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Diffusion Filter Comparison

Photography & Video Tutorial

For today’s TSL lesson, we are going to look at camera diffusion and do a diffusion filter comparison. In the late ’80s and ’90s, you could not shoot with enough diffusion on the camera. Today, we live in an era of sharpness. We’ve hit the point where it’s so sharp that it is difficult for retouchers to get a nice image.

I think the trend now is shifting towards a little softer image in camera that needs less work later on.

Tiffen makes screw-in filters ideal for DSLR users. They are not our sponsor, I just thought it was a great product that I wanted to review.

Here are some diffusion basics:

    1. Highlights bleed or bloom into shadows or blacks
    2. Longer lenses need more diffusion than wide lenses
    3. Reduces contrast and softens skin tones

Let’s take a look at these three different types of filters Tiffen makes. We used them on a black-and-white set inside as well as outside to get several comparison shots.

 

diffusion filter comparison 1

#1 Here is our black-and-white inside set with no filter.

 

diffusion filter comparison 2

#2 First, we'll shoot with the Black Satin filters. They produce a grainier, warmer feeling. This gives a really nice smooth look to skin. It's going to smooth out blemishes and wrinkles. This gives just a little more of a soft look to textured surfaces, but it's going to add a mild glow to highlights. Here is our shot with the Black Satin 1.

 

diffusion filter comparison 3

#3 Here is the Black Satin 2.

 

diffusion filter comparison 4

#4 And this is the Black Satin 3.

 

diffusion filter comparison 5

#5 Now, we'll shoot with the Satin filters. These produce a cleaner, muted kind of diffusion. They also give a nice smooth look to the skin. Here is our shot with the Satin 1.

 

diffusion filter comparison 6

#6 Here is the Satin 2 shot.

 

diffusion filter comparison 7

#7 Here is the Satin 3.

 

diffusion filter comparison 8

#8 Now, we'll shoot with the Pearlescent filters. These bloom more on the highlights than the other filters. Tiffen calls this a “halo glow”. They're going to reduce the sharpness and contrast while maintaining the focus. They're great to mute colors if you want more of a pastel look. This is the Pearlescent 1/2. I really like this one.

 

diffusion filter comparison 9

#9 Here is the Pearlescent 1.

 

diffusion filter comparison 10

#10 And here is the Pearlescent 2.

 

diffusion filter comparison 11

#11 Here is our outside setup with no filter.

 

diffusion filter comparison 12

#12 Here is the Pearlescent 1/2.

 

diffusion filter comparison 13

#13 This is the Pearlescent 1.

 

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#14 Here is the Pearlescent 2.

 

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#15 Here is the Satin 1.

 

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#16 Here is the Satin 2.

 

diffusion filter comparison 17

#17 And this is the Satin 3.

 

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#18 Here is the Black Satin 1.

 

diffusion filter comparison 19

#19 This is the Black Satin 2.

 

diffusion filter comparison 20

#20 And here is the Black Satin 3.

 

Thanks for watching! Keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.

-Jay P Morgan


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