Kieran Hayes Photography, Photographer Clonakilty, West Cork, Cork | Photography Filters

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To be emailed the latest discount codes or special offers as they happen from Formatt Hitech Firecrest products click Here

 

In June 2017 I was made an Official Formatt Hitech Firecrest Brand Ambassador, I can only say this is a huge honour for me to be an ambassador for such a groundbreaking company.

 

Formatt Hitech as you probably know is the leading photography filter manufacturer in the world, their Firecrest Ultra range of filters are second to none.

 

I have absolutely loved their filters from the moment I tried my first Firecrest Nd graduated filter. I can still remember the moment I got back to my desktop and examined the shots from my first shoot with them. The colouring was exactly as I remembered it and the control over the exposure was just perfect.

 

I am happy to announce I can offer you a 10% discount via the Official Formatt Hitech Firecrest website Click Here to visit their store. Use the code    HAYES10    at the checkout to get your 10% discount.

 

They have a huge selection of Filters from the reasonably priced Resin range to the groundbreaking Firecrest Ultra range I currently use. Their filters are available in at least 3 different sizes but most photographers use the 100mm filter holder and filters. If you have a question feel free to send me an email or Private Message me via Facebook Here.

 

The Firecrest Ultra range of neutral density filters are supposedly second to none firstly for their colour neutrality and secondly for their unique design.

 

I say supposedly second to none as for now we really don't know any of the facts.

 

So let's have a detailed look and make up our own minds.

 

 

Ok on first inspection the neutrality is groundbreaking, I have tried shots both with and without filters on location and in the studio and can't see any difference at all. The normal Firecrest filters were exceptional but these Ultras seem to be another leap ahead again.

 

 

So is this worth the expense of changing to Firecrest Ultras?

 

Well no it's not, the standard Firecrest range where amazing anyway.

 

So I guess that's it then, what else can a filter possibly do for you?

 

We all know they are a serious investment and something you don't want to be purchasing too often right? 

 

These questions lead me to discover exactly how serious this company is. Not only about their manufacturing process but also their customers that invest in their products.

 

 

So for me, I had to impartially have a look at filters again and this raised two concerns for me.

 

1. Colour neutrality, 

(let's just go ahead and tick that box).

 

2. Longevity,

the length of time we expect our filters to last. Something I am always aware of as let's face it they aren't cheap.

 

3. Yes, I said two concerns there wasn't supposed to be a 3rd concern but then I did my research. Wasn't expecting this one at all it's something I never really thought about.

 

Optical performance!

 

I can imagine most of you are probably sitting forward in your seats now and saying what the hell is he on about now it's just a sheet of glass, glass is flat end of story.

 

Well, I just went and educated myself a little.

 

 

 

After a discussion with the ever helpful James over at Formatt Hitech, I can tell you this information on how they produce the Ultra filters...

 

 

The hyper neutral filter coating is sandwiched between two plates of bonded glass making the coating impossible to scratch, unlike other manufacturers. Well, that's a great design feature for someone like me that works a lot by the coast with sand, sea spray and the odd bit of seaweed flying at me.

 

 

The crazy unexpected added bonus of this processes is as the filters are manufactured of bonded glass they are more resilient to impact than their competitors. So harder to scratch and more resilient now that already had my wallet open but there is more.

 

 

I have to say they really went above and beyond with this final part of the process.

 

 

As a photographer I love to be in control of my equipment and treat every single piece with both love and hate, we all know the more equipment you have in your exposure the greater the chances are of imperfections in your final image.

 

 

So we stand there with our camera, lens, tripod, filters and filter holder all costing anywhere from €1,000 to €10,000 for most of us and this little sliver of glass you purchased for €80.- to €190.- or so has a huge input into your image...

 

 

Now stop and think about that for a second. Yes I mean REALLY think about that.....

 

 

Remember when you purchased your camera and weighed up the pro's and con's of that specific model the minute details we looked into, the model's spec's and if the next step up was worth the €300 or €1,000 premium.

 

All for that tiny little bit of detail or slightly better dynamic range or high ISO performance. Thousands spent just to get that final few percent and then we go and slap a cheap piece of glass in front of it. 

 

I won't even mention the lens we thought about and drooled over for weeks or months until we finally purchased the one we wanted.

 

 

All of this purely because they were just that tiny little fraction better than the rest. Money always well spent in my mind. So why not look at filters in the same way?  

 

The performance per pound on high-end equipment is a little disappointing when you compare the difference a good set of filters can make versus an ok set and the price difference involved.

 

Back to the process...

The final step in the ultra's manufacturing process is something that I struggled to come to terms with for a while if I am really honest with you. I seriously wondered what the hell is that all about.

 

 

Once the filters have been formed and by most manufacturers standards ready to ship, the perfectionists over at Formatt Hitech go ahead and run another process known as "lapping and polishing" which involves grinding down the filters to ensure they are completely optically flat.

 

 

Yes, you read that right they actually grind down the finished product to as close to optical perfection as possible and then they are polished again.

 

 

This process kills off any minute imperfections in the glass making them the sharpest filters and most optically perfect filters on the market today.

The Firecrest filters are completely colour neutral and are made of bonded glass which means they are very hard wearing as the ND coating is sandwiched between two plates of toughened glass making them very hard to scratch.

 

The Neutral density filters I regularly use are a Firecrest 6 stop and a Firecrest 10 stop these two filters provide the backbone of my work along with the amazing new Firecrest filter holder, this holder comes complete with a polarizer and 3 adaptor rings. I use just two Neutral Density Graduated filters normally, my trusty 3 stop filter and the 5 stop filter. So these 4 filters and the filter holder are what I use nearly all the time.

 

I have been using their filters now for 2 years but since June 2017 I have used nothing else other than the Firecrest range and haven't looked back since.

 

Kieran.

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5 stars – 33 reviews