The Formatt-Hitech Prostop IRND Joel Tjintjelaar Signature Edition Kit available here
The Formatt-Hitech Prostop IRND JT Long exposure Kit recently became available for customers worldwide and you can order them here: click here to order.
Important note: any discount codes provided by me are only valid using the previous link to the Joel Tjintjelaar affiliate product page.
In this short article I’ll show you the contents of the box, how to use the filters and a SOOC comparison with B+W and the Formatt-Hitech ProStop Filters.
Circular and rectangular
There are basically two choices when it comes to these filters: circular or rectangular.
Each JT SE kit comes with a 3 stops, 6 stops and 10 stops Prostop IRND filter. This way you can shoot either with 3, 6, 9, 10, 13, 16 or even 19 stops! The days that 10 stops was considered enough are long over. In order to create the smooth almost ethereal effects on water or sky in your long exposure photographs, you usually need to have exposure times of 3 minutes or longer. I prefer something around 6 minutes in combination with an aperture of f/7.1 or f/8.0. This means that stopping the light down to 16 stops would be necessary most of the time in bright day light.
Also included in each kit is an exclusive technique booklet and a LE conversion chart.
Some people have trouble deciding which kit to buy. Let me give you some tips on that. If you want to know more then head over to the long exposure tutorials on this website.
If you like to travel light and don’t mind the hassle of screwing your filters on and off every time, the circular kit is the way to go. I’ve used circular filters for a few years. The main problem I found was that it’s sort of tricky to screw the filter on to the lens when weatherconditions are far from optimal. Even the steadiest of hands can get in trouble when there’s a strong breeze and rain. Setting up a shot gets especially difficult when you have a rotating front element.
The rectangular filters are more bulky, so you can’t carry them around that easily. They may lack in portability, but it makes up in practical use. It’s just so easy to fit the filters to the lens. Preparing the shot is no problem at all, even if you have a rotating front element.
In the end it just depends on your personal preference: portability or ease of use?
The circular kit
This kit comes in the following options: 67mm, 72mm, 77mm and 82 mm.
The rectangular kit
Here you have the option of 100mm or 165mm, with or without holder.
Inside the box
Pictured above is the 100mm kit with holder.
There are 2 adaptor rings included: 77mm and 82mm. Further included is a 100mm aluminium filter holder, a technique booklet, a long exposure chart and of course the 3 filters.
Setup with the 100mm kit
Setting up a shot with the 100mm kit is really simple, let me demonstrate.
Step 1: attach the adaptor ring to your lens. Since I’m using a 77mm lens, I’m attaching the 77mm adaptor.
Step 2: attach the holder to the adaptor ring. By the way, if you already have the Lee filter holder system, then this one can also be used for the Formatt-Hitech filters.
Step 3: after you’ve composed your shot and set the camera to manual focus, simply slide the filter(s) into the adaptor. Make sure everything is screwed tightly!
B+W vs Formatt-Hitech ProStop IRND
Here are some comparisons between the Prostop IRND and B+W filters. If you want to see a comparison between the Prostop IRND and the Lee Big Stopper then check the review on this website by Charles Paul Azzopardi. These photo’s were taken with the Canon 5d mk III and the Canon 17-40 lens. They’re all straight out of the camera.
I used the B+W 6 and 10 stops circular filters and the ProStop IRND 6 and 10 stops 100mm rectangular filters. Note that the B+W filters have been my preferred filters for many years and I won many awards using those filters.
This first set of pictures show a comparison with the 10 stops filters (click the image to enlarge)
This second set shows a comparison with the 6 and 10 stops filters stacked (click the image to enlarge).
There are quite some differences as you can see. The B+W filters have a red colorcast, where the ProStop filters look more neutral with a more blueish colour cast, similar to the Lee filter colour cast. The colour cast in both cases are easy to correct in post processing.
There’s definitely more vignetting on the B+W filters, especially when the exposure time increases.
Another thing that struck me was the difference in quality between the images shot with the B+W 16 stops of filters and the Formatt-Hitech 16 stops: as you can see from the comparison below of the same images as in the previous comparison but now zoomed in at the background at 200%, there’s more noise and artefacts in the B+W image and also look at the amount of details in the Formatt-Hitech IRND filter shot, there’s just more to see.
Rod Clark on filters
Rod Clark recently did an interview on ND filters for long exposure photography and of course the Prostop IRND.
The ProStop IRND filters are to me the most neutral filters out there. The great thing about these filters is that they are widely available – this in contrast to some other brands. You can order them through this link: order right here.