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    Which strength and focusing with Mist filters - Pro-mist, Softon, Black mist?
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    If you could only have one mist filter, which strength would it be - 1/4, 1/8, 1/2?

    Also, how does it affect focusing on a camera? What are the negative effects - does it make auto-focusing more difficult, does it make focus peaking inaccurate, etc?

    What are the cheapest mist filter on the market that provide good results? Not DIY.

    Are the Hoya/Kenko Softon, Nissi Black Mist, Tiffen Pro-mist the-same or similar?

    Thank you.


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    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    If I wanted to err on the side of subtlety, i would only get 1/8.

    If i wanted to hit a sweet spot of subtle but effective, i would get 1/4. That's the strength of Tiffen Black Satin i use most frequently.

    If i were to say forget about subtlety, I want to make sure I have an effect and skin is soft, I would get 1/2.

    Generally I think that most glass filters are decent. Resin filters are garbage. But it would pay to watch videos and reviews of the specific filters you want if you can't test them in person. Heres one on NiSi filters in general:
    https://youtu.be/PIDq2WQOf6I

    I really like Tiffen Black Satin because it's subtle enough that it doesn't look filtered (which is what almost all filters claim in their marketing but is never actually true). I can use it in documentary without a problem and it takes the edge off a sharp lens and smooths out skin a bit, and also has a mild halation effect that stays consistent across all strengths.

    But because Black Satin is subtle, it won't give you a "look" if that's what you're searching for.

    All types of black pro-mist are doing basically the same thing AFAIK - scattering the light with an array of particles, some or all of which are black which helps maintain contrast. Mist or white pro-mist filters dont have black particles and really reduce contrast in addition to blurring the image.

    As for focusing - a diffusion filter will make it harder to focus the image by eye. I haven't tested it with autofocus but it will probably impact autofocus because the autofocus on my A7SIII seems to work best on subjects with contrast and detail, which will be reduced by the filter. Peaking will probably still work as long as the filter isn't too strong. Who knows, peaking may work even better if it reduces the range of pixels that are peaking and more accurately shows you the area that's in critical focus.
    Last edited by ahalpert; 10-18-2020 at 12:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post
    If I wanted to err on the side of subtlety, i would only get 1/8.

    If i wanted to hit a sweet spot of subtle but effective, i would get 1/4. That's the strength of Tiffen Black Satin i use most frequently.

    If i were to say forget about subtlety, I want to make sure I have an effect and skin is soft, I would get 1/2.

    Generally I think that most glass filters are decent. Resin filters are garbage. But it would pay to watch videos and reviews of the specific filters you want if you can't test them in person. Heres one on NiSi filters in general:
    https://youtu.be/PIDq2WQOf6I

    I really like Tiffen Black Satin because it's subtle enough that it doesn't look filtered (which is what almost all filters claim in their marketing but is never actually true). I can use it in documentary without a problem and it takes the edge off a sharp lens and smooths out skin a bit, and also has a mild halation effect that stays consistent across all strengths.

    But because Black Satin is subtle, it won't give you a "look" if that's what you're searching for.

    All types of black pro-mist are doing basically the same thing AFAIK - scattering the light with an array of particles, some or all of which are black which helps maintain contrast. Mist or white pro-mist filters dont have black particles and really reduce contrast in addition to blurring the image.

    As for focusing - a diffusion filter will make it harder to focus the image by eye. I haven't tested it with autofocus but it will probably impact autofocus because the autofocus on my A7SIII seems to work best on subjects with contrast and detail, which will be reduced by the filter. Peaking will probably still work as long as the filter isn't too strong. Who knows, peaking may work even better if it reduces the range of pixels that are peaking and more accurately shows you the area that's in critical focus.
    Thanks for the quick reply!

    Ahalpert, if you only have one, what strength would you choose based on your experience, 1/4, 1/8 or 1/2?


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    Quote Originally Posted by analogs View Post
    Thanks for the quick reply!

