formatt-hitech firecrest anti light leak holder - Firecrest 16 Stops Formatt-Hitech ND Filter

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  1. Thanks for sharing your first impression concerning the Firecrest 16 ND filter. It seems obvious that the new filter has improved a lot.
    However, when I use this filter I have the impression that it is not exactly 16 stops. I need to correct the exposure time for every picture in PS with about 0,5 to 0,75 stop (lighter). Do you have the same experience?

    greetings, Adri van den Hooven

    1. Thanks very much, Adri!
      I can’t say I noticed this so far, but there can be different causes for something like this happening. One thing is how you meter the light in the scene. The best is to meter it on a neutrally lit surface , not a dark or bright one and lock the metering then focus wherever you need so you don’t relate the two. Then, another things that I saw happening is that, when the light is changing – at sunset or when the weather is unstable, you may get variations in the exposure between the metered light and the long exposure you get . Not much to do in this case, just shoot again if the difference is too big and the light conditions have changes too much during the long exposure. Again, it has happened to me that the exposure was off without any apparent reason, But I had this experience with all my filters at times, so I guess that there are moments that all filters go crazy. When this happens I just repeat the capture if I still have the conditions I need. The good thing is that it didn’t happen yet with the Firecrest 16. But I’ll keep an eye on this issue and let you know how it goes.

  2. great review !! Julia Anne a very clear, informative and interesting review ,these filters are defiantly on my must have list to buy .

  3. Nice review Julia Anna. Can’t wait to try my new Firecrest 16 stop out. You’re right about feeling inspired by the Firecrest filter. I felt that same way when I took mine out of the box and examined it. I pretty much feel inspired by all of my equipment.

    1. Thank you, Brian! You’ll love the filter and I can only imagine how inspired you must feel now after getting the Firecrest 16 and the T/S. It’s the ultimate set up for architecture LE. Have fun with them!! And looking forward to your photos with them!

  4. Excellent review Julia!

    As a recent changer from Nikon to Fujifilm, I’m looking for a ND filter solution for my Fujifilm X-series cameras and lenses; Problem is they all have a different lens diameter, some 58mm, 72mm and an upcoming lens (16-55 2.8) will be 77mm. Have you tried step up rings with these filters yet? Thinking of getting the 77mm version…

    Still not sure, if I want to go for the circular or the square filter system?

    Thanks for your feedback

    1. Hi Bjorn,
      You won’t have any problem with the step-up or down rings, I have used them with the Formatt-Hitech filters in the past and tried the Firecrest 16 on my other lenses too by using rings (I have the 82mm version for my T/S lens) and had no problem. So you can go for it. As for what version to choose, its more a question of what you are used to shoot with but I think the circular is more practical and it has no light leakages either, So you may consider it.
      Glad you liked the review, thanks very much and good luck shooting with the Firecrest!

  5. Hi Julia anna, i shoot with the LEE Big and little stopper stacked together, have you ever used this set up together, gives maybe approx 14-15 stops… Yes gives a blue colour cast but for BW which i mainly do now, doesn’t seem to be an issue, but I’m interested in your comments about contrast and tonal difference . If you have shot with LEE how do the systems compare ? Also on a technical note do you know if the Hicrest 16 will physically fit in the LEE square 100mm holder system ? Cheers Steven.

    1. Hi Steven,
      I haven’t shot personally with the Lee system, because I was never patient enough to wait for the delivery times Lee has, so this stopped me to order it in the past. But I know people who shoot with this system and I’ve seen the results from first hand and I’ve also seen RAW files shot with the Lee filters. . While the blue color cast is not annoying if you convert to B&W, you will always get a better initial B&W conversion if the RAW file covers all the colors in the scene and do not remove some to replace them with others, which is happening in the case of the filters that give you color cast, not only Lee but most of them. One of the results of this color cast and infrared contamination of the colors is the fact that the blacks are not so pure and this affects the overall contrast of the image. This is why I prefer the Firecrest, because these filters have overcome all these problems and give you a much better initial image to start with. This is vital for those working in color but it’s important for the B&W photographers too. If you will work on such an image you will understand immediately what I mean. You have a wider range of gray tones to work with. As for the Firecrest fitting the Lee holder, from what I’ve heard, the Firecrest with the gasket fit on it is a bit thicker than the Lee filter and this can give you issues when you slide it into the Lee holder, while the Hitech holder is adjustable. Hope this helps, Steven. Cheers!

  6. Hi
    I’m waiting delivery of my Firecrest …. only ever used 10 stops of ND! I just wondered if it is at all possible to compose the scene with the filter in place using Live View? Thanks

    1. Paul, it’s possible to compose through the filter if you work with a Canon that has the possibility to show you the scene simulating it but you need to tweak your exposure or ISO to make it visible. Good luck with the new Firecrest, you’ll love it!

