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Thread: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

  1. #1
    sbougon's Avatar
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    Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Is there a difference between Colour Flash Filters vs. Colour Gels?

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    krispix's Avatar
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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Not really. It's normal to use gels on flash (or any other lights for that matter) and they are often referred to as Flash Filters. Don't, however, be tempted to used them on the camera unless you're prepared for some pretty awful results

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    sbougon's Avatar
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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Quote Originally Posted by krispix View Post
    Not really. It's normal to use gels on flash (or any other lights for that matter) and they are often referred to as Flash Filters. Don't, however, be tempted to used them on the camera unless you're prepared for some pretty awful results
    So the filters should add Colour accents the same as an advertised gel?

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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Hi Steve,
    It's not strictly correct to say that a filter will 'add' colour because technically it filters out all the other frequencies except its own. But the visual effect is the same and any filter will do the same job on a flash, whether it's glass, plastic or gel. Because we're not concerned with optical issues when filtering the output from a flash we tend to use gels because they're cheap and it really doesn't matter if they get creased, scratched and even torn.
    I'm not sure what you mean by 'advertised gel'. Are you considering buying these on line and comparing descriptions? In which case you only need to worry about how much use they're going to get and how much abuse they are going to have to stand. If the answer to both of these is; "very little", then get the cheapest you can find - they'll work just fine.

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    sbougon's Avatar
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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Quote Originally Posted by krispix View Post
    Hi Steve,
    It's not strictly correct to say that a filter will 'add' colour because technically it filters out all the other frequencies except its own. But the visual effect is the same and any filter will do the same job on a flash, whether it's glass, plastic or gel. Because we're not concerned with optical issues when filtering the output from a flash we tend to use gels because they're cheap and it really doesn't matter if they get creased, scratched and even torn.
    I'm not sure what you mean by 'advertised gel'. Are you considering buying these on line and comparing descriptions? In which case you only need to worry about how much use they're going to get and how much abuse they are going to have to stand. If the answer to both of these is; "very little", then get the cheapest you can find - they'll work just fine.
    I was going to try a little color creativity with multiple flashes, and was not sure if the Nikon filter set was the same as filters advertised as gels. A matter of semantics I guess.

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    krispix's Avatar
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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Quote Originally Posted by sbougon View Post
    I was going to try a little color creativity with multiple flashes, and was not sure if the Nikon filter set was the same as filters advertised as gels. A matter of semantics I guess.
    Yup. These are gels (by any other name).

    I think I know what you're thinking, but I'm not convinced these are going to give you the results you want. OK, you have a Red and a Blue, but no Green (well there's a dirty-looking Green) and the others are colour-correcting filters.
    If you use Red, Blue & Green on multiple flash units you will get 'correct' colour only where your subject is illuminated by all three units, but elsewhere will get a single colour or a combination of two colours. The effect could be quite good.
    Another method would be to set up the camera on a tripod and fire the flash 3 times, alternating the gels each time, then anything that moves will be Red, Blue or Green while the background and anything static will be 'correct'. That can be fun.
    I think you should be able to get 3 gels for a lot less than the $22 they want for this set. I know they won't be 'made to fit', but you can fix them on with tape, or just hold them in front.
    Enjoy.

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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Hey, guys

    I generally avoid flash photography whenever I can, so forgive this probably naiive question: if we are shooting RAW, does the gel do anything that we couldnt also accomplish in PP?

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    th
    Quote Originally Posted by kdoc856 View Post
    Hey, guys

    I generally avoid flash photography whenever I can, so forgive this probably naiive question: if we are shooting RAW, does the gel do anything that we couldnt also accomplish in PP?
    There are lots of things using gels will do that are difficult or impossible in PP. The obvious example is matching the colour temperature of your flash to the ambient (artificial) light. Without the gels you are into a mixed light situation, with the gels, the colour temperature of your light sources will be the same. If you are put a bit of mood lighting into the shot, yes, you can emulate it in PP, but I guess I prefer doing it the old fashioned way. I find it looks more natural that way.

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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Thanks, Manfred. That makes perfect sense. Mixed-color light sources are maddening to correct.

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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Quote Originally Posted by kdoc856 View Post
    Hey, guys

    I generally avoid flash photography whenever I can, so forgive this probably naiive question: if we are shooting RAW, does the gel do anything that we couldnt also accomplish in PP?
    As Manfred mentioned, they're practically mandatory for balancing the colour temperature of the flash to the ambient -- you can also use them for creative effect; the overall temperature of this image I created is warm, but I wanted a "cold/slightly creepy" look for my daughter behind the wheel, so I added a CTB gel to a flash that was placed on the steering column ...

    Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    I touched on gels a little in my school of portraiture series, so you might find this lesson of some benefit.

  11. #11
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Thank you very much, Colin. I will certainly have a read. Just another example of my well of ignorance being deeper than I imagined

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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Quote Originally Posted by kdoc856 View Post
    Thank you very much, Colin. I will certainly have a read. Just another example of my well of ignorance being deeper than I imagined
    Hi Kevin,

    I wouldn't put it quite like that!

    None-the-less though, I think it's true to say that the more people learn about photography, the more they discover just how much there is to learn.

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    Re: Colour Flash Filters vs. Color Gels

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Kevin,

    I wouldn't put it quite like that!

    None-the-less though, I think it's true to say that the more people learn about photography, the more they discover just how much there is to learn.
    Hear hear, Colin. Photography is a journey, not a destination.

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