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Author Topic: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?  (Read 16327 times)

nightfire

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DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« on: December 30, 2011, 12:16:36 pm »

I read somewhere that a soft focus filter could be created by applying a pattern of small droplets of clear nail polish to a standard UV/Skylight filter.

However, nothing was said about the optimum number and size of the droplets, and I didn't find any examples of the resulting look either.

I therefore wonder if anyone here has tried this technique and could provide some more information before I start messing around ::)
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EricWHiss

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 01:46:33 pm »

That's interesting - I've seen some older softar filters with these and they are about 2-3mm in diameter with about the same spacing as their diameter.   I've also heard of people smearing vaseline on the filters and using nylon stockings stretched in between the filter and the lens too.   Actually - here's an image of a softar I just found on google  http://www.flickr.com/photos/59894815@N03/5515920104/
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nightfire

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2011, 01:59:25 pm »

Terrific - thanks for the link. That's the blueprint I was hoping for.

I already tried vaseline once and didn't really like the look. The stockings, on the other hand, produced an interesting warm-toned, vintage, low-contrast effect with lots of flare (when shooting into the light) - reminiscent of the Instamatic app for the iPhone - but very different from the Softar examples I've seen. I guess I'll go check out my boxes for some unused UV filter then ;)
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mediumcool

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2011, 07:50:16 pm »

Hoya made a copy of the Softar—I had one years ago. It worked well enough, but was constructed from very soft plastic.

Looks like they still do.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2012, 10:50:03 pm »

I made these years ago but used 2.25 glass slide mounts.  I spaced the dots evenly, made 3 or 4 of them with larger dots and smaller dots.  The effect can be quite varied.  I pretty much do soft focus in post now, but I think these are still sitting around in the closet.

I would recommend you get some small cheap glass squares about 3x3 inches,  and experiment until you get the look you like, then duplicate that on the clear/UV filter.
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Ray Cox

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2012, 11:44:21 pm »

Wow, does that bring back memories. Had to clear out a few cob webs and remember a name. I attended a photo seminar with Ande Cabuche in Peoria Il way back in 1992. Seems that the topic of discussion was portrait diffusion techniques. He was making his own filters and this was on of his techniques.  I even made one and used it briefly..  After a little searching I found he has a web site..   http://www.andrecabuche.com    I am sure he would remember this technique, and probably surprised that I remember it!

Ray         
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mediumcool

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 12:10:01 am »

However, nothing was said about the optimum number and size of the droplets, and I didn't find any examples of the resulting look either.

Effects are very much also dependent on the focal length and aperture of the lens, and probably dependent on the filter’s distance from the front element/nodal point etc.

I’ve just sold my soft focus lens, which I am starting to regret, so a dedicated lens is possibly an option for you as well; Lensbaby et al.
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Rob C

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2012, 04:48:59 pm »

Damned progress! I used to have a Softar 2 for the 'blad and I bought a conversion ring for use with it on the Nikon. Then, when I sold the 'blad stuff (one of my major mistakes in life) the Softar, I realised, had gone with it.

I've a shot here fom the website that I think I can find within the next few minutes, of a girl sitting in a park in Singapore for a Tennent's Calendar. It was with the Softar (on Nikon), but the problem with it, scanned to use with the Internet and slightly sharpened, is that the halo look vanishes a little... about the only place it shows is on her right leg (left in pic) at the part where the dress is. For anyone not familiar with the effect - you see it as a white(ish) parallel shape on backlit stuff, mostly alongside the highlights. Oh, I've also got another one, from the 'blad with a 150mm Sonnar, of Nina Carter, probably London's top glam girl of the era and, later, an ex-Mrs Rick Wakeman. For this job, she played a demure jewellery calendar model.

Ah, those wonderful creatures of living legend!

Rob C
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 04:52:00 pm by Rob C »
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mediumcool

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2012, 06:11:54 pm »

Damned progress! I used to have a Softar 2 for the 'blad and I bought a conversion ring for use with it on the Nikon. Then, when I sold the 'blad stuff (one of my major mistakes in life) the Softar, I realised, had gone with it.

Oh, I've also got another one, from the 'blad with a 150mm Sonnar, of Nina Carter, probably London's top glam girl of the era and, later, an ex-Mrs Rick Wakeman. For this job, she played a demure jewellery calendar model.

Ah, those wonderful creatures of living legend!

Rob C

Nina Carter! Had plenty of prehistoric [and slightly damp] daydreams over her, Jilly, and all the other P3s. I could put up with the hearing aids;D
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Rob C

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 03:43:03 am »

Nina Carter! Had plenty of prehistoric [and slightly damp] daydreams over her, Jilly, and all the other P3s. I could put up with the hearing aids;D




Thanks for the lnk - Vogue model, it claims? I can't imagine it. I had her as a customer for the Clydesdale bank, all dolled up in a mix of her own and my wife's stuff, along with some pearls I used to keep - still have them, in fact - as props. Then there was that jewellery calendar I did, from which the posted image.

