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08-26-2021, 05:24 AM   #1
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Lighting color gels as filters for B&W photography?

I have a Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim compact 35mm film camera that I'd like to do some B&W photography with. I'd also like to use a yellow filter if at all possible, but of course the little Vivitar has no means of attaching one. I could just use one of my existing 49mm filters held in place with tape or Blu Tack, but I'm wondering if a square of lighting color gel would work instead? It would be a lot easier to keep in place with a couple of pieces of tape. Otherwise, are there any alternatives I might consider?

Any advice or thoughts would, as always, be much appreciated

08-26-2021, 05:25 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Sure thing - just no guarantee of UV absorbance. Try it.
08-26-2021, 06:51 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I have a Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim compact 35mm film camera that I'd like to do some B&W photography with. I'd also like to use a yellow filter if at all possible, but of course the little Vivitar has no means of attaching one. I could just use one of my existing 49mm filters held in place with tape or Blu Tack, but I'm wondering if a square of lighting color gel would work instead? It would be a lot easier to keep in place with a couple of pieces of tape. Otherwise, are there any alternatives I might consider?

Any advice or thoughts would, as always, be much appreciated
When I was shooting 4x5 film, I had a holder that sandwiched acetate filters that were just a high quality lighting gel as far as I could tell. The only thing you might run into, depending on the quality of the gel is image degradation because the gel isn't especially optically good.
Just pick a gel that looks close to the colour of filter you are trying to match and go have fun.
08-26-2021, 07:39 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Kodak still makes Wratten gel filters:

KODAK WRATTEN 2 Filters | Kodak

Phil.

08-26-2021, 10:18 AM - 1 Like   #5
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If the lens / camera has filter threads then it could be possible to try sourcing a plastic Cokin creative or the larger professional sliding filter system and plastic snap together gelatin filter holders. The normal creative size accommodated lens threads only up to a limit. Then the larger 'professional' system accommodated up to thread diameter 72mm (for sure) or possibly 77mm (unsure). Or it might serve as inspiration.

Also Calumet used to make a simple thin metal adhesive holder for view camera applications mounted to the inner face of a lens board (surrounding the lens. They also used to have card board frames for mounting gel filters to facilitate ease of handling.

Medium format (e.g. Hasselblad) used filters mounted directly to the internal bayonet of the lens. And a sliding bellows lens shade mounted to the external bayonet of the lens. The sliding bellows had a drop in slot at the end to accommodate insertion of a thin frame when using narrower field of view lenses. In some cases a 'flat plane with cutout' or 'external framework' of cardboard, plastic or wood might work to sandwich or tape mount a gelatin filter onto. Perhaps a lens hood could be slotted or end adapted to accept such an apparatus.

Or possibly just use a clamp arm to hold a set-up (e.g. framed gel and overhead shade) just in front of the lens.
08-26-2021, 01:40 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I have a Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim compact 35mm film camera that I'd like to do some B&W photography with. I'd also like to use a yellow filter if at all possible, but of course the little Vivitar has no means of attaching one. I could just use one of my existing 49mm filters held in place with tape or Blu Tack, but I'm wondering if a square of lighting color gel would work instead? It would be a lot easier to keep in place with a couple of pieces of tape. Otherwise, are there any alternatives I might consider?

Any advice or thoughts would, as always, be much appreciated
Lighting gels might not work as expected. Kodak Wratten gels or Lee equivalents might be an option if you can find some NOS.


Steve
08-27-2021, 07:36 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I would agree with Steve's apprehension about lighting filters being effective.

There seems to be a notable difference between material properties that are:
- Capable to project discern able color onto a reflective surface (e.g. that can be captured by color film).
- Designed to filter color wavelengths (e.g. for effect with B&W medium).

I don't recall if my experimentation with this occurred during my film days or early digital. But I do recall the difference was a bit surprising.

If the cost is none or sufficiently low... then certainly feel free to explore further.

08-27-2021, 12:40 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the useful feedback and advice, folks (plus a very kind offer from one of our members).

I hope to have an inexpensive, new / old stock Kodak Wratten No.8 - or possibly a No.3 - gelatin filter coming soon, that I can trim to size without feeling too wasteful (given the modest cost) and tape over the lens of the Vivitar

Last edited by BigMackCam; 08-27-2021 at 02:43 PM.
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