Diffusion Filter Comparison – Photography Tutorial

– Check out the end of the video our
international give away ’til July 31st. ♪ [music] ♪ Today, on the Slanted Lens,
I want to take a look at Camera Diffusion. I shot through the late 80s and
90s and you could not shoot with enough diffusion
on the camera. It was impossible to add diffusion later
and had to be done in camera. You had to make a decision and when you made
that decision you had to live with it. Today we live in an era of sharpness.
Well, we’ve hit the point, where it’s so sharp that it’s difficult
for retouches to get a really nice image because they’ve gotta take all that
sharpness out and clean up the skin and things in the image. The trend
now, I think, is shifting towards a little softer image in camera that later, you
don’t have to do so much work on. I started looking around at N.A.B. to see
what kind of diffusion was out there. Tiffen, that used to have
this 4-inch glass filters in black satin, satin pearl, has now offered
a 52 to 82 millimeter screw-in filters, ideal for DSLR users because you can just
screw these on at the end of your lens. Tiffen is not our sponsor.
I just think this is a great product. This has been offered on the market.
I asked them if we could review it. They sent me the filters so I can review
them. I just think it’s a product you ought to look into. Let’s take a look at
some of the diffusion basics. One, diffusion basically blooms
the highlights or lets the highlights, kind of bleed into the shadow areas.
That’s how you can tell if something is diffused, as you look at that kind of
diffusion, as it moves from the highlights into the shadows. It’s also on a long
millimeter lens, like a 200 mm. You need more diffusion on that to make
it look the same as on a 24 millimeter. It doesn’t need near as much diffusion to
look as diffused. So longer lenses need more to look as heavy as a wider
angled lens. So, that’s two. Number three is that you lose a little bit
of contrast. You’ll see it start to blur into the face. So, let’s take a look at
these three different sets of filters. First, let’s look at how we lit our set
and then we’ll get started from there. ♪ [music] ♪ I setup a black and white set
to show the difference in each filter. I wanna have black areas that
the whites can bleed into. So, this black and white set
is gonna emphasize a comparison and gonna make it a lot
easier for us to see. I also took the filters outside
and used them in natural light situation that was only lit with
a single reflector. This is more of a real life comparison.
We’re gonna take a look at how they react in that scenario as well. Here’s the line
diagram for our first setup. I’m gonna use a beauty dish. It’s a deep
dish Mola beauty dish. It’s painted white inside. We had two large Photoflex
Softboxes acting as rim lights. These two softboxes were placed just
behind the set, so the set wall itself is gonna act as the flag, keeping the light
off from the front of the wall. We used two medium softboxes
aimed at the white squares; one high and one low. Those were acting
just as a background light. This is our first image
with absolutely no diffusion. Tiffen make satin filters
and black satin filters. So, let’s start off first
with our black satins. They produce a grainier, warmer feeling.
This gives a really nice smooth look to the skin. It’s gonna smooth out
blemishes and wrinkles. This gives just a little more
of a soft look to texture surfaces but it’s gonna add a mild glow to the
highlights. So, here’s the Black Satin 1. Here’s the Black Satin 2. Here’s the Black Satin 3. All the qualities that I talked about
become a little more noticeable as we increase the intensity.
Now, let’s go to the satin filters. They’re gonna produce a cleaner
and muted kind of diffusion. They also give a nice smooth look
at the skin that’s why we’re gonna use them.
So, let’s take a look at the Satin 1. Here’s the Satin 2. Here’s the Satin 3. Now, let’s take a look
at Tiffen’s pearlescent filters. These bloom more on the highlights
than the other filters. Tiffen calls this a halo glow.
They’re going to reduce the sharpness and contrast while really
maintaining the focus. They’re great to mute colors
if you want more of a pastel look especially when you get
to the Pearlescent 2. It just gives a very nice glow
to the image. Here’s the Pearlescent 1/2. Here’s the Pearlescent 1 or the Pearl 1. Here’s the Pearl 2. That Pearl 2 really blooms across the
image. You kind of see a reduction in the contrast. You kind of see that nice white
look to the image as all those highlights bloom. I love the look at the Pearl
1/2. It softens the face. It gives a little bloom to the highlights
but it’s very subtle. That’s actually my favorite. Let’s take a look at how each of these
filters affect the face outside in natural light. This scene is lit with just a
Photoflex silver gold reflector. I picked a nice dark foliage background
and shot at 170 millimeters just like I did in the inside. You know,
longer lenses need more diffusion to show. A wide angle lens can need
much less diffusion to look the same as the long lens. So you may use 1/2 pearl
on a wide angle lens but go to a 1 with a longer lens. Here’s our image alone
with absolutely no filtration. Now, here’s the Pearl 1/2. Here’s the Pearl 1. Here’s the Pearl 2. So, again, the Pearl series is stronger
and gives a softer white glow over the image. I still love that Pearl
1/2. It’s a great look and gives us a little bit of bloom to the highlights
but just so subtle. Here’s the Satin 1 outside
in that comparison. Here’s the Satin 2 outside
in that comparison. And, here’s our Satin 3. It’s a very nice look with this long lens
and smooths out a lot of those freckles on her face. Just a nice look. Now
let’s take a look at that black satin. Remember. it’s gonna be a little warmer;
a little more grainy. But, let’s take a look
at the Black Satin 1. Here’s the look at the
Black Satin 2. And, here’s our Black Satin 3. The black satins are a little more gritty,
a little more grainy, but, you know, that’s pretty hard to see. Each of this filter is useful
for different situations. You know, for me, when I’ve got a scene
in front of me, I’ll pull the filters out and just start looking
to each one of them. Taking the frame and seeing
which one I like the most. Sometimes, the color’s
going to affect them. Sometimes it’s the contrast
that’s going to affect them. So you use them for different reasons.
You can stack them, sometimes, if you wanna get really fun
and crazy with them. If I’m a shooter who’s shooting
a lot of senior portraits and things like that, I would use
a really light diffusion on my camera and that would take off the edge
of blemishes. A little bit of the issues I’m trying to retouch and work on later
would really help my work flow in the end. From a creative
standpoint, you use them to create a look; to give it a vintage look, to give it
a surreal look, to give it a dreamy look. Whatever you choose, look at the diffusion
material and you can make a decision on what works
best for you. So, get out there, experiment
with some of the diffusion and keep those cameras rolling,
Keep on clicking. ♪ [music] ♪ – Here’s our international giveaway,
a light blaster and a Nero trigger. International giveaway ’til July 31st.
Go to TheSlantedLens.com


