Flash and Filters

Our filters are designed for available light photography underwater. They allow you to leave your strobes behind and to enjoy the ergonomic simplicity of your housing without the drag of strobes and strobe arms!

However, underwater photographers are a creative bunch and we regularly get emails asking whether strobes can be used with the Magic Filter.

You can use strobes with the original Magic filter. All you have to do is to set a WB that counteracts the effect of the filter – and your pictures will look pretty much like normal strobe shots. This allows you, for example, to attach a filter and then shoot available light wreck exteriors and strobe lit interiors on the same dive. However, there is a small loss in quality associated with the WB shift required to counteract the filter, so it is much better to make two dives – one shooting ambient light and one shooting strobes. The example below was taken with a Magic filter and flash at a depth of 15m in the Maldives.

The other question we get asked a lot is what is the ideal complimentary strobe filter for use with the Magic? In other words, what is the opposite filter to the Magic filter, which I could fit on my strobes to give spectrally balanced flash fill?

Testing flash filters with the Magic Filter.

The answer is there isn’t one! And I didn’t realise this until I tried it. The correct complimentary strobe filter for the Magic filter actually has to be the opposite of the combined effect of the Magic filter and the WB adjustment made by the camera. And of course this varies considerably with depth.

In other words, the correct flash filter must spectrally balance the strobe light with the ambient light at the depth you are photographing. And therefore the technique becomes very impractical because you would need to change the strobe filter each time you changed depth.

If you want to experiment with this technique I would recommend a strong blue filter, one of the best being a 38A, which should work at around 10m depth.

I wanted to try this technique to create blurred images, with spectrally balanced flash fill. I chalk this one down as 'work in progress'.