The press can be bastards. A model is supposed to be an anonymopus person, used in an ad simply to illustrate an idea or a style of person. In the case of the Clydesdale Bank, somebody in the Daily Record, a Glaswegian print organ for the illiterate, realised who she was and ceated this article and subsequent fuss about a bank using a glam girl for its advertising. Never mind the fact that she looked (in the pic) like a duchess or, at the very least, a very comfortably off lady-who-lunches. The article caused instant stress at the bank and ad agency, despite both knowing perfectly well, and having approved, the selection of face. As I said about some of the press worthies: they can be trouble-making bastards.

No, no wet deeams, I'm afraid, just hard work. Sorry.

;-(

Rob C

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 12:08:18 pm »

... a park in Singapore ...

Another place on this planet where you and I happened to be shooting, Rob! With Hasselbads, none the less.

Btw, I still have a Zeiss Softar, if anyone is interested.

Rob C

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2012, 01:07:47 pm »

Another place on this planet where you and I happened to be shooting, Rob! With Hasselbads, none the less.

Btw, I still have a Zeiss Softar, if anyone is interested.


I think you're following me from the front! This was 1984?

Unfortunately, in this case, the Singapore shot was on Nikon F2 or F (carried both and interchanged alternative films for security! An FM2 was also along for the ride, but only for when flash was needed, which was very seldom with my modus operandi). The 'blad was usually a studio machine...

I did take one to Malta, once, where it jammed, and the reception at the hotel directed me to a Mr Zamit, a watchmaker in Valletta, who looked at it and then gently peeled back part of the skin, paused, looked me in the eye, and remarked that I looked nervous. He fixed it by exchanging a broken plastic circlip with a new metal one that he made up from some spring wire. Victor should have set up production in Malta. Skilled men seem to be disappearing.

Rob C

Ellis Vener

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2012, 03:39:24 pm »

As I recall , one technique was to brush clear nail polish across a filter and then immediately plunge it into ice water. I never tried it however.
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Rob C

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2012, 04:29:07 pm »

As I recall , one technique was to brush clear nail polish across a filter and then immediately plunge it into ice water. I never tried it however.



Even more useful, and I swore by it, was to apply clear nail varnish to one's nails. That way, one could process an untold number of wet prints without the dreaded brown nail syndrome striking. Perhaps only those who lived in the dark would be aware of the phenomenon. It looked just like nicotine staining, which I suppose, lends it a certain topicality here just now... bromine, I presumed.

Rob C (Reformed smoker and printer.)

mediumcool

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2012, 06:13:40 pm »

Even more useful, and I swore by it, was to apply clear nail varnish to one's nails. That way, one could process an untold number of wet prints without the dreaded brown nail syndrome striking. Perhaps only those who lived in the dark would be aware of the phenomenon. It looked just like nicotine staining, which I suppose, lends it a certain topicality here just now... bromine, I presumed.

Rob C (Reformed smoker and printer.)

Hah!

Whilst only a smoker for one day—late ’50s in the small South Australian country town of Booborowie (sounds like a place where page three girls might come from)—I did over many years hand-develop photographic paper, including colour processes such as Ciba and R3. My fingernails looked like my smoking father’s, a dark yellowish-brown. Lady friend had a vibrator thingy with a nail file attachment; she ground down my nails to get rid of the sepia effect, but they looked whiteish and were very thin, and soft. Sue duly applied clear lacquer which restored translucency, rigidity and a lovely shine which felt good;D

Only did it the once; perhaps I peaked too early as a metrosexual.
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Rob C

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Re: DIY Soft Focus Filter with Nail Polish?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2012, 04:37:53 pm »

Hah!

Whilst only a smoker for one day—late ’50s in the small South Australian country town of Booborowie (sounds like a place where page three girls might come from)—I did over many years hand-develop photographic paper, including colour processes such as Ciba and R3. My fingernails looked like my smoking father’s, a dark yellowish-brown. Lady friend had a vibrator thingy with a nail file attachment; she ground down my nails to get rid of the sepia effect, but they looked whiteish and were very thin, and soft. Sue duly applied clear lacquer which restored translucency, rigidity and a lovely shine which felt good;D

Only did it the once; perhaps I peaked too early as a metrosexual.


By Gad, sir! You must have led mechanically/electrically exciting lives in deepest Boobytown!

Tell us more, much more! This is LuLa and you can.

Rob C

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