So I have had the all-new Formatt Hitech Firecrest 100mm filter holder now for 7 months and thought I better finally get around to my impressions on this holder and post a review.
Delighted to able to offer everyone 10% off any Formatt Hitech products via the Formatt Hitech official website at checkout with code HAYES10. From time to time they have special offers which I post Here.
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Also, I have a review of the Firecrest Ultra filters Here.
So first things first once you open the beautifully packed box you will immediately notice the holder pouch which once opened has 4 different compartments in it.
Obviously one for the holder itself and the superb extra light shield caps.
One for the 3 thread adaptors rings included in the kit free of charge (67mm, 72mm & 77mm).
One for the great removable rotating circular polarising filter.
One for the allen key and the extra shield caps for the graduated filters.
The above shot shows the 77mm adaptor ring mounted on the lens.
Below you can see the complete unit fitted to the lens with a graduated filter in place also.
First off this kit is amazing value for money as you get 3 adaptor rings (67mm, 72mm & 77mm) and a circular polarising filter in the kit as well as the extra light leak shields for the top and bottom of the holder which are unique to firecrest to my knowledge.
These shields are fantastic when shooting with very strong Graduated nd filters like the 5 stop graduated filter I frequently use. It prevents light from leaking in behind the graduated filter causing reflections from the lens.
They also make it possible to use Nd filters up to 24 stops, yes an amazing full 24 stops. Well most of us will never use 24 stops but the 24 stop Firecrest filter was incredibly popular for the eclipse last year, so never say never.
So is this 100mm filter holder the best system on the market?
Well, read on to find out why I found this system so very superior to anything else out there. This is my honest opinion and something I proudly standby.
Ok for a bit of background I currently own and have actually paid for the Lee, Nisi and Firecrest 100mm filter holders.
The first thing you will notice with the Firecrest holder is you can change the holder one-handed. Is that important? Well for me yes it's very important as this is very handy if your shooting in quickly fading light.
You can just pop off the filter holder and recompose or refocus your shot and pop it back on again in seconds. One hand takes it off and the other focuses the camera, simple.
The Lee system like the Nisi is a two-handed affair, it's not a lot slower but for nearly twice the price you would expect better. For some crazy reason if you push the filter holder away from the lens it can actually unclip from the ring adaptor. I don't know why but the bevel plunger to release the filter holder is designed to slip off the adaptor ring and not to slip on it!
The Nisi design isn't too bad but the two tiny little holding legs were a bit finicky and always a little bit uncertain for me. When you have €300 + of glass sitting in your filter holder you want to be sure its clipped in place. It was always a bit tricky fitting it and I usually found myself leaning forward double checking it.
Now back to those beautiful Light leak caps, what can I say but for me they simply destroy the other systems for two reasons.
Firstly if you use a 5 stop nd graduated filter your not getting any light leaking in behind the graduated part of the filter as those end caps really work and set this holder apart from the rest in my mind.
Secondly, the added and unexpected advantage of the extra light shield caps is their ability to help stop the sea spray and moisture getting in between the graduated filter and the neutral density filter, which is normally a real pain for anyone shooting seascapes. This for me is more than enough of a reason on its own to choose this filter holder over any other system I have tried.
As you can see from the above shot they really do close off the gap between the Neutral density filter and the graduated filter which if your shooting in damp conditions saves you a lot of time. For me alone this is enough of a reason to highly recommend this holder to anyone. The fact that it's cheaper and incredibly versatile is the icing on the cake.
Getting back to the little wheel for the polarising filter on the side of the filter holder, what can I say other than it's incredibly handy and very simple to use.
Build wise its very solid and so far has stood the test of time with me which is really saying something. The holder shows absolutely no signs of wear and tear but then again that's to be expected from a quality product.
Well, look at it this way its cheaper than both the Lee and Nisi systems yes that's right it's actually cheaper than both its main competitors.
At the time of writing this the Lee system holder is €84.- through my local supplier, then you have to buy the adaptor rings separately for €29.- each. the square polarising filter if you want one is €199.- extra. The rotating polarising filter and bracket, if you want it, are an additional €219.- and €45.- respectively.
So 1 adaptor ring the holder and a square polariser is €312.-
Again one adaptor and the rotating circular polarising filter is a crazy €377.-
The Nisi system gives you the polariser and the 3 extra adaptor ring like the Firecrest holder and costs €170.-
The Firecrest holder costs £129.99 which is delivered to your door for €166.- at the time of writing this blog. It's cheaper than the Nisi system once you put in the discount code HAYES10 at checkout to give you a 10% instant discount on any Formatt Hitech products. Ok so not a lot cheaper but for a better product its a real steal. If there are any other special offers I post them Here so don't forget to check the page for special offers before you buy.
Just to recap...
So it's the one in my bag.
You can buy the Formatt Hitech Firecrest 100mm Filter Holder from their website Here
Don't forget 10% off with Discount code HAYES10.
I have a blog post up on the Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra filters Here.