Portrait with a Zeiss Softar II Filter

Contax RTS with Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 and Zeiss Softar II filter. Fuji 200 film. Photo by Derrick Story.

One of the most useful (and best crafted) filters for portrait photographers is the Carl Zeiss Softar II. Unlike many other softening filters, it's not too heavy-handed, yet it adds a flattering quality to both subject and background.

I've had one on hand, but when I was researching their availability, I discovered that B&H Photo has the 55mm Softar II in stock for only $39.95 ($59 off the regular price). Film shooters who love portrait photography, take note!

For this image, I used a wide aperture and placed the Softar II over the front of the Zeiss 50mm. No retouching was required. And the image has a pleasing quality that doesn't feel too heavy-handed. 

Along with a polarizer, this is a filter that I always have in my bag of analog gear.

-Derrick

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