Breakthrough X3 ND
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Sample Images top
Not perfect, but still very neutral.
These are shot on my Canon 5DS R with a fixed white balance and colors set to +4 saturation. In normal use, Auto WB will eliminate most small variations, and most people don't shoot with saturation cranked as far as I have it here.
This Breakthrough Photography X3 ND filter is a much higher quality than usual ND filter.
First, it's neutral, which many ND filters aren't really. I learned this back in the 1990s shooting Velvia, whose wildly saturated colors exagerated just how unneutral were many of my grad ND filters.
Second, it's made with the best filter glass on Earth, from Schott in Germany.
Next, it has 16-layer multicoatings (MRC16).
It has "nanotec" water and oil-resistant coatings that really do repel schmutz. I put my finger on these, and there's no fingerprint!
They have thin frames, in case you have vignetting problems with wide lenses.
I usually use Tiffen when I need neutral ND filters, and they cost a lot less since they're made of plain glass and they are made in USA, but:
The real reason I love these X3 filters is that they have have a "Traction Frame," which means that the filter ring has big nubs that let me get it on and off easily. I don't need a bottle opener or oil filter wrench if it gets stuck; I can get a great grip on it.
The X3 filter rings are CNCd in China, and the glass comes from Germany.
THey come in various sizes and densities, and I will presume more options are added all the time. I have a 3-stop in 77mm.
That's it; these are great filters. I put mine on my optical bench, and I can't detect any error from flatness.
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25 September 2015