When I talked with Rod Clark from Formatt-Hitech at NAB, he was incredibly animated about how revolutionary these filters are and I asked him to let planet5D be the first to tell the world…
Everyone complains about ND filters changing the color… well worry no more!
so here’s the intro from Barry and the PR at the bottom.
planet5D worldwide exclusive!
When it comes to ND filters you have your choice of either standard ND filters (.3, .6, .9 etc), variable ND filters or IRND filters. In an ideal world I think anyone shooting video should have both standard ND filters an addition to a variable ND filter.
Variable ND filters can be used when you are shooting fast and don’t have time to switch ND’s on the go, whereas regular ND filters are more optically pure and produce cleaner images.
I am super excited to see the latest in ND filtration from Formatt-Hitech and their Firecrest IRND filters. They have really focused on the demands of the higher end photographers, cinematographers and cameras on the market.
The new Firecrest IRND filters are touting the following improvements over the current IRND filters on the market:
- Circular Firecrest IRND filters the thinnest on the market (SuperSlim 5.5mm and UltraSlim 3mm)
- SuperSlims are threaded and stackable
- IRND Graduated filters
- New way of coating the filters so less likely for scratching or damaging the ND filters.
- For glass IRND filters you get 2 additional stops of ND over the other leading brands
- Amazingly neutral.
I can’t wait to get my hands on these and test them out myself. Anything I can do to help capture a better, unpolluted image I am all for.
About Firecrest IRND
From Formatt-Hitech Press:
Firecrest IRND is a revolutionary new type of infrared-attenuating neutral density ﬁlter from Formatt-Hitech. Firecrest IRND is a quantum leap improvement over all previous generation ND and IRND products and represents the technological state of the art in scientiﬁc light modiﬁcation.
Firecrest is a radical departure in how ND ﬁlters are manufactured. Previous generation NDs were made by dyeing resin. The resin ﬁlter was then oﬀered bare as a resin ﬁlter, or sandwiched between two pieces of glass and oﬀered as a glass ﬁlter. Firecrest is not a dyeing process. Rather, Firecrest is a 15 layer multicoating process that is applied directly to the glass though a vacuum-formed, hard-coated, electrolytic process. In layman’s terms, it’s analogous to anodizing on a glass surface. Firecrest ﬁlters are anti-reﬂective and extremely ﬂare resistant, which increases contrast and visual acuity in challenging lighting conditions. Firecrest ﬁlters are also hydrophobic and scratch-resistant.
Firecrest is a precision and high ﬁdelity product suitable for scientiﬁc evaluation. Firecrest was designed for the demands of professional photographers using top lenses from Zeiss, Hasselblad, Leica, Canon and more. If you’re a connoisseur of precision optics, choose Firecrest IRND.
Firecrest IRND ﬁlters are available in both rectangular and two versions of slim circular screw-in. Circular Firecrest IRND ﬁlters are available in the thinnest rings on the market. The SuperSlim is threaded, stackable and only 5.5mm thin. The UltraSlim rings are 3mm thin. UltraSlim rings are not stackable and don’t have threading for lens caps, however they are the thinnest circular screw-in ﬁlters in the world.
Rectangular ﬁlters are available for both photo and cinema. Grad ﬁlters for the photographic market are vertically oriented grads for photographers using 100x150mm ﬁlters. Cinema ﬁlters are landscape oriented 4×5.65”.
Firecrest IRND Grads
Another industry ﬁrst with Firecrest IRND is the development of IRND grads. Legacy graduated ND ﬁlters are manufactured from the traditional ND formulations originally developed for use with ﬁlm and do not reduce infrared. Firecrest IRND grads use the same Firecrest technology as their solid ND brothers. The result is a perfectly neutral graduated ND ﬁlter that pairs and stacks perfectly with even the highest densities of ND ﬁlter, and especially with other Firecrest IRND ﬁlters.
Independent Test Data
These graphs show test results from an independent test performed at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The test measured the spectral power distribution of tungsten light reﬂected oﬀ a spectralon target made of barium sulfate using a Photo Research SpectraScan Model 705 spectroradiometer. The results were graphed according to their wavelength (in nanometers) along the X axis, versus radiance (in watts per steradian per meter squared) along the Y axis.
