant problem, but I like to use a strong backlight in many cases, and if that happens to be a practical in the frame, it becomes a restriction I'm not too keen on. That being said, you'll see in later clips in this same video, it is great at lowering contrast to different degrees.


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yea, its visible at sewing machine scene. its because tiffen don't use multi coated glass. maybe putting contrast filter under multi coated clear filter or under multi coated ND filter can disable those green reflections? also additional lens hood can help

here is one more example video

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On 20/10/2014 at 1:47 AM, andy lee said:

that low contrast look can also be achived with the right lenses that have that look .


one that is very very good for this is the Tokina RMC 28-85mm f4


its cheap on ebay - it has very very low contrast and very low saturation - they just made it like that for some reason !

it looks great and I use it to get this look via the glass - not using filters on my good lenses


Now its a useful lens as it covers a good useable range 28 for the coverage , 85mm for the close ups and 50 0r 40mm for the rest !

you can shoot an awful lot on this one lens!


stick it on a speedbooster so you have Super 35mm field of view with it.

it also then becomes a very good f2.8 !!


On 25/10/2014 at 8:34 PM, Inazuma said:

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. And besides that, I don't want to add another lens to my collection when I already have three superb ones.


I started with Ultra Contrast 3. It had good effect but I thought I'd go further so this morning I received the #5.


The filters have an immediate effect of making the image look way more filmic. The reason for this is that really do spread the light around the image - but it's not so simple. They take in more ambient light and thus ambient colour. The result is that you get a much more balanced picture in terms of colour and tonality. These filters really are something magical.


I have been shooting a fair bit with them over the past few days and will be putting together a video, but for now here's a few images:


No filter, Standard iDynamic:




With FilmConvert:




Tiffen Ultra Contrast #5 (no iDynamic):




With FilmConvert and some additional saturation.




Each filter costs just over £100 for the 77mm sizes. I do recommend getting the strongest one (the #5). After further consideration I think the #3 is a better choice because the #5 washes out darker midtones too readily.

You rock! Your post are very interesting and helpful. On amazon, the 77mm  filter is so expensive, the 52mm is so much cheaper. Do you know if there's some alternative brand other than tiffen? They seem quite expensive in Europe. can we stack those filter to avoid buying Ultra 1, 3, 5, etc...?

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On 30/10/2014 at 11:42 AM, Inazuma said:

Nice test :) I don't think you needed to sharpen it though. It makes the compression artefacts stand out too much.




This is my entry for the HitRecord competition by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The objective is to take cinematic, handheld footage of your city. And it needs to include some walking shots as well as a shot with the camera on myself.


The afternoon and early evening shots were done on Saturday when I received the Ultra Contrast 5 filter. As I mentioned I think it's a bit too strong and so used the #3 for the rest of the footage which I took over the next few days.


Really like the image I get with the filter on. Just a shame about my terriby shaky hands :p

Nice video, the best shot are delight. Is the Tiffen Low Light Ultra Contrast recommended to shoot at night? 

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On 02/12/2014 at 7:23 PM, Guest 560a4aedcb80685284629074497fdc75 said:

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.

£72.87 cheap????

On 21/01/2015 at 5:43 PM, sam said:

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

How can we watch your video?

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I got my tiffen ultra contrast 1 52mm for 50€ used on a facebook group. Very happy about it, saved me in some situations as my main camera (AF100) is not a DR monster :D

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9 hours ago, Grégory LEROY said:


How can we watch your video?

Sorry I dont have any links as this was from January 2015. Not that this helps, but a thorough video web search for the specific filters you are trying to compare might be useful? Or cml has some helpful discussions regarding filters, if my memory is correct.  

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