For seascapes, is 10 stops of neutral density ever enough? Not for me, it seems, especially when I’m using a digital camera such as the Nikon D810. I invariably resort to stacking a 3.0 with a 0.9 or 1.8 for long exposures, so after reading good reviews I decided to invest in a Formatt-Hitech Firecrest 16 irnd filter and the bonus is it fits my existing Lee 100mm holder. Somewhat cheaper than the ubiquitous Lee Big Stopper at around £90 it is claimed to render more neutrally, free of colour casts such as the cyan cast of the Big Stopper and magenta casts of other resin 10-stop filters. On opening the delivered package, the first thing I discovered is that you have to fit the minicell foam gasket yourself to the back of the filter! A pre-cut self adhesive gasket is supplied in the box and it’s a fairly straightforward process to lay the Firecrest 16 on a sheet of A4 plain paper, draw around it with a pencil and position the gasket equidistant sticky side up within the square and then carefully place the filter over the square. There seems to be a lot of discussion around the forums about this, why Formatt-Hitech have taken the decision to supply the gasket as a diy exercise is a mystery to me but it’s easy enough with a little care and preparation.
I much prefer having just the one 16-stop filter to work with instead of stacking two filters and the Firecrest coating seems to suppress flare quite well, which is important for those long exposure sunrise and sunset images. I have a trip to the West of Ireland coming up in May and I’m looking forward to using the Firecrest 16. So far, so good with this filter!
La Gomera Sunset.
Nikon D750, Nikon 28mm f1.8G lens