When I sold my Lee Filters Sev5n System a month or so ago, I thought little of it. In fact, I was excited to finally upgrade to a 100mm filter system because I would no longer be beholden to a proprietary size. In the "square" filter world, 100mm is the standard by which all brands seem to have a consensus. This includes Cokin, Lee, Nisi, Sirui, Formatt Hitech/Firecrest, Schneider, and Singhray among other brands. As I began my research into which filters would replace my previous ones, industry disrupter Breakthrough announced they were getting into the game with an exciting new Kickstarter project! As a current user of breakthrough's X3/X4 screw-on neutral density filters for my portrait work (which I'll discuss in a future post) I am very excited to see this company expand their offerings into this realm!
Needless to say, I made a sizable investment in this campaign and will now be filterless for my landscapes till the August anticipated delivery date if all things go according to plan. Breakthrough's filters will be the first tempered glass neutral density and graduated neutral density filters on the market. They're using the industry leading B270 Schott German optical glass coated with MRC/Nanotech formulas from the company, making them resistant to flaring and easy to clean in the field. My biggest frustrations with the previous system aside from being a proprietary size, were the difficulty in removing the sea spray on them in the field between shots, the noticeable color casts with select neutral density and graduated neutral density filters, the constant worry about scratching the resin filters, and the vignetting when using wider angled lenses. All that said, they were very good filters that didn't reduce image sharpness or color vibrancy, and the cost of the Sev5n system was VERY reasonable for their quality.
So in the approach to the dog days of summer, I am left uninspired to leave the house to shoot landscape photos. For one, the sun just keeps rising earlier and earlier, and as a non-morning person, waking up to catch the sunrise just gets more difficult each day. Having used filters for the better part of the last few years, I'm having more challenges finding dynamic compositions to shoot. I'm also relatively unskilled in the art of blending exposures in post-processing. The last few reasons in particular mean I should be shooting more so that I can either learn new techniques or work through these issues and create something new.