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Old May 15, 2007, 4:10 PM   #1
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I am just wondering if you can use filter adjustments on the computer after a shot, why bother with doing them in the field, and buying expensive filters?
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Old May 15, 2007, 5:25 PM   #2
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For the most part this is true. However there are a few filter effects that are unique and cannot be reproduced on the computer ,although some claim that they can come close. I think most would agree though that there are a few filters that are very helpful and create results that are best produced in camera. The two biggest are Graduated filters (to better balance high contrast scenes), and polarizers (to diminish reflections from many surfaces and intensify colours, etc.). Hope this helps.

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Old May 15, 2007, 11:51 PM   #3
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Have to agree with goomer.

You can break out the Gradient tool in PS, but it won't bring detail back to blown highlights or blocked up shadows. Using a graduated ND filter at capture can tame those wild contrasts and give the camera a better chance at recording a greater range of detail. You can do a tripod - mounted series of shots at different exposures and blend the best parts of each later, but it's more trouble than using a filter.

The effects of a polarizer can be approximated, but again, at more time and energy than just using a filter. Plus, software won't remove the little, blown hot - spots that the filter could lessen or eliminate or remove the reflections that the filter would.

If you like sitting at the computer more than you like taking pictures, then having certain filters doesn't make a lick of sense. But if you would rather have a bit more time behind the camera, nothing beats getting the picture as close as possible to what you ultimately want straight off.


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Old Aug 9, 2007, 12:22 PM   #4
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It all depends upon how much your time is worth. (This is coming from someone who wrote and rewrote his income tax return software annually, until his wife pointed out that pre-packaged software would do the job in exponentially less time.) If you enjoy playing with post-processing software such as Photoshop, Elements, etc., Goomer is dead on. It's certainly cheaper in direct outlay to reproduce filter effects using this software than to buy and use the actual filters. Of course, it takes more time.

I have learned that, for me,if I'm used to using some filters with color film (e.g., UV), and I'm used to the difference in results, it's both more consistent and faster to use the filters for digital work. I also like seeing the results in the viewfinder rather than imagining the resultant image.

So, if you are used to using filters, perhaps you too will be happier continuing to use them. Unfortunately, using cheap, uncoated filters is false economy.

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Old Aug 9, 2007, 12:56 PM   #5
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Most filter effects can be done faster in a good image editor that it takes to retrieve and attach the filter.

If you apply them individually you have a full range rather than just one level. If there is a particular filter you like you can make an action or script and can apply it with one click or bulk it to multiple images.

This applies to sky contrast with a polarizer. With an image editor it is a single click to select the sky and you aren't dependent on whether a particular part of the sky is polarized and to what degree. You also don't get inconsistencies across the sky with a wide angle or panorama.

You can't easily remove reflections in an image editor, and a polarizer will do that. If you take photos with a horizontal cutoff between bright and darker you will get much better dynamic range with a graduated neutral density filter. A graduated neutral density filter is a lot faster and easier to use than HDR. The downside is that it doesn't work in many situations without a horizontal cutoff between bright and darker.

Digital isn't affected by UV like film was. A UV filter on a digital camera is effectively a plain piece of glass. Many people use UV filters to protect the lens.

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