Diffusing lens for 28-200 Lens

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I have a Canon Rebel 2000 with a Tamron 28-200 lens mounted. I am interested in getting a "soft" filter for portraiture. Can you advise?

-- P. Tomka (Penpal57@aol.com), June 24, 2001


There are several "diffusion" filters on the market that are rated in differnt degrees of softness. Don't overdo the amount of diffusion. You might try checking on Photo.net in the small format photography section for more information specific to your lens and camera. Most of the stuff we use in LF doesn't really work well with 35mm.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), June 24, 2001.

Sure, you can get a Tiffen, B+W, Hoya filters that will fit. I think the opening you need is a 72mm or a 77mm. Look at your lens cap or your lens shade to find out exactly. You can also make one out of black stockings stretched over your lens or take an old uv filter and put spots of clear finger nail polish on it.

-- Scott Walton (f64sw@hotmail.com), June 26, 2001.


Be sure to take some test photos in the shop before buying, if possible. Bad (mostly cheap) soft filters often just make the image look unsharp, as if the photographer couldn't focus. The undisputedly best soft filters are the Zeiss Softar ones, but they cost almost half as much as your zoom lens. You probably have to find a usable compromise which fits your budget, your level of photography, and your taste. Good soft filters keep the actual image sharp while producing a glowing unsharpness around the object edges. Thus such filters are difficult to develop and produce, and most of them are actually just - crap.


-- David Haardt (david@haardt.net), August 15, 2001.

Alzheimer... What I just forgot: A nylon stocking (adjustable depending on the amount you strech it, and how dense the material is) or blowing onto the front lens right before shooting (to create condensation) or scratching an old UV filter or using Vaseline® are the cheapest ways - and some of the most useful ones. David Hamilton got famous with them. Sometimes you don't need to spend heaps of money to get nice results.

If you decide to go with a screw-in filter, be sure to buy the right filter size (given in mm, written onto the filter thread of your lens), and be aware that at wide-angle setting (e.g. 28mm) your lens might vignette with a filter on it, which means that the corners of your image might be darkened a bit. This might be critical if you shoot high-quality transparencies. You will also probably be having problems in using your "perfect hood" lens shade with a filter screwed in.


-- David Haardt (david@haardt.net), August 15, 2001.

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