Replacing soft filter with technique?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by ravenhil, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. ravenhil

    ravenhil Guest

    I thought of an idea, which I doubt would be original, to replace the soft
    effects of the same name filter. The beauty of softened photos is in its
    dreamy effect. The lines and borders are spot on where they should be,
    co-exisiting with a slight overlapping of colours and details.

    A badly focused picture is just that. Just blurry.


    if I take a multiple exposure (2) shot of a still subject, one tightly in
    focus, and the other slight off focus, will I be able to get that effect?

    And that brings to mind yet another question. If I take a shot of a subject
    which would normally require T: 1/250 F:4.0, would i have to compensate by
    one stop down to T:1/125 F:4.0 for a two-shot multiple exposure?

    Hope these things dun sound too crazy. Have mercy for I am new.
    ravenhil, Feb 6, 2004
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  2. ravenhil

    Nikkorguy Guest

    I thought of an idea, which I doubt would be original, to replace the soft
    Yes, that would be correct for a two-shot multiple exposure. Or if you are
    doing two or more overlapping exposures on the same frame of film simply
    multiply the ISO by the number of exposures you want to do, set the meter to
    that effective ISO and meter normally.

    Nikkorguy, Feb 6, 2004
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  3. ravenhil

    Rob Wild Guest

    Don't know. Probably something similar. Just hope that the model doesn't
    blink / move slightly / change expression / breathe etc.
    Other way. 1/125th is slower than 1/250, hence it lets in twice the
    light. Your film would be overexposed. The speed would need to be set at
    1/500 for teh double exposure.
    Rob Wild, Feb 6, 2004
  4. ravenhil

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    If you are reading 1/250th for a single exposure then you would want
    1/500th for the two exposures to come out the same.
    Your technique is in fact one of the well known ways of softening. I've
    not done it myself but suspect, from the pictures I've seen that it is most
    effective against a very dark background. I also suspect that the exposure
    is not divvied up equally - perhaps 2/3rds going to the sharp and the rest
    to the blurry.
    If you can do a long exposure you could also de-focus the lens during the
    Tony Spadaro, Feb 6, 2004
  5. ravenhil

    Vin Guest

    Wouldn't it be easier if you take the photo (assume you have a
    digital version, scanned or digital camera) then make two copies of
    it, blur one of them and then combine them?

    Vin, Feb 6, 2004
  6. It seems to me that he would have to go the other way....1/500 second,
    instead of 1/125th....After all, he has to reduce the amount of exposure on
    each shot to avoid overexposing the film........
    William Graham, Feb 6, 2004

  7. It's funny, someone was just demonstrating this technique over at, even had a name for it, and I'll be dipped if
    I can remember what it was.

    But yes, it works, and there's a variety of ways to do it. Check out for a few of

    The technique discussed on the other newsgroup involved over-exposing
    the out-of-focus exposure by two stops over the correct exposure for the
    sharp image. Seems a lot, but you have to consider what happens. With a mix
    of light and dark areas in the frame, the areas overlap when out of focus,
    and essentially mix. Most times you'll have more dark areas than light, and
    this will reduce the overall level of the color/light/whatever. Part two is
    that throwing anything out of focus, including a light beam (and anything
    in a photo is simply reflected light), diffuses it and reduces the strength
    - the opposite of using a magnifying glass to start fires.

    Also, soft focus filters work by slightly scattering the light that
    strikes them - the lighter the subject, the more cloud/haze/fuzz you get,
    and this has the effect of lightening the overall frame. It's a lot like
    indistinct lens flares or ghosts. So having the OOF exposure much lighter
    will come closer to emulating this. I would also go for more than just
    slightly out-of-focus, since you need the softness to extend outwards for a
    noticeable perimeter.

    I have also heard that for double exposures, both should be 1.5 stops
    reduced, not just one. You would add another half stop (each) for every
    additional exposure. Season to taste, and consider the subject too, but I
    would lean that way for this case. You will most likely achieve the best
    results with a contrasty subject, because the darker areas will show off
    the softness much better.

    There are other ways to mess around too. The old "petroleum jelly
    around the edges of a clear filter" trick is effective, and allows you to
    shape the area of haze, but messy. Stretching a nylon stocking over the
    lens can work, though I have heard in certain lighting conditions this can
    introduce a faint pattern (which might be useful). I always wanted to try a
    ten-second exposure, breathing on the lens right before tripping the
    shutter and letting it clear while the shutter is open. I would test this
    first to make sure a siginificant portion of the exposure time takes place
    after the lens has cleared. Try it also with moving lights like cars. And
    moderately well-lit mist or smoke between camera and subject, well of out
    focus, can produce neat effects, but again for a longer exposure, and don't
    get the light too bright.

    Have fun, and show us the results, ;-)

    - Al.
    Al Denelsbeck, Feb 6, 2004
  8. ravenhil

    Nikkorguy Guest

    You're right. I need to not read these when I'm tired.

    Nikkorguy, Feb 6, 2004
  9. In general, photography units are confusing....Speeds are in the denominator
    of the fraction, so "less" is "more". And, the larger the f-stop number, the
    smaller the opening in the diaphragm, so that is, "backwards" too. And, just
    when you think you've got it all together, the larger the ISO number of the
    film, the faster it is, so that one is pretty normal..........
    William Graham, Feb 7, 2004
  10. ravenhil

    KBob Guest

    This is all very easy with digital postprocessing. Simply create a
    new layer and apply the desired blur to it, then blend it with the
    original sharp layer to any desired degree.
    KBob, Feb 7, 2004
  11. ravenhil

    Bob Hickey Guest

    In a darkroom, print for about 50% longer. Then print half of the time while
    moving a trnsparent piece of plastic under the lens. A Baggie works well. W/
    digital, there's prolly a $1,000 program to replace the Baggie. Bob Hickey
    Bob Hickey, Feb 8, 2004
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