In the top graph, the yellow line represents the baseline tungsten light reading reﬂected oﬀ the barium sulfate target. This graph illustrates the excellent ﬁltration properties of both the ProStop IRND (shown in green) and the Firecrest IRND (shown in blue). Both ﬁlters appear nearly ﬂat from this perspective.
The second graph emphasizes the diﬀerences between the two ﬁlters by removing the baseline tungsten reading and zooming-in on the Y axis. On closer inspection, the graph shows the ProStop IRND strongly attenuating the near-infrared spectrum before returning to neutral attenuation of the infrared spectrum around the 730nm mark. Firecrest (shown in blue) performs perfectly linearly in the visible light spectrum, before completely eliminating the infrared energy at around the 700nm mark. Compared to the ProStop IRND (which is the previous benchmark in IRND ﬁltrations) the performance shown by Firecrest IRND is nothing short of revolutionary. Firecrest IRND truly is the future of ND ﬁltration for digital sensors.
Results in-the-ﬁeld conﬁrm the test data. The new Firecrest IRND is amazingly neutral regardless of the camera make or model used.
Why IRND for Digital
Film by its very nature is not sensitive to infrared. Film typically has a toe curve in the near-infrared region that reduces its sensitivity to infrared almost completely. Thus, traditional ND formulations worked very well with ﬁlm. However, digital sensors are highly sensitive to infrared spectrum light. When using lots of ND (for cinema or long exposure photography for example) the sensor becomes overwhelmed with infrared energy causing severe color shifts and image degradation. Digital image capture requires IRND ﬁltration to achieve best results.
Why Firecrest for Photo?
Firecrest IRND ﬁlters for photography can be classiﬁed in two main categories, circular screw-in and rectangular (or square). Both types of ﬁlters are made from Schott Superwite glass (the ﬁnest optical glass material available). The rectangular ﬁlters are 2mm thick are feature the Firecrest IRND 15 layer multicoating on the outside of the ﬁlter. The circular screw-in ﬁlters also feature the 15 layer multicoating, however they are housed in threaded aluminum rings for attachment to the lens. Firecrest IRND ﬁlters are available between 1-10 stops of ND and between 1-5 stops of soft edge grad.
To summarize, the three versions are:
- 2mm thick rectangular/square glass
- 5.5mm Superslim stackable aluminum ring circular
- 3mm Ultraslim (non-stackable) aluminum ring circular
Available Circular Sizes (mm)
39 | 46 | 49 | 52 | 58 | 62 | 67 | 72 | 77 | 82 | 95 | 105 | 127
- Available Sizes – Rectangular 2mm Photo
- 67x85mm solid & grad
- 85x85mm solid & 85x110mm grad
- 100x100mm solid & 100x150mm grad
- 165x165mm solid & 165x200mm grad
Available Sizes – Rectangular 4mm Cinema
4×4 | 4×5.65 | 5×5 | 5.65×5.65 | 6.6×6.6
Why Firecrest for Cinema?
Firecrest IRND ﬁlters for cinema are 4mm thick and feature the 15 layer Firecrest IRND multicoating bonded in the center of two 2mm pieces of Schott Superwite glass. By sandwiching the Firecrest IRND multicoating we essentially create a ﬁlter that cannot be damaged externally during the heavy use and cleaning subjected to cinema ﬁlters. This makes Firecrest IRND an ideal product for rental houses, as it is both the most neutral ND on the market and the most durable. One additional advantage of Firecrest IRND is the nine and ten stop ﬁlters. Unlike ProStop IRND – which are available between 1-8 stops (in glass, 1-10 in resin), Firecrest IRND are available between 1-10 stops of ND, plus 1-5 stops of soft edge grad.
Formatt-Hitech ﬁlters are designed and manufactured in Wales, UK to scientiﬁc standards using award winning computerized technologies. Dealer orders typically ship with a 1-2 week lead time from the date of order.
(cover photo credit: snap from Formatt-Hitech Press)