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Author Topic: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?  (Read 14714 times)

Ligament

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Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« on: May 18, 2014, 04:46:12 am »

Howdy,

Looking at getting into slide in square filters and out of screw on filters. These would be for making long exposures.

Lee seems to be the most mentioned with favorable reviews, but the Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND series seems to be possibly better due to IR filtration.

The Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND series is also very expensive.

Is there really any significant difference using the Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND series to make long exposures?

Are such differences worth the cost?

Thank you!
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2014, 06:16:21 am »

Howdy,

Looking at getting into slide in square filters and out of screw on filters. These would be for making long exposures.

Lee seems to be the most mentioned with favorable reviews, but the Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND series seems to be possibly better due to IR filtration.

The Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND series is also very expensive.

Is there really any significant difference using the Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND series to make long exposures?

Are such differences worth the cost?

Hi,

It would take an actual comparison to be sure, here is a test I found. I don't know if the ND 3 version of the Hitech exhibits the same, hard to correct, shift of color balance.

Some more info can be found in this thread.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 06:55:47 am by BartvanderWolf »
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Ligament

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2014, 04:54:17 pm »

Thanks Bart, you are awesome as always!
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 04:01:28 am »

Thanks Bart, you are awesome as always!

You're welcome. Thanks for the nice words.

Cheers,
Bart
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rgs

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014, 09:44:09 pm »

I have a 8 stop ND 77mm Formatt glass screw-in that is so soft it is useless. I e-mailed Formatt about it and they didn't even bother to answer. My Marumis, on the other hand, are great. Get the Lee.
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Paul2660

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2014, 11:13:17 pm »

Older Format filters, in the 0.9 to 1.2 to 3.0 range tended to have a very strong magenta cast, this was in their glass product lines.  However they have reformulated their high end filters, now use the White Water glass and the reviews I have read are very good.  The early Hitech resin filters also had some issues with color cast, as did the Cokins.  Especially in the the 0.9x 

I have the Lee 10x big stopper and it is cast free, very nice filter, hard to find at times.  I also use the Lee 0.9 & 0.6 ND glass filters both are excellent.  I feel they add a bit of warming to the image, but that is easy enough to fix in post.  I have held all of the Lee filters up against my Phase One LCC white card, and they show grey, no magenta casts. 

Paul
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Paul Caldwell
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robdickinson

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2014, 11:55:59 pm »

I bought a hitech 10 stop , the old one without the foam, and it was the biggest waste of money every, utterly unusable.

Now have a Lee big stopper, OK its not perfect but the slight cold/blue cast is relativly easy to fix.

One Calm Tree by robjdickinson, on Flickr
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Ligament

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 02:19:11 am »

1. It appears earlier versions of the Formatt Hitech ND filters had strong casts to them, no doubt.

2. Formatt's new IRND filters are claimed to be color cast free and have significant benefit from the IR filtering during long exposures - is this true? Does this mean the Lee Big Stopper or other big name ND filters do NOT filter IR, or have significant issues from lack of IR filtration?

3. Where do the Singh-ray mor-slo filters fit in the quality continuum? They are EXPENSIVE. Are they worth the price premium? The 15 stop mor-slo option is attractive.

4. Just how important, overall, is the IR filtration capability of an ND for long exposure photography? The Formatt literature places a strong emphasis on IR filtration, as does Joel TJINTJELAAR, who claims better blacks.

Sorry for all the naive questions.
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EduPerez

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 09:13:37 am »

1. It appears earlier versions of the Formatt Hitech ND filters had strong casts to them, no doubt.

2. Formatt's new IRND filters are claimed to be color cast free and have significant benefit from the IR filtering during long exposures - is this true? Does this mean the Lee Big Stopper or other big name ND filters do NOT filter IR, or have significant issues from lack of IR filtration?

3. Where do the Singh-ray mor-slo filters fit in the quality continuum? They are EXPENSIVE. Are they worth the price premium? The 15 stop mor-slo option is attractive.

