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Nylons behind lens for soft focus
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:30 pm    Post subject: Nylons behind lens for soft focus Reply with quote

I made some tests using nylons behind the lens. Here are the details and I am glad to provide the full test image folder to anyone interested (3 scenes x 3 apertures x focus close/focus far x with/without nylons). Here are the findings:

Helios 44 lens sets wide open, mid and stopped down, focusing on close subject and then a far subject.
1 set of each photos with Hanes absoultely ultra sheer style 707 "Barely There" stretched across back of lens while threading on (M42) adapter and one set without the nylons.


1. Aperture makes no difference, nylons are too far out of focus range.
2. color cast is present.
3. stretch quality doesn't matter much, brickwall samples did not have an even stretch- there was some slack and bunching of fabric, barely noticeable.

Sorry, cannot get sample image to upload.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to do wedding photos with a square of black silk stocking stretched over a Cokin holder. 10 deneer was fine enough. I made a second one with a small clear hole in the centre. They really did the trick.

I had to compensate the exposure for the darker stocking when I was completely manual but auto made it simple enough.

Old movies had nylon or silk stocking stretched over the lens when it showed the leading lady. Indeed on the tv series 'Murder She Wrote' all close ups of Angela Lansbury are taken through a nylon stocking.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there any advantage having the nylons behind the lens rather than the normal position in front of it?

PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldnt know if there were any advantage.

Having something like this behind the lens is a little dangerous I think. First it would be tricky to get it to mount there and then there's the danger it may fall off bringing whatever is holding it on off with it and loose inside your DSLR or against the sensor in your mirrorless..

But its worth a try.

AF won't work properly and manual focusing can be difficult. One reason why my filters were on a Cokin holder was that I could focus first and slide it into position for the shot. Of course with weddings and portraits you have a little luxury of time.

I have oft tried to replicate the effect in Photoshop but with no luck. I have discovered different ways of creating soft focus in PS sucessfully but the effect, as I said, is not the same.

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the seventies David Hamilton shot his famous series of "nymphs" using a neutral filter greased with white vaseline.

Also in this case the layer of grease may vary but often the center is not touched to let the center of the image sharp.

With pantyhose fabric it is better to use neutral colors.