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Are French flags just for flares?


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#1 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 06:19 PM

I thought that French flags clamped on to the matte box were just to screen flares but somebody
told me that even if there is no flare issue, you still have light rays coming in and blocking some
of them can affect the image.

The example he gave: He was shooting across a wide store with a lot of flourescents on the other side.
There were no lens flares from the lights but he noticed that when he adjusted the French flag so that it
blocked some of that light from coming in; the contrast was better -less flat I think but not sure what he
said exactly, just that it was a nicer image. I never knew this. Does anybody know about this or
can explain it?
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#2 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 06:46 PM

'Veiling' is the term for indirect light on the lens lowering contrast. An easy demonstration is to look through a heavy diffusion filter with a strong light source outside the field of view, but shining directly onto the filter. Shade it with your hand and the effect will become clear.
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#3 B.J. Allen

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 06:48 PM

This comes from internal reflections inside the lens.

One reason expensive lenses cost so much is the extra effort put in to reduce these internal reflections: more expensive AR coatings, different lens surface designs, the material holding the lens elements, etc.
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