  7. Hi, just want to respond to a point in your post. You mention a color cast with the 15-stop Singh-Ray. I shoot with it, along with several of my friends, and none of us have experienced any color cast at all, just neutral color, unlike most of the other competitive NDs. Singh-Ray also recently introduced the first ever 20-stop, also with no color cast, for very long exposures, even at wider lens apertures and in very bright light.

    1. Hi Stephen! Thanks for your feedback. I haven’t shot with Singh-Ray myself and the info I have is from others who have used the filters. They are great filters and I’m sure they perform very well in most situations, but from my information, there were cases of color cast in certain shooting conditions and this is what I’m referring too. But good to have your opinion too for comparison. Thanks a lot!

  8. Hi! Great review. Just wonder about the vignetting. You write that there is no vignetting with the glass screw filter, and thats nice. But what about using the Firecrest in a filter holder, like Lucroit. Will there also be no vignetting?

    1. Hi Jan. Indeed, there is no vignetting with the Firecrest 16 because it is very slim. If you use square filters you won’t get vignetting anyway and this was the main reason to use square filters instead of stacking 2 circulars to get 16 stops (10 + 6). But the problem with the square filters is that you might have light leakage with them so you need to cover their edges, which is something you don’t get with circular filters. If you use an ultra-wide lens though which is too bulgy for screwing a circular filter, you will need a square. No vignette then either, but keep an eye on the light leakage.

  9. Excellent review ! I have just ordered 77m firecrest 4.8. I cannot find any review on Firecrest CPL. I want to stack CPL with 4.8 without vignetting. Is there colour cast on B+W 77mm Kaesemann XS-Pro Circular Polarizer MRC Nano Filter (0.7cm thick) ? Recently, I have issues stacking Prostop 10 IRND with Grads. The lower half of my photo went pink. It was a sunny morning. I never used a black material to wrap around Lucroit filter (The grads are 200mm). But I did cover the top of the Lucroit filter and the pink circles went away. I want to think that I can stack Prostop 10 IRND with Grads because there are 2 slots. Any barn doors for Lucroit filter in future ? Love the 2-stop hard and soft gards !

    1. Glad you liked the review, Heng.
      I haven’t yet used the Firecrest polarizer, but I’m using the regular Hitech polarizer and the results are very good, with no color cast. Generally the polarizers don’t have serious issues with color cast, and much less than ND filers do. Normally you can stack NDs with grads and if you use Firecrest for both you won’t have problems with color cast, even if you stack them. What I see in your images is most likely a light leakage and not a problem with color cast. If you see that you get these leakages, you could cover your holder and filters better with a cloth or with duct tape on the edges and openings. It works really well. Good luck!

  10. Great review. I read this article and was impressed and ordered my own filter. My first impression you can find. I like the true colors and the less color cast.

  11. Going to buy firecrest 16 was planning getting 82mm circular for my 24-70 ii. However am I better getting square one for le landscapes

  12. Hi Julia,

    I truly enjoyed your review about the Firecrest 16stop ND filter.
    I already have the square version, but dont find very practical the square system, although I sometimes need to use ND grad filter.
    As you use more often the ND circular filter, how do you do it when you need to use a ND grad?
    Thanking you in advance for your reply.

    1. Hi Francisco,
      Glad you liked the article. I prefer the circular filters when I can use them because they are more practical. In essence you only need a filter and your lens if you work with the circular filters. However there are cases when I use the square filters on holder. This happens when I need to use an ND grad, as you mention, or when I use an ultra wide angle lens, like my Canon tilt shift 17mm that is too bulky to use with a circular filter and needs the holder. I think in the end it is just a matter of getting used to use both and the result justifies the little more effort you need to make when you use the square filters.

  13. Hi Julia
    Thanks for the review. Anybody using the Canon 5D series camera may be interested to know that the rear body cap fits snugly over the viewfinder eyecup thereby cutting out any extraneous light.

  14. Great review! Where in North America can I order the Firecrest circular ND filters for 1-9 stops? I can’t seem to find them anywhere.

    Also, are you sponsored by Formatt Hitech?


  15. I was looking for reviews on Formatt-Hitechs Firecrest 13 and 16 and accidently stumble upon this great review. Thanks for sharing!

    Im considering upgrading my filter collection and im in doubt whether to go round or squared filters. Furthermore im considering a combination of Formatt Hitechs Firecrest Circular polarizer and Firecrest ND filters.

    For practical and economical reasons im most keen on the round ND filters since i rarely shoot with ND grads and the lenses i use have the same filter size. However im worried about vignetting issues when stacking the Firecrest circular polarizer with the Firecrest ND filter on Ultra Wide angle lenses (16-35mm).

    Have you tried the combination and experienced any vignetting issues?

    Thanks in advance.

  16. Hello Julia,
    Thanks for the review, I was just about to order a firecrest square 10 stop filter to replace my Lee Big Stopper which got broken when I read some reviews which said that you can’t use them with lenses over about 50mm, Hitech admit there is a problem and you should use the 4mm ones. Also another review said there was a problem using them with grey grads he got funny effects. I have not experienced any problems with Lee filters.

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