  1. Simon Anderson July 7, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    great video

  2. Lex Arias July 8, 2014 at 12:39 am

    Very nice…

  3. Chrystian Danucalov July 8, 2014 at 1:43 am

    this is really cool

  4. Guillermo J. Park July 8, 2014 at 3:06 am

    Nice, the black satin doesn't affects the overall "blacks", the perlscent looks more retro tho

  5. Stu FromOz July 8, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Good info, thanks for sharing

  6. Dave Dugdale July 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks for sharing all those diffusion tests, that was very helpful. I might have to try some for video.

  7. Mr. Tommy Badger July 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    If you want to dip your toe into the fun of diffusion, try stretching a piece of black nylon or silk stocking over the lens and holding it in place with a rubber band. You can also lightly spray an old UV filter with black or white spray paint, but it has to be a really light dusting….

  8. Antonio Tony July 10, 2014 at 4:17 am


  9. Alf Nielsen July 15, 2014 at 4:04 am

    Great video JP, you don't get enough acknowledgment for all the great tests and reviews you do. keep the camera rolling, keep on reviewing. 🙂

  10. Robo Lee July 22, 2014 at 2:03 am

    I try to search for 77mm Tiffen Pearlescent 1/2 but got return with 77mm Tiffen Pro-Mist 1/2. Any idea where to get it?

