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05-03-2008, 07:14 AM   #1
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Soft Focus Lens or Mist filter

I'm going to be the primary photographer at a God-daughter's wedding next month. I'm thinking I should do something for the soft focus effect portraits that seem to be required by so many. I know that I can just smear up a plain filter with petroleum jelly, but I'm looking for something more uniform. I see several of the older Pentax 85mm soft focus lenses for sale at sort of reasonable prices. I also see that Tiffen has several varieties of soft effect filters available. I've never tried to go for soft focus before, so can anyone give me some advice?
Thanks,
Brian
P.S. K10D, 360FGZ, Stroboframe flip bracket, Sigma 17-70, 42" translucent disk will be the primary equipment.

05-03-2008, 08:46 AM   #2
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Personally if I want a softer photo I just use software to do the job. That way I get to control everything.
05-03-2008, 01:28 PM   #3
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I never thought of that. My mind is still in film days where "in camera" was the best route. I work with Elements 5. Does anyone know if there's a way to uniformly soften with PSE5?
05-03-2008, 01:45 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by calicojack Quote
I never thought of that. My mind is still in film days where "in camera" was the best route. I work with Elements 5. Does anyone know if there's a way to uniformly soften with PSE5?
The software solutions do not do the job as well as the Soft Focus lens will. The soft focus lens overlays a sharply focused photo with an out of focus image. Nothing has yet come around that replaces the lens based solution, although they do come close now.

I have wondered, briefly, if taking two images, one in focus and the other not, could duplicate the effect when layered.

05-03-2008, 02:00 PM   #5
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I'm not familiar with how to soften in sw - I've used a center spot filter for the effect - here's a wedding photo I took of my daughter - not taken with a Pentax camera, but it shows the effect of the center spot filter. Have fun.

Last edited by ChipB; 01-13-2014 at 02:46 PM.
05-03-2008, 09:22 PM   #6
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In-camera digital soft filter- free

Pentax also has its own built-in digital soft filter. Has 3 levels of softness to choose from. Just select from the camera menu. Works fine and it is free.
05-04-2008, 05:21 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Pentax also has its own built-in digital soft filter. Has 3 levels of softness to choose from. Just select from the camera menu. Works fine and it is free.
I never even knew iy was there! I just checked the manual and I see it is under the playback menu. (as well as the convert to B&W function). Thanks.
Have you (or anyone) tried this soft effect filter? Does it do a nice job? I assume the soft focus lens would be better, but for my limited need for this, the in camera filter might be the best (certainly the cheapest) solution.
Brian
05-04-2008, 07:58 PM   #8
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You're going to get a different look from the soft-focus lens, the in-camera soft filter, photoshop or a soft filter screwed on to the end of your lens.

I, personally like the look of a dedicated soft-focus lens best, but if you can't find or afford one, may I suggest a Tiffen Soft F/X filter?

I mostly use the warm soft F/X 3 for people portraits. If you do use the warm verson, remember that the wedding gown won't be pure white in your shots.

There's a soft-focus thread here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-pentax-photography/9409-soft-focu...photoshop.html

Good luck.

Mike

05-04-2008, 08:43 PM   #9
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Hi Brian,

I just posted some samples from my FA 85mm/2.8 Soft on this forum last week.
It's a little bit tricky to use this lens but it's really fun. Stopped down a little bit from 2.8 gives a much different result. Also we need to practice a lot to control the contrast area to get a satisfying result.
I think it's a little bit different than using a soft filter since the center part usually not that much softened as the corners.

Here are some samples that I took handheld:

Outdoor in bright daylight f/2.8:


Indoor w/ tungsten light no flash f/2.8:


Hope this helps.
05-05-2008, 06:44 AM   #10
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Try using either spot or center weight metering to get better exposure control with this lens.

Most people seem to prefer images taken at F5.6. I personally like F6.7.

QuoteOriginally posted by HermanLee Quote
Hi Brian,

I just posted some samples from my FA 85mm/2.8 Soft on this forum last week.
It's a little bit tricky to use this lens but it's really fun. Stopped down a little bit from 2.8 gives a much different result. Also we need to practice a lot to control the contrast area to get a satisfying result.
I think it's a little bit different than using a soft filter since the center part usually not that much softened as the corners.
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