A Fuzzy Look at Canon's "Soft Focus" Creative Filter

Both the Canon EOS 60Dand the Canon EOS Rebel T3i(600D) include the new "Soft Focus" Creative Filter that allows you to apply in-camera effects after you've captured the image. The adjusted shots are saved as separate files so you have both the original and the altered images.

Soften Creative Filter on Canon T3i Image on the left is original photo captured with Canon T3i and 18-135mm zoom. Next 3 images employ varying degrees of the "Soft Focus" Creative filter available in the T3i and 60D. Click on image for larger version.

I was curious to see if the Soft Focus effect could be used for portraits. You have some control over it because you can apply three different strengths of the filter (true for both the T3i and the 60D). In these shots, the original image is on the far left, then three different strengths of the Creative Filter follow from left to right. No editing was applied to these photos. This is how they were downloaded from the T3i.

As you can see, this isn't really an intelligent filter. I mean that in the sense that it does not have the ability to preserve detail in areas that are not continuous toned. The softening is applied to the entire image. The effect would be nice on the skin and the background, but it doesn't work on the eyes, or even the hair.

This filter could be useful for certain landscapes and other creative pursuits, but unfortunately it's not good for portraits. The defocused eyes in particular are annoying.

So, I'm going to stick with my normal portrait technique when shooting with these cameras.

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I much prefer Olympus's take on the soft focus art filter...

Used it at my cousin's wedding recently!

I totally agree. The Olympus Art Filter is more intelligent. I much prefer it myself.