THE X2 SERIES FROM BREAKTHROUGH FILTERS
'The best must be the most expensive right?'
It's a retail pricing strategy for many brands that are built on bluster over performance. There are a number of high performance filters on the market but the pricing may come as a surprise to you when you look closer at their performance.
At Breakthrough filters we believe in 'Design without compromise - Quality without question'
...and we don't believe this is an opportunity to charge the highest prices!
Below is how our design team approached the problems faced when using filters and then testing to confirm performance.
Prior to our all-new line of X2 and X4 traction designs, every filter borrowed the legacy flat black frame design, dating back to the 1940’s.
One of the problems with the flat black design is that it’s sometimes difficult to attach and remove the filters from the lens, frequently binding and getting stuck. By CNC machining texture into the X2’s aluminium frame it’s now easier than ever to get on and off, without getting stuck.
We precisely machine each X2 traction frame from environmentally friendly aluminium, and with it’s matte black finish reflections are absorbed rather than reflected into the lens barrel.
Vignetting is a darkening or reduction in colour saturation around the edges of an image compared to the centre. The problem of vignetting increases the wider the lens is.
The X2 features a 3.5mm ultra-slim double-threaded traction frame to eliminate vignetting on wide-angle full-frame setups
Why 3.5mm? In our lab tests 4.3mm was the frame width at which point vignetting becomes noticeable on 16mm wide-angle setups on full-frame setups. Any less than 3.0mm and lens caps don’t have enough surface area to grab onto. At 3.7mm vignetting is entirely eliminated.
Glass & MRC Layers
Most manufacturers of quality filters use SCHOTT glass or AGC glass. Any manufacturer that doesn't state the glass used will not be using quality glass.
Poorly coated filters commonly exhibit visible flaring, ghosting, low-contrast and an reduction of sharpness, and increase exponentially with a longer exposure. This also has the unfortunate effect of lowering the optical performance of the lens to the optical performance of the uncoated filter. Most quality manufacturers apply MRC layers on both sides of the glass so for a MRC8 this would mean 4 MRC layers on each side of the glass. It's more expensive to manufacture this way but the optical quality is significantly better.
UV filters are a fairly simple filter. Primarily used to protect the front element of your lens. The main design goal is to be strong and let as much light through as possible. Many manufacturers will give this statistic out in their technical specifications. See comparison below.
However it is important to consider the evenness of the light transmission through the light wavelength range. So in the spectrometer results below the aim would be as high on the Y axis and as flat (even) as possible on the X axis.
CPLs and ND Filters
For circular polarisers and neutral density filters the challenges are different. Both filters effectively filter out light. The greatest challenge is to minimise the colour cast that is prevalent in this type of filter. Some leave a blue hue, others a red or green. Which ever it is, the resultant image recorded will need to be processed to remove the cast. There are a number of quality brands that done this well. Not necessarily to remove all cast but pretty close.
Again the goal here is as high on the on the Y axis and as flat (even) as possible on the X axis.