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07-08-2018, 08:09 AM   #1
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Neutral Density Filters

I’ve decided that my new D FA* 50/1.4 will need a fairly deep ND filter. I haven’t bought a new filter for the better part of a few decades (I still use linear polarizer for Gawd’s sake), and when I was buying filters I was buying naked polyester ones that went into holders for my 4x5, not glass filters.
Consequently, I am a little baffled by what I am seeing as a whole bunch of what are, to me, new start-up manufacturers.
I read a couple of comparison article, one in particular on F-Stoppers dot com likes the filters made by Breakthrough Photography. For me this is definitely a new kid on the block, but they do seem to get great reviews.
The old standby B+W didn’t do as well on their test as this one from Breakthrough, so I am intrigued. Does anyone in the collective have any experience, any advice, anything at all, even a chockie that would help point me in a good direction.
I am looking specifically at 10 stop filters, but may expand my search to something a bit more reasonable as well. The idea is to be able to get back to exposure times I was more used to when shooting 4x5 film. ISO 12 at f/64 is no longer available to me, so I guess I need to filter.
I’ve experimented with cross polarization for this, but it has some weird results, and I would like to avoid multiple filters if possible.

Note that I am not going to put a crap filter on a $1500.00 lens, I am looking for top quality not bang for the buck, which to me often means OK quality at a pretty cheap price point.

For interest, here is the f stoppers article

Color Casts, Vignetting, and Sharpness: Which Neutral Density Filter Is Best? | Fstoppers

And here is the article from digital picture dot com

https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/10-Stop-Neutral-Density-Filter.aspx

Thanks all for any advice you can give this old filter newbie.


Last edited by Wheatfield; 07-08-2018 at 08:44 AM.
07-08-2018, 09:01 AM   #2
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I cannot help with your question but I know that trying to find reliable, consistent evaluations of lens filters is often frustrating. I look forward to more experienced filter users offering their thoughts to you.
07-08-2018, 09:07 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
I cannot help with your question but I know that trying to find reliable, consistent evaluations of lens filters is often frustrating. I look forward to more experienced filter users offering their thoughts to you.
What they said ^ ^ ^

For B&W correction filters, I use the old standby brands. For ND and grads, it is a brave new world.

I am looking forward to the comments from filter savvy members.


Steve

(...something tells me that quality starts at or around $150...)
07-08-2018, 09:23 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I have used B+W, Marumi, and high end Hoya ND filters. The better grades from each brand all performed well enough. Not being able to do the tests like in the articles you linked I can only say that I was happy with the results. However, I did get some color casts from the B+W and the Hoya. Not bad, but enough to notice.

When I bought the DFA 24-70 I purchased an ND 10 and CPL for it from Breakthrough Photography. I can say that their claims for the ND filter are correct, it has no discernible color cast.


I can also say they have been absolutely amazing to work with. The first ND 10 I got had some weird streaks in it, one email to them and I had a new one next day delivery at no charge. The second one has been perfect. When I ordered the x4 CPL it was out of stock. I had a trip planned and emailed them asking if they knew when it would be available. They sent me, as a loaner, the x2 model with a note to please return it when the x4 was delivered. I got the x4 a few weeks later with an empty envelope already labeled with postage to return the x2 one. No charge to me.

They are not cheap but the owner is a photographer and they seem to understand they are selling tools to working photographers, not just items in a box.

I just recently bought their 100x150mm filter holder and a graduated ND from them and I am impressed with that as well. Very well built and engineered holder.

They have just come out with a magnetic style filter and I purchased one of their 6 stop "dark CPL" filters to test. I have it and am well pleased with the adapter and how it connects but have not had a chance to really test it in the field as to filter performance.

07-08-2018, 09:27 AM   #5
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I have been happy with the Ice ND filters. Amazon, B&H. Little to no color cast. Thin frame. Have the ND8, ND64, ND1000, and ND 100000.
07-08-2018, 09:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I have used B+W, Marumi, and high end Hoya ND filters. The better grades from each brand all performed well enough. Not being able to do the tests like in the articles you linked I can only say that I was happy with the results. However, I did get some color casts from the B+W and the Hoya. Not bad, but enough to notice.

When I bought the DFA 24-70 I purchased an ND 10 and CPL for it from Breakthrough Photography. I can say that their claims for the ND filter are correct, it has no discernible color cast.


I can also say they have been absolutely amazing to work with. The first ND 10 I got had some weird streaks in it, one email to them and I had a new one next day delivery at no charge. The second one has been perfect. When I ordered the x4 CPL it was out of stock. I had a trip planned and emailed them asking if they knew when it would be available. They sent me, as a loaner, the x2 model with a note to please return it when the x4 was delivered. I got the x4 a few weeks later with an empty envelope already labeled with postage to return the x2 one. No charge to me.

They are not cheap but the owner is a photographer and they seem to understand they are selling tools to working photographers, not just items in a box.

I just recently bought their 100x150mm filter holder and a graduated ND from them and I am impressed with that as well. Very well built and engineered holder.

They have just come out with a magnetic style filter and I purchased one of their 6 stop "dark CPL" filters to test. I have it and am well pleased with the adapter and how it connects but have not had a chance to really test it in the field as to filter performance.
Thank you. This is encouraging. I even found a domestic supplier for them, which is nice.
07-22-2018, 02:24 AM   #7
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I have a few of the Breakthrough filters and the build quality on them is excellent and the grooves on the frame make them really easy to grip and remove. I've also had some of the Formatt-Hitech Firecrest filters and the color cast on the Breakthrough ones is much better.
07-22-2018, 04:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Neutral Density Filters
I heard good things about Formatt-Hitech Firecrest filters too.

I'd PM "The Madshutter" he's a member here on the forum and I believe a Leica Ambassador, he uses them and does cracking landscape stuff.

07-22-2018, 08:45 AM   #9
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Thanks all. Based on advice here and reviews, I settled on the Breakthrough filters. So far, so good.
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