The Prism FX Rose Filter is a unique lens filter that the younger me would’ve scoffed at. How little did I know the Japanese camera industry would absolutely gut the charm in lenses. Back then, around 2009, lenses were gearing up to be even more clinically clean. And today, over a decade later, that mission is still in full effect. Manufacturers show us MTF charts we care nothing for, and you’re encouraged to edit your photos for hours on end. For a few years now, I’ve been saying that all these lenses look the same. And this filter is giving them the sparkle and dazzle they’ve so desperately needed.
I personally think photography hit peak lens with the Zeiss Milvus lineup of glass. The images were clean, sharp, and yet there was character. The lenses had micro-contrast and lens flare was easy to obtain. Plus, there were fantastic colors. But Zeiss has more or less left the photo-industry in favor of the cinema world where folks spend money on their products. After seeing Zeiss create the Otus lineup, the Japanese manufacturers obsessed over getting clinically better lenses. And they succeeded, therefore wiping the soul and character out of lenses.
Seriously, how many of us really complained about things like onion bokeh? Have you seen Watchmen on HBO? There’s tons of onion bokeh and the scenes look wonderful.
All this aside, the Prism FX Rose Filter is looking to do two things. First off, it gives the images some haze. This softens the way people look and mutes details. It adheres to the aesthetic that Frank Ockenfels III told Pop Photo years ago about digital being too sharp. On top of that, it adds more gorgeous lens flare. If that isn’t enough, it also tints the images a shade of purplish pink. They call it rose! And be warned that your camera might try to compensate for it, so I’d recommend locking your white balance to Daylight 5200K.
Mind you, Mr. Ockenfel’s quote is pretty much why I bought this filter. And if you’ve followed this blog for some time, you know that a while ago, we went on a mission to review every single Sigma prime lens on the market. To date, we’ve got the most complete guide of any standing publication. But we’ve also stated that their lenses are super clinical with barely any character. And that’s why I bought the Prism FX Rose Filter: to specifically keep it mounted to my Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art DG DN lens. Let me tell you, it’s made a world of difference.
First off, the build quality of the filter is better than most of the others from Prism FX because it doesn’t require you to twist anything around to change the effect. The less moving parts, the better! Now here’s a quick comparison of how the filter renders in auto white balance and daylight white balance.
See the difference? It’s pretty large, and locking the white balance means way less work in post-production. But the color is only a small part of how this filter works.
Take a look at the photo above. Have you ever seen a Sigma lens deliver lens flare like this? Or have you ever seen this much contrast taken out of it? Probably not! Nor have you probably seen such a pleasantly warm glow to your subjects using this filter.
Here’s what that looks like with a bit less lens flare, the details are still soft and muted. And here’s what it looks like when combined with a Spektrem Effects Light Speed Filter.
Again, it’s really nice at cutting out all the excess details and adding in character. But what’s most entertaining is using this filter with a daylight white balance in Tungsten lighting like what you see above. There’s more though!
No, these problems can’t be solved just by taking off the lens hood. The solution instead lies in understanding we need to break the mentality that the darkroom and Adobe have put us in for years. We don’t need to slave away and toil for hours and hours to get good photos. We can do it in-camera. It’s not lazy, it’s efficient.
Want one? Check out the Prism FX Rose Filter on their website.