  11. Randall Gyebi December 4, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    What lens did you use for the portraits?

  12. Shawn Yeo March 14, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    hey mr. morgan, if i was using a canon 17-55 F2.8 on a crop sensor which black satin would you choose? 1, 2 or 3?

  13. Roopol Studio June 24, 2015 at 4:48 am

    what kind of tripod are you using ? and how much does it cost to get one of those ?

  14. fotoinajuicebox July 14, 2015 at 1:48 am

    What filters were you using in the older shots?

  15. Joe's Photography & Technology Channel September 1, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Save your money and just let your kids play with your lens for a few minutes.. LOL I actually can't stand those filters. If I need something softened up I highly prefer to do it in Lightroom that way I can soften what I want and keep things sharp that I want sharp. But thats just me..

  16. Kporser Lorpper November 3, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Mamma Mia the best filter tutorial have seen till now…..thanks . Will like to ask in your opinion do they work on video mode on a canon 70d and which one will be best for beauty tutorial ( color are very important in make up tutorial ) , need some filter to softening the skin….sorry for bad English …Msg from Italy .

  17. Kporser Lorpper November 3, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Where can I find this filter?

  18. Sissi Over40 April 6, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Very well done video but: The model was flawless -so the differences were really hard to tell. You should've taken a women in her 40s or 50s to really show the difference a filter can make.

  19. blackjohnny0 September 1, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    If you want that, just buy some old glass, which may be cheaper that these filters.

  20. Shane C September 11, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Is there a preference for outdoor vs indoor?

  21. ad October 7, 2016 at 7:13 am

    i think it be better to get a soft focus lens

  22. hypnosiscenter nyc January 10, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Smart … I thought I was the only one who continued to use these from my film days.

  23. Mao Ramirez May 16, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Is the Black Satin 1 almost the same as the Black Pro Mist 1/4? Or what's the difference between the two? Thanks.

  24. eladbari May 18, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    The difference is so subtle…its HARD to decide which one is the best choice for a subtle effect [which will step away from the uber-digital look]… :

  25. Dennis Schmitz July 30, 2017 at 8:44 am

    OMG, finally found the right filter for me, thanks to this video. The Black Satin isn't available anymore, but the Pearlescent looks even better!
    Thanks a lot!

  26. André Borges January 26, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    One of the most photogenic people I've ever laid eyes on.

  27. F.G. Kaye February 18, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Also don't forget, the smaaler the format, the less diffusion & the larger format,

    the larger diffusion required.

  28. SAJAN AGARWAL July 28, 2018 at 11:43 am


  29. Petit White December 27, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    I still cant decide which one for photography. It seems like they are all the same.

  30. Nelson Foo January 5, 2019 at 6:56 am

    Thanks for this comparison video!

  31. RidingRonin February 27, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Thank you for sharing this demo video!

    Can someone please help me understand why we need diffusion filters — when we can always "soften" the image in post? Thank you.

    ~An enthusiast~

  32. DIYHT September 17, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Too much irrelevant footage not enough direct comparisons of filters

  33. Tipa 85 October 2, 2019 at 11:37 am


    I am absolutely in the mood for photography. But I'm a makeup artist and I want to take photos of my makeup as professionally as possible. Could you give me some tips?
    I would like to be able to take photos like those: https://www.instagram.com/arabicsalonorient/

    My Camera: Canon EOS 750D, lens EFS 18-55mm (no filter yet, don't know whitch one)
    I always take pictures with the automatic. Could you recommend a few settings for me to shoot manually?

    –> I bought a ring light: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01LWPQAC3/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    –> 2 x 50x70cm Photo Studio Softboxes 5500K Daylight 2x135W: https: //www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KDW66JE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00? Ie = UTF8 & psc = 1

    –>and a greenscreen background.

    I would be very happy about an answer

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