4. Just how important, overall, is the IR filtration capability of an ND for long exposure photography? The Formatt literature places a strong emphasis on IR filtration, as does Joel TJINTJELAAR, who claims better blacks.

Sorry for all the naive questions.

Unfortunately, I own one of the old Formatt Hitech filters...

Without the foam gasket, light can enter through the space between the filter and the filter holder; that light will illuminate the front element of your lens, and in front of your lens there is a black and polished surface, that acts as a mirror. In some situations, I could clearly see the front element from my lens when looking through the viewfinder. Not pleasant to see in one of your long-exposure photographs.

This filter also does not properly block IR light, and that is another real problem. To the naked eye, this filter seems quite neutral or even greenish; but most cameras have some sensibility to IR light. Under normal circumstances, your sensor receives lots of visible light and some IR light, that you cannot even notice; when using this filter, your sensor receives very little visible light and some IR light. The result is that photos turn out with a heavy red cast.


And about colour casts:

I guess that some filters are made from a dark material, while others are transparent with a dark coating. In the former type, light rays that cross the filter with an oblique angle have to cross a larger path inside the filter, an thus get more affected by the filter. This is noticeable when using wide angle lenses, because those filters produce a very gradual but noticeable vignetting.

Both vignetting and colour casts can be (easily) corrected during post processing; however, vignetting with a colour cast is very hard to correct.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 09:57:27 am »

1. It appears earlier versions of the Formatt Hitech ND filters had strong casts to them, no doubt.

2. Formatt's new IRND filters are claimed to be color cast free and have significant benefit from the IR filtering during long exposures - is this true? Does this mean the Lee Big Stopper or other big name ND filters do NOT filter IR, or have significant issues from lack of IR filtration?

3. Where do the Singh-ray mor-slo filters fit in the quality continuum? They are EXPENSIVE. Are they worth the price premium? The 15 stop mor-slo option is attractive.

4. Just how important, overall, is the IR filtration capability of an ND for long exposure photography? The Formatt literature places a strong emphasis on IR filtration, as does Joel TJINTJELAAR, who claims better blacks.

Sorry for all the naive questions.

Hi,

The attenuation of IR light is as important as the attenuation of visible light, although the camera usually also has an IR filter built-in in front of the sensor array. The effectiveness of the built-in filter can differ between brands/models, so in order to test a filter one should ideally do it on the same brand/model that is going to be used for the actual shooting. This may also explain some of the different test results that are published on various web pages.

The Bayer CFA filters of your sensor array are transparent to IR, like most dyes are. That means that there will be a pollution of all three color bands if the IR contribution to the exposure gets too prominent. If an ND filter only uses dyes (which are transparent to IR) instead of (additional) special coatings, it may have a neutral density over the visible spectrum but it will relatively amplify the amount of IR that the camera's built-in IR needs to remove, which may fail to a certain extent. That will produce a color cast on the image that's hard to remove.

I think in general, that means that resin filters will let through relatively much IR, because in general they are dye colored. Glass filters can (additionally) be (vacuum deposit) coated with IR reflective (hot-mirror), or absorbing, layers. So glass filters can probably be made to match a higher specific accuracy.

I can confirm that the longer the travel distance through a thick mass-colored filter is, the darker the corners off the resulting image will be rendered. The apparent vignetting will increase for oblique rays. It helps to use a Lens Cast Calibration (LCC) correction as it's called in Capture One, especially on wide angle shots, to address the light fall-off and color cast in a single operation during Raw conversion. It can be combined with a dust removal operation, in case one shoots with a very narrow aperture to allow for even longer exposure times.

Cheers,
Bart
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robdickinson

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 06:36:37 pm »

3. Where do the Singh-ray mor-slo filters fit in the quality continuum? They are EXPENSIVE. Are they worth the price premium? The 15 stop mor-slo option is attractive.


I refuse to buy Singh-ray because of how they treat photographers.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2014, 11:50:08 am »

I have used Singh Ray filters for many years, they are high quality. More recently, I had to get a Lee filter system to use on the Zeiss 21 ZE lens (82mm filter thread). I have a couple of GNDs (one soft, one hard), and a Big Stopper.

