Photography News 74

First test

First tests

THE FILTERS WERE EASY TO CLEAN OF FINGERPRINTS AND DRY IN THE CASE OF INCLEMENT WEATHER The holder works well and it’s easy to adjust and lock in place with thin gloves on. The filter slots were quite tight, so no chance of any filter slip if you like to relocate, leaving the filters in place on the lens. The multi-coating on the 100x150mm graduate filters do make them slippery to the touch. You wouldn’t normally hold a grad filter by a corner – but if you did, you'd find the filter slowly slipping out of your grip. This is thanks to the Breakthrough’s nano coating, which helps keep the filter clean and makes water just bead off. I used normal pocket tissues and even my shirt to clean the filters with absolutely no sign of any micro scratching or scuffing. Breakthrough believes that the polariser should be used as close to the lens as possible. So if you like to combine an ND grad with a polariser, the polariser is screwed on to the lens first and then the adapter ring and holder added to it. To adjust the polariser effect, just rotate the holder and reposition it to get the grad correctly aligned. At the time of writing, Breakthrough does not offer a magnetic filter option, but that is going to change soon so we’ll bring you news on themwhen they get released. I used my test set on cloudy and sunny days, as well as in a controlled environment with a test chart lit by a Rotolight Neo 2 LED lamp set to

No filter, AWB






10EV ND AWB 4760K

2EV ND soft grad AWB

3EV ND hard grad AWB

ABOVE This scene was shot using auto white-balance and manual Kelvin settings on a Nikon D810 at IWM Duxford

see if they suffered permanent harm, which I have experienced with other filters. But as you can see from the comparison shots below the marked filters cleaned up like new. I was very impressed with the results. Filter factors were spot on and exactly as promised. Close examination of my shots showed no resolution difference between the with and without filter shots, so depreciation of the image with the filters was minimal.

5600K output. I used Nikon D810 and D850 cameras for my test, so it's worth bearing in mind possible variances with other camera brands and models. I shot with the filters in manual exposure mode with auto white-balance and with Kelvin values. In this way, I could assess filter factor accuracy, how the filters performed in AWB and then also which Kelvin gave the most accurate colour result straight out of camera. I also let water droplets evaporate on the filters to

warm, a bit like shooting on cloudy white-balance on a sunny day or using an 81C warm-up filter. For me, the warm hue is preferable to a cool look and if I wanted a neutral out-of- camera result on my Nikon DSLR, I'd use the 4760K preset. Over the past year or so, I have had the pleasure of using several filter brands and these products from Breakthrough are right up there with the best, so without doubt worthy of serious consideration. WC

Physically, the filters impressed too, being easy to clean of fingerprints and dry in the case of inclement weather or sea spray, even when non-specialist cleaning products were used. And colour performance impressed, too. With my outdoor shots, the with and without filter pictures taken in auto white-balance were very similar, so no problems if you want great straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. The exception to this was the 10EV ND, where the AWB shot looked


PROS Optical quality and performance, easy to clean, good to use, tough, the 100mm filters can be used in other holders CONS Filter names on the plastic storage boxes would have been nice – the 100mm filter pouches are named

There’s no doubt that Breakthrough Filters are first-class, excellent-quality products and a pleasure to use. It's impressive kit and gives the keen photographer more filter options than ever and definitely worth serious consideration – perhaps evenmore so when itsmagnetic filters appear on themarket.

ABOVE Water drying marks, finger grease and general grime are no problem for Breakthrough X4 series filters thanks to the 16x MRC coating. A buff with a lens microfibre cloth and the filter (in this case a 6EV dark circular polariser) is like new

Issue 74 | Photography News 41

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