February 22, 2017 at 12:25PM


My lenses to sharp - filters?

I'm using the Sigma 13-35 and 50-100 alot for everydaywork on my Alexa Mini, but I find them to sharp and clean.

Any recommendations for filters so i can soft them up, maybe bloom some highligts, get more flares etc? Anything that can give the footage more charakter.

Must be screw-on filters or 72 and 82mm, I dont use mattebox


While I'm not quite sure why everybody wants super-high quality cameras but bad lenses the last few years, therein lies your answer. Old consumer-grade lenses (like 1960s) are generally uncoated glass, which will have more flare/glare. Of course, you need some sources of bright light to directly hit the lens, which was a "no no" until this flare fad started.

February 23, 2017 at 7:44AM


Didn't the flare fad start with Laszlo Kovacs in "Easy Rider?"

Joseph Slomka

February 23, 2017 at 5:52PM

It sounds like general diffusion is what you are looking for. It can take the edge off a super sharp lens while still leaving a good amount of details.

The Black Pro-Mist is a popular one. Depending on the need 1/8-1/4 can be plenty.

A quick search shows a test posted to youtube For Pro-Mist

Link to b&h here

February 23, 2017 at 5:50PM


Mr. Slomka, that was an exception (which there always have been), not the rule. Now I LITERALLY see photographers on the street talk about how they love using crappy lenses and shooting into light. I guess it's like how when people were recording music on analogue equipment, they strived to achieve the cleanest signal possible as a general rule and then when everybody went digital, they started making the audio far dirtier than ever. You know, for that "classic warm sound". :D

February 24, 2017 at 7:16AM, Edited February 24, 7:25AM


In a broader sense, it was the exception that set the rule. Cinematography has an ebb and flow in styles.

Before Toland made lens coating for 'Citizen Kane' everything has flare. After that it was pretty accepted to shoot sharp and flare free as possible. "Easy Rider" made it acceptable and popular to have in camera flare again. It will eventually swing back towards sharp and high contrast . Experimentation helps breed creativity.

Analog flares can be quite hard to reproduce digitally and if that is part of the intended look then that is great. I can't imagine trying to add the lens flares back in "Hateful Eight" in a digital fashion.

Your advice seemed quite aggressive for such a normal question. It doesn't seem like poor choices are being made on the lens front.There is quite a difference between a DP asking for some assistance in making lenses less sharp, and needing a piece of 60's glass. The lenses mentioned in the post are pretty sharp on their own and good quality. A little bit of diffusion goes a long way from making something look clinical to natural.

February 24, 2017 at 3:32PM


Black Promist or Hollywood Black Magic filters. I would recommend getting a clip on single stage mattebox, it'll make your life easier. Wooden Camera makes a silicon one for pretty cheap.

February 24, 2017 at 7:32PM

John Gardiner

I would use google filters, try typing in tiffen to that filter then you can learn all the characteristics of different diffusion. You have a mini man do some homework.

February 25, 2017 at 4:34PM, Edited February 25, 4:33PM

Indie Guy

personally I would blur in post with your nle, that way it can be as sharp or blurred as you like. Sure you can use filters, but then you are locked into that image.

February 25, 2017 at 5:57PM


thats usually what DPs want

Indie Guy

February 26, 2017 at 6:34PM, Edited February 26, 6:34PM

It depends on how much time you have in post. If you can dial in what you need in camera it is usually best.

It leaves the DP more in control of the look as different post houses will have different digital filters available. So if you liked a specific filter look, you may be out of luck or need to pay extra.

It also leaves more time in the DI for other work. Everything gotten right in camera gives you more time to focus on what wasn't right in camera.

Digital filters can be excellent, there are just some trade off's.

Joseph Slomka

February 27, 2017 at 5:16PM

This is good info: https://tiffen.com/diffusion/

I'm a fan of Tiffen Black Satin. Reducing sharpness is best done in post, but natural looking flares and halation are easier to pull off with a filter.

February 25, 2017 at 6:35PM

Casey Preston

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