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04-22-2012, 01:08 AM   #1
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Soft focus with vaseline and a filter, how to clean filter?

I have an upcoming photoshoot and I wanted to try and get a David Hamilton style soft focus look to my shots, something I intend to achieve using vaseline on a uv filter. I am wonder if anyone has tried this, what they thought and if they had any tips on how to clean the filter so with out scratching it and leaving it greesy?

04-22-2012, 01:28 AM   #2
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Optical quality of the filter isn't important if you're putting vaseline on it anyway - just get an old or cheap UV filter for pennies.

As the filter doesn't really matter in terms of optical quality, I'd be tempted just to wash it in hot water with soap, and use it as a dedicated 'vaseline' filter from then on.

It's a nice 'old school' technique that probably doesn't get done half as much as it used to!
04-22-2012, 02:25 AM   #3
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hot soapy water will clean glass.........put it through the dishwasher......but use a cheapy
cheers
Jan
Ps I remember my dad using vaseline........no idea how he cleaned it tho
04-22-2012, 02:28 AM   #4
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LOL, just the title of the thread gave me a good laugh.

04-22-2012, 02:51 AM   #5
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CLEAN a VASELINE filter?!?!? Surely, you jest!
[ No, and don't call me Shirley. ]

Back in the day, we generally didn't clean the vaseline from the cheap filter. We left it there for the next use. We might squooge it around a bit with a kleenex but that was about it. Oh yeah, if it started picking up debris, it might go in with the dirty dishes. Then we'd just smear on a bit more.
04-22-2012, 06:07 AM   #6
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I gave up on that greasy stuff. I use a soft focus lens made out of a one element maginfying glass lens.

Tiffen and some other companies make soft focus filters. Never tried them.

Also PP soft focus,but never tried it either.

I did try 'in camera' soft focus. It is OK for light diffusion. (See samples images at end)

Here is a good article on making solft focus lenses.

http://www.shutterbug.com/content/soft-focus-revisited-digitally-how-make-yo...-used-40-years

Here are some samples with the single element diffusion lens....

















This last one is a scan of a print from the 70's. Rest were digital.

The problem with this single element setup is it is too heavy on the diffusion for some uses. It is also a fixed aperture more or less and gives off tons of CA. But the purple fringing can be nice sometimes, as in the one image of the magnolia flower above.

If you do lots of diffusion, have many tools at your disposal so you can have all ranges of softness.

Here are some tests with the 'in camera' soft focus filter built into the K-x set at max diffusion.

No diffusion sample



Max diffusion









Some critics say soft focus or diffusion is cheesy or fake. I don't mind the critics. When you not working for a paying customer...you can do whatever you like!

Last edited by slackercruster; 04-22-2012 at 02:09 PM.
04-22-2012, 10:11 PM   #7
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Nice photo's slacker! I purchased a hoya fog filter set today, thinking that might be another good route. Anyone use these?

04-22-2012, 11:02 PM   #8
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If you do go the vaseline route, using a glass cleaner(like windex) on the filter will cut through the vaseline. It never hurt the filters I've used, but I normally use junk filters for experiments.
04-23-2012, 05:41 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Metalwizards Quote
Nice photo's slacker! I purchased a hoya fog filter set today, thinking that might be another good route. Anyone use these?
Nope, but was thinking of buying some. Hope you post some samples here for comparing.

It may be the 'in camera' filter will do the same. Tiffen has a set of filters too.

Pentax has a soft focus lens, 85mm for about $500...if you got some extra $$ sitting around.


edit...try the in camera soft focus as well as the Hoya filters in combo.

Last edited by slackercruster; 04-23-2012 at 09:01 AM.
04-23-2012, 07:13 AM   #10
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Another way to get soft focus: Put a simple uncorrected magnifier on a bellows. A +10 diopter closeup lens or magnifying glass has a focal length of 100mm. Notice the nice soft glow. Wail! For not-quite-so soft, get a 42-43mm step-up ring and an M42 bellows and a Raynox DCR-250. The Raynox is +8dpt, 125mm. Its inner diameter is ~37mm. That makes it 125/3.4 and it's not nearly as tight as it implies. Screw a +2dpt onto it and it's +10dpt = 100mm f/2.7 and yes, you can only shoot wide-open. Give it a try, eh?

Last edited by RioRico; 04-23-2012 at 07:39 AM.
04-23-2012, 08:27 AM   #11
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How about using a water-soluble gel like K-Y?

For short uses it should be ok before it dries and can be easily washed off with water.

Or, coat a uv filter with K-Y or Vaseline, then protect it with another uv filter. You can pattern the gel with your fingertip to give different effects, then save the pattern by protecting it with the second uv filter. Like put horizontal furrows in the vaseline - this should give some directionality to the fuzziness, etc.
04-23-2012, 08:41 AM   #12
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Creative Nature Photography - Orton Imagery
04-23-2012, 09:33 PM   #13
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Back in the day when we wanted difussion we would do it in the darkroom a lot of the time. We would get some pantyhose and stretch it over an embroidery hoop. When we made the esposure we would wave the pantyhose under the enlarger lens.
04-24-2012, 12:50 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by slackercruster Quote
Back in the day when we wanted difussion we would do it in the darkroom a lot of the time. We would get some pantyhose and stretch it over an embroidery hoop. When we made the esposure we would wave the pantyhose under the enlarger lens.
that does make for some interesting effect.. hoever for most purposes it would seem unnatural... for printing from negative film... this would have the shadows bleeding into the highlights which is the opposite of most other diffusion done in camera where you get the highlights bleeding into the shadows.... cool ifthat is what you're trying to acieve...
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