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Spiratone and Spiratone Colorflow™ Polarizing Filters


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Maybe irrelevant, but I have an aftermarket contrast filter. Running the gamut from light yellow to a medium red. Advertised as a dial-in the contrast you want. I've noted though with W/A lenses this filter causes a serious vignetting . It may be related to either both the contrast and/or the f-stop as I can'T remember how open I was shooting. But I do really like the convenience of it!
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  • 6 months later...

More Spiratone filter fun ....

They also marketed a set of 3 'Vibracolor' filters:

Aqua Blue ( Light Bluish/Cyan), Rose Red (a rebranded Wratten #32 Magenta) and Purple (a weird Birefringent Red+Blue).




As well as their Contrast Blue which was a rebranded Wratten #47 Blue filter.



Matt B
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  • 6 months later...

To add to JDMvW's extensive research on Spiratone's ColorFlow System - the instructions for Colorflow II :




The original Colorflow series of filters were fabricated as a compound unit consisting of a polariser and a dichroic polarising element.

Colorflow II separated the components into a stand alone polariser and individual dichroic filters.

I purchased several through mail order - shipped to Sydney, Australia - in the late 70s.

Matt B
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  • 7 months later...
<p>In the form I'm presenting here, the Colorflow II filter was mounted to a Spiratone Custom Polarizer to get the effect. Some later versions had the neutral polarizer built into a single unit. These are all, of course, linear polarizers. This makes them a little problematical on modern autofocus, autoexposure cameras where circular polarizers are strongly recommended. They work fine, of course, on our beloved old classic manual cameras, and that is one reason I'm posting this here. I will return later to an indication of how they can also be used on more modern cameras as well.<br /><br /><strong>So how well do they work?</strong><br>

<br />Better than you would ever dream. I've used these for years, and never seen any serious optical degradation from them, and they can produce very interesting results. (snip)


Somehow in another thread the question of linear polarizers and modern cameras appeared, and I wrote in that one.


It seems that I already wrote here, but that was years ago.


First, I remember Spiratone back to about 1968, when I had a subscription to Pop. Photo when I was about 10,

though I couldn't afford the things in the ad. My dad did buy an FL mount 28mm lens, though.


I think I wouldn't worry about the effect of linear polarization.


First, it might effect metering, but the instructions indicate that you might have to adjust the metering anyway.


It might affect auto-focus, which you hopefully notice.


Third, it affects the low-pass spatial filter, especially with Moire sensitive subjects. That might even give

you extra color, but then that is why you want the filter! For most subjects, you won't have any Moire

effects, anyway.

-- glen

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Third, it affects the low-pass spatial filter, especially with Moire sensitive subjects.

That's pure speculation.

I don't think that effect has ever been documented or demonstrated, and certainly not flagged as a problem likely to be encountered in real world shooting conditions.


What was mooted in the other thread was the possibility that the 1/4 wave retarder in a circular polariser might counteract the bi-refringent element of certain low pass AA filters in digital sensors. AFAIK, that effect, as mentioned above, hasn't been shown to be a practical issue, and in any case is unrelated to the use of a plain linear polariser.

Edited by rodeo_joe|1
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More on the Spiratone Vibracolor filters ...... The Vibracolor 'Purple' appears to be a Wratten #36 - ('D' under the original identification system).

Does anyone have information as to what the #36 ( listed as 'Deep Magenta' in early Wratten filter info) was used for?

The Wratten handbook says 'Contrast Filter, Absorbs all green, much red and less blue. Photomicrography'

It's a part of their large laboratory set (50 filters) but doesn't make it to the small lab set (24 filters).


The transmission spectra doesn't show anything between 460nm & 660nm.


It might be interesting to play with on a full spectrum converted camera, as it looks like it might be like a 680nm filter with added purple & UV, but I doubt there are any cheap example around for me to play with :-(


All the varicolour filters I have (I'm missing the blue & purple) transmit NIR, but haven't looked very good when I've tried them on full spectrum. Perhaps I'll have another play with my newer FS camera...

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This one:


birefringent low pass filter - Google Search


has some explanation of birefringent low-pass filters. One separates it on one axis.


Since the ordinary and extraordinary rays are, individually, polarized, before separating them

on the next axis, there is a wave plate, then the IR block filter, and finally the second

birefringent plate.


If the incoming light is polarized on one of the axes of the first plate, that separation won't occur.

It does seem to me that you have to be especially unlucky for this to cause problems.

First, the linear polarizer must be close to the axis of the first birefringent plate.

Second, the source must have a lot of high spatial frequency along the same axis.


Otherwise, the D1 manual says:


"The D1 cannot be used with Polar polarizing filters."


(without saying what might happen) and:


"When shooting with a filter attached, moire may occur ... "


this one isn't especially obvious.

-- glen

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