    Ahalpert, if you only have one, what strength would you choose based on your experience, 1/4, 1/8 or 1/2?
    I had a weird experience with the Tiffen Pearlesescent filter. It should have been good at 1/2nd or 1/4th, given the example videos on Tiffen's Vimeo account, but my 1/8th filter was super heavy. made my use of it super annoying, and now I rarely use that f'ing $400+ filter. I mean, A cameras cost ~$2K now.


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    Senior Member Bruce Foreman's Avatar
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    I used diffusion a lot in my still portrait studio work. You're not likely to get by with just one strength, I recommend both the 1/8 and 1/4 strengths. As Ahalpert said, above, the 1/8th will be subtle but will take the "edge" off detail that is too sharp, the 1/4 will just begin to give skin tones a bit of a soft look.

    The best looking diffusion I got was with the Mamiya RB-67 and the Mamiya Sekor 150mm Soft Focus Lens. That lens had diffusion characteristics designed into it and you had 3 control disks you could install between the front element cell and the shutter. I often went for the max effect you got with the #3 disk and my clients loved the effect. The closest I've come to that look is with the Fotodiox diffusion filter which fortunately is very inexpensive.

    The attached image is a sample of what I used to achieve with the RB-67 and 150mm Soft Focus lens.

    050_Celia_600x800.jpg

    I have the Tiffen Black Pro-Mist in 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and 1 strengths, I would use the first two for very subtle effect but to get a soft diffuse look similar to my sample I would use the cheap Fotodiox Diffusion filter.
    Last edited by Bruce Foreman; 10-18-2020 at 09:41 AM.


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    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    Yeah, what is the goal for your mist filter? Subtle effect? Take the edge off a sharp lens? Skin softener? Or a "look"?

    I guess I would say (very generally and imprecisely):

    1/8 = take the edge off a sharp lens
    1/4 = subtle effect
    1/2 = skin softener
    1 = "look"

    Of course, it matters what focal length you're using. People often use different strength filters on different focal lengths.

    I think that generally if I could only have one strength of a filter, it would probably be 1/4. It's enough to have an effect and anything stronger than that might be too much sometimes. Unless you're going for a "look"


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    I had a tiffen pro mist filter I used on the EVA1 once and it also seemed really heavy, which bummed me out as I’d seen examples where it looks fantastic.

    I’m now reminded I never followed up on my tests here, but I’m wondering if black pro mist (I think that’s what it was) was the wrong filter to get? I got a 1/8 and 1/4 version in 82mm.


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    Senior Member David W. Jones's Avatar
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    Not the cheapest solution, but depending on the shoot and intended look, I like using Schneider Hollywood Black Magic filters.
    1/8 for wide shots, 1/4 for medium and tighter shots, and 1/2 for real tights with older talent.
    It is basically a combination of a 1/8 Black Frost with degrees of HD Classic Soft.


    Whatever you decide on I wouldn't use the same strength on your wide shots as you do on your closeups.
    But hey, that's just me.
    Last edited by David W. Jones; 10-20-2020 at 12:28 PM.


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    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by filmguy123 View Post
    I had a tiffen pro mist filter I used on the EVA1 once and it also seemed really heavy, which bummed me out as I’d seen examples where it looks fantastic.

    I’m now reminded I never followed up on my tests here, but I’m wondering if black pro mist (I think that’s what it was) was the wrong filter to get? I got a 1/8 and 1/4 version in 82mm.
    Black pro-mist is the classic choice but I think it feels a bit heavy, like you just had a big lunch. Perfect for awkward family dinner scenes maybe.

    Black frost is a little classier - I'd look into that one.

    I like black satin but mostly because it's so subtle that I can always get away with it. Not as classy as black frost I'd say.

    Then theres glimmerglass and a host of popular modern diffusion. I haven't used glimmerglass but there are sample tests on youtube


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    I have just been experimenting with DIY mist filters using a UV filter and black gloss paint and the results are actually comparable. I am not sure whether to invest on an expensive mist filter to lower the perceived quality of an expensive lens when a DIY seems to be producing similar effects at a much lower cost. I don't understand these creative trends some times, so much money is placed on a sharp lens and so much money is placed on filters to negate these lens qualities, hmm :/


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