Yellow or orange filter for 72XL : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hopefully this question hasnít been covered elsewhere Ö so here goes: I have a 72XL and need to get a filter (105 mm filter size 95-105 step-up ring would be best, IMHO) to bring down the clear blue sky densities on B&Ws. I donít want the black skies of a red 25, but not the washed out look of no filter. The question is which filter to get. Will a dark yellow, #15, be adequate considering the fall off occuring with a front rise (which is what I do in almost all cases)? I actually would like a 041 orange (the B&W number), but fear this would lead to overly dark skies with the fall off. I figure with the fall off, the top of the sky would be as dark or darker than with a red 25. By the way, I wouldnít use the center filter for the B&W. Any ideas?



-- John Smith (, December 31, 2001


John, Is the #15 B+W's 023 dark yellow? Frankly, I'd consider 040 [yellow- orange]. It will be darker, but not as dark as the red. In any case, which ever filter you decide on, order the slim version to reduce the fall off. BILL

-- wm. mitchell (, December 31, 2001.


One of the most common mistakes when using contrast filters is "over filtering." This results in a print appearing harsh and artificial. It's better to use minimal or no filtration than to use it excessively. If an orange filter is used it will dramatically darken the blue sky and give the needed contrast between it and the cloud values. And mostimportantly and often forgotten, it will also darken green foliage and landscape shadows that are illuminated by blue sky light.

The Yellow #12, sometimes referred to as a -Blue filters provides the most accurate tonal correction of any other filter. It corrects panchromatic film closer to what the human eye sees than other filters.

One option to using a deep red or orange filter is to use the yellow #12 and place shadow areas that you would normally place on Zone III on Zone IV and give the film a N-1 development.

Just some thoughts.


-- Bill Smithe (, December 31, 2001.

I don't think there is one exact & easy answer. Some of the filters effectiveness depends on what film you are using. Newer 'enhanced red sensitivity' films will come out a bit different than TriX or whatever. If possible, go to a good store like Calumet that is well stocked & take your camera, some holders and set up for a shot in the parking lot & try a few different filters & see just which gives you what you need. Saves a lot of time & effort.

-- Dan Smith (, December 31, 2001.

I use a Wratten G (#15) frequently for darkening skies and have never been disappointed with foliage getting too dark or with loss of shadow detail. In cases where I want to darken a sky more than achievable with a a yellow or dark yellow filter, I combine with a polarizer.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, December 31, 2001.

You should have both including the red.. Filters effectiveness depends on saturation of sky which depends on moisture and relation to sun etc.. a filter will render differently each time you use it. Bracket if you are not sure. While no one really likes to talk about bracketing you are better off giving yourself more options when you get back to the darkroom. You should get a center filter to correct the natural fall off of the wide angle lens, they are expensive-but what are going to do? There are going to be some situations where the correct choice for filtering just is not obvious. Some filtering whether it is a light yellow to a deep red or green or blue helps almost every situation. There is almost no question about it.

-- Jack Nadelle (, December 31, 2001.

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