Hands-on review | Black mist filter 1/4 (Tiffen) with comparisons

August 2, 2021| Hands-on|3 Minutes|By Mike Tesselaar

Always wondered what a black mist filter could do for you? I’ve tested the Tiffen 1/4 pro-mist filter in several different conditions and summed up my test results below.

Brief

Black mist filters are well-known in the filming industry and are occurring more and more in photographers kits these days. The filters create the following effects:

  • Reduces highlights
  • Lowers contrast
  • Creates a soft light
  • Slight Pastel effect
  • Reduces imperfections

In the test, I’ve taken photos of day, night, colors, blacks and other light conditions to check the befores and afters. Also, I tried to create the same effect in Lightroom/Photoshop to see if the filter can be easily replaced. Check the results below.

Product in review:

Test results

Slide the sliders below to check the without filter (left) and with filter (right).

Nightscene

Colors

Bright sunlight

Artificial light

Backlighting

Editing black mist effect

I asked myself: is it possible to achieve the same effect in Lightroom/Photoshop? And is the black mist effect still relevant when you apply extensive editing? Check out the results below.

Black mist effect (no edit) – vs – edited version without filter

Editing wise, you’ll get close to the black mist effect. Though, the soft light that is created by the filter is hard to master without retouching the entire photo.

Recovering highlights with filter vs without filter

Adjusted the highlights -100 and contrast +28 on both pictures. The result of the filter can be clearly seen here. Both the background and shadows are better preserved.

Conclusion

So when do you use a black mist filter? I noticed the following:

  1. Flatten image by reducing highlights and lowering contrast
  2. Colors turn less vibrant
  3. Highlights and shadows are better preserved
  4. The filter creates a unique soft light

In conclusion, this filter is ideal when used during harsh sunlight (daylight) to capture as much detail as possible. The highlights and shadows are preserved and skin tones are softened. In post-editing, highlights and contrast can be brought back to your own liking.

In other situations, I personally wouldn’t recommend using this filter. Unless if it is a style you would like to go for. Just remember, something that was never there won’t come back in post-editing. Use a filter like this when you know the light conditions. Good luck!

 

Cheers, Mike