I find they are high quality too.

Ligament

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2014, 02:37:43 am »

ttt
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IanB

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2014, 11:11:37 am »

Lee also do their Pro-Glass filters in 0.6 and 0.9 which are adjusted to deal with the UV and IR issues. Good quality, but a lot more expensive than the standard ND filters - I assume this type of filter must take some care in both design and manufacture..
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2014, 11:15:43 am »

I refuse to buy Singh-ray because of how they treat photographers.

I agree. There are other options out there that work just as well.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
Orange County, CA

Enda Cavanagh

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2014, 12:24:33 pm »

I refuse to buy Singh-ray because of how they treat photographers.

In what way? I just ordered 10 stop and 15 stop 130 x 130mm filters yesterday so I'd be keen to know
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 12:27:19 pm by Enda Cavanagh »
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NancyP

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2014, 01:13:31 pm »

Most modern APS-C and FF (135 format) digital cameras have a good strong hot-mirror IR filter applied to the sensor array. I wouldn't think that additional hot-mirror filters would be necessary.
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robdickinson

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2014, 10:28:32 pm »

In what way? I just ordered 10 stop and 15 stop 130 x 130mm filters yesterday so I'd be keen to know

They wanted KKY to supply images for promotional use and brochures but refused to pay anything.

A major photo accessory manufacturer not offering to pay world class award winning photographer for promo shots that use their gear. Way to support their own industry.
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chesty01

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2015, 02:54:37 pm »

I started using filters with Cokin several decades ago, about a year ago, I tried the Z-pro (huge critters), then I tried the Format Hitech GradND resin filters.  They are quite nice.  I obtained them from a friend of mine who never used them.  I then decided to try the GradND IRND and IRNDND filters (I had a Variable ND from Cokin, but you couldn't go very dark as you would get an X across the frame) So, I ordered the 4x5 glass GradND 5 stop and the 5 stop ND (had to install the gasket, but no big deal)  I found the ND to be very neutral an quite easy to use (no issues with light leakage after a 15 minute exposure) The GradND is just as great.  You just have to remember to seal/cover the opening between the filter and the holder so you do not get any reflections.  Only happens with the sun directly to the front and off to one side (I need to figure out how to stop that when using my GradND on a normal lense.  Didn't notice til I uploaded my pictures into LR) and it occurred with extreme shift from my Canon TS-E (reflections were coming from the rear).  Once I covered the opening no more reflections (while using the TS-E.  Never noticed this with the resin filters.  I will be getting the Lee Wide Angle Hood though in short order with their adapter and the adapter for the Canon 17TS-E.

I really like these IRND filters.  I can't speak to the quality of Lee vs Hitech as I have not used Lee, Cokin is the only other filters I have used and they are very nice as well. I read a couple of reviews before buying and of course these two artists were all about Hitech.  My final decision was made based on my two friends who have been using them and seemed to like them.
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Cayman

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Re: Lee ND vs. Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND slide in filters?
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2015, 07:00:21 pm »

I am fairly new at long exposures, but I have been quite happy with a 13 stop Formatt Hitech 165mm "Firecrest" filter.   There is a review somewhere on the internet where someone tested quite a few filters and the Firecrest came out on top.   I can't locate the review life of me.  The Firecrest are their new line and are glass vs plastic.

The main issues I have had with their Lucroit system and the Nikon 14-24mm is some flare coming off of the filter and a mild distortion of the image compared to no filters.   I was able resolve the flair with some modifications to their holder.   The distortion is really only noticeable when blending between a filtered image and a non filtered image.   In most cases, no big deal, but it can make the blending harder.   My guess is it is due to the large amount of glass the oblique rays have to traverse through on a wide angle lens.

The filter seems very neutral and generally does not require much color adjustment.   I have ordered several more of their filters, but the wait time seems to be several weeks at B&H.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 07:03:59 pm by Cayman »
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