1 Stop, 2 Stop, 10 Stop.. MORE!

Caution

Caution

No it is not your average amount of toilet breaks for a family trip.. its a filter.. or 3 that I have in my skyrocket. My latest being a Hitech 10 Stop filter from Formatt.co.uk. An interesting filter indeed, and one that may take some mastering. An interesting concept the 10 stop filter, it is as black as welding glass and you think from first look that it is impossible to see through. Well.. it practically is, and you need to expose for a long time to suit! One of the biggest annoyances is the fact that you cant focus through it, so you have to focus and slide it into place. Not such a problem you say? Well well.. when its dark it is hard enough.. and well with my current setup (D40 and 10-20mm) it makes this extra difficult. Normally I would simply switch the AF off on the D90, and focus infinity with the 10-20. But since the 10-20 doesnt have a switch (for af/mf) and the D40 has no inbuilt focus motor, it is an automatic occurance!

10 Stop Boats

10 Stop Boats

Blast I say, these boats were a challenge but also good fun. Coming in at roughly 30% of the price of the Lee Big Stopper.. I would have to say.. perhaps the Lee is worth the price that is asked of it. Why? Well the challenges with the Hitech 10 stop filter go well beyond the simple fact it makes it difficult to focus. This comes down to the fundamental construction of filters, and how it handles IR (Infra-red). This is resulting in a massive magenta cast over the majority of my shots with this filter thus far. I have tried different white balances, fixing in post.. but short of me finding a white/grey card to use when I use this bad boy I dont forsee the problem going away whilst I continue using my D40. Perhaps the D90 will handle it better? Who knows… I have successfully taken shots with the filter during the day and exposed it correctly. This left a very slight magenta cast, and something that should be fixable in post.

Floating Tuning Forks

Floating Tuning Forks

For now, I may just have to result in converting to B&W.. which yields also some special results. Long exposures and black and white really works for me. Adding some contrast and some unusual water/light and object forms and you have a combination that can quite easily work well together.

To give the filter a break for once though… I need to test more and I need to perhaps use it in some more useable light. There is an element of user error (in terms of exposure time) and I hope to give it a really good bash before deciding whether it will be retired to Ebay or form part of the family.

Till next time..

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4 comments


  • Haha. Great stuff mate. But I did require a toilet stop, but it was locked!

    I’m getting a very different colour cast to yours. And i’m finding the irregular vignetting quite bothersome.

    Love the Rushcutters one in colour.

    September 22, 2010
  • I suppose the toilet stop was the more then 🙂

    Yes it is odd… I think we should do a proper comparison.. during good light.. shooting the same subject/exposure times. Keen to see the different with my D90 as well.. tho lets see what Helen from Adorama has to say.

    September 22, 2010
  • I’ve got a B+W 10 stop filter – so far I’ve not noticed any colour casts on the film or the digital photos I’ve taken.

    If you’re shooting in very low light, you have to start to find the balance between not enough light & just the right amount. So far my trials have shown me that waiting until the sun has just crept over the horizon works. I’ve also had great results with light cloud cover on the horizon, as the clouds hide the sun in the photo.

    For getting the WB correct, shoot a frame with the ND & put a grey card in the frame, then use Lightroom/Photoshop/Other to map the adjustments (use levels tools to pick the grey card as the midtone in the frame).

    September 22, 2010
  • Thanks for the tips mate 🙂 Yep pretty much is what I was thinking needs to be done. In a lot of reviews (directly comparing with the B+W and Lee) the Hitech does have a magenta cast.. so I think personally have not been exposing near long enough.

    But Dan’s are coming out green sometimes, compared to my magenta…

    All takes a bit of practice I think.

    September 22, 2010

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