Tiffen Dfx Digital Filter Suite V3 – review
Glass filters were once an essential part of a photographer’s kit, but are they still relevant in today’s digital age? Tiffen, a company with a high reputation for making quality photographic filters, also produces the Dfx Digital Filter Suite that simulates over 2000 of their award winning glass filters. Whilst simple traditional photo filters can be simulated within Photoshop, PaintShop Pro and other digital image editing applications, the Dfx Digital filter suite includes numerous special effect filters which would be very hard to replicate.
The Tiffen Dfx V3 filter suite comprises of 125 filters with each offering many pre-defined presets, giving you effectively 2000+ filters. The Dfx suite also gives you the ability to customise the filters and save them as your own unique filters. The suite is available in three versions, Standalone, Photo Plug-in and Video Film Plug-in. The features in each version are more or less the same, for this review I will be taking a look at the Standalone version.
When launched you are presented with a slick dark interface which is ideal for colour correction work. Dfx opens the following image formats; Camera RAW, Tiff, JPEG and DPX. Unfortunately, there is no support for Photoshop PSD format in the Standalone version, although you can apply the filters to a PSD file with the Photo Plug-in version.
Images can be dragged and dropped directly onto the interface from your file browser or from other applications that supports drag and drop (Adobe Bridge). Once opened the interface jumps into life. The image is placed in the left column as an Original with a single effect layer above, you apply all effects to a layer or multiple layers. A set of eight filter category tabs are located at the base of the windows, these include; Film Lab, HFX Diffusion, HFX Grads/Tints, Image, Lens, Light, Special FX and Favourites. Each tab contains a series of filter thumbnails showing the effect on your own image rather than on a pre-packaged stock image. The main viewer window displays the image with the selected filter effect applied.
Click on a filter thumbnail and the main image is instantly updated with the filter. On the right hand side is a further selection of thumbnails displaying the built in Presets for the filter in use. Click a Preset that you like and modify the filter by clicking on the Parameters tab, the available options will vary depending on which filter is selected.
A series of four icons is located at the top of the interface, these include; Reset, Crop, Rotate and Add mask. Another series of icons is located above the Viewer; magnifying, side by side comparison, viewing a mask, histogram, and take a snapshot. Additional icons appear when a mask or other options are selected.