September 30, 2014, 10:08:54 AM

Author Topic: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?  (Read 1051 times)

xps

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I want to buy an graduated filter kit for landscape photographing.

As Lee is very expensive, I am looking for cheaper, but still good graduated filters. Size 100x150mm

I found the company "Hitech".
Does anybody own this gratuated ND filters? Which quality to buy as there are some different types available?

I would suggest to buy 3 soft and 3 hard ND filters, and maybe 1 or 2 coloured filters (tabacco...)

Is this an good decision, or does anybody know another good product?

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RobertG.

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2014, 02:46:15 AM »
Hi,
I use the Hitech soft edge grad ND and hard edge grad ND filters in size 100 mm x 125 mm for more than 3 years now. They are pretty good, especially for this price. I guess the quality of the normal Hitech filters is all the same. Only the size of filters differs. A real difference will only make their new Firecrest glass filter series, which is not yet fully available (only the 4" x 5.65" are for sale).

The Hitech filters are made of very high quality resin, which is normally not an issue. It's light weight and quite scratch resistant. Only when shooting in direct, strong sunlight it becomes obvious that something else was put in front of the lens. Then their might be some additional reflections and a slight decrease in sharpness. But in such a situation lens flare is the biggest concern. Lens flare ruined some of my shots but the reflections of the filter never did. The slight decrease in sharpness is hardly ever noticeable and was no concern for me so far.

For a start I would buy the 3 filter soft grad ND kit. The 0.6 soft grad ND filter will probably be used most of the time. The hard edge grad ND kit is OK but not that useful. I can't remember when I shot the last time with the 0.3 & 0.9 hard grad ND filters.... I guess except for some test shots I never used them again.

Instead of some colored filters I would buy the reverse grad ND filters. Both, the 0.6 & 0.9, are quite useful. I use them very often for sunset and sunrise shots. They really make a difference and are worth the price.

BTW, I never used other grad ND filters before, so I can't compare the Hitech one to other brands.

Kind regards,
Robert
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sagittariansrock

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2014, 04:14:21 AM »
In my opinion, purchasing subpar grad ND filters might lead to color casts and other optical aberrations.

Fixing color casts in post is hard enough for a solid ND filter (as I have experienced with a 6 stop Hitech solid ND), can't imagine how much of a PITA a grad ND will be...

Grad ND filters are expensive- but you can buy one or two at a time, and slowly build your stash. Also, you can often find good deals on B&H, Adorama and FredMiranda on used filters. I bought two Singh Ray filters, one 2 stop hard and one 3 stop soft, and that has sufficed for me so far. And I only paid $ 45 for each, used (condition=9), from Adorama.

I would recommend sticking with Lee or Singh Ray.
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siegsAR

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2014, 06:45:05 AM »
I have a 4x6 hard edge, soft edge, & a reverse grad from Hitech, all 0.6 except for the 0.9 rev. I also have their 105mm cpol.

So far they are quite good optically and quality-wise. My SE has few tiny scratches, but they don't scratch that easy though, specially if you store them in a quality filter pouch - one thing I've neglected before.

As Robert mentioned they are worth the price. I would've gone for the Lee's if only they were available at the time of my purchase; Singh Ray was just too expensive for a hobbyist like me.
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xps

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2014, 08:32:41 AM »
Thank you for your postings.
The problem with scratches are an issue to me, as I climb around in the alps and Dolomites. So, as I´ve been told, the LEE products would be a little bit more "resistant".

I will fetch the Foundation Kit with the 58mm and 77 slim adapter and the set of 3 soft ND graduation filters. Maybe followed by an hard .6 ND and 1-2 coloured filters. What are "reverse filters"?

Does anybody use the Adaptor to mount an 105mm polarizer in front of te lee filterholder?
Does it work well, or is the IQ much worser than without the filters?[/i]

I will buy an Heliopan 105mm polarizer, as it is much cheaper and the factory is near Munich. The quality of the Heliopan Filters are quite good, I own a lot of them.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 10:57:04 AM by xps »

Vivid Color

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2014, 10:29:01 AM »
Dear xps,

I recently bought the Lee filter foundation kit, 77 mm slim adapter, and a 67 mm regular adapter. I also bought two Hitech filters--a 2-stop ND grad and a 3-stop reverse grad filter. Finally, at the Calumet going out of business sale in New York City, I bought three Lee filters in various colors for $50. I wouldn't have normally bought the colored filters but at 75% off the regular price, I thought it would be fun to experiment with them.

Although the Hitech filters are 1.5 mm in comparison with the 2 mm Lee filters, the Hiech filters fit firmly into the Lee filter foundation kit and do not slip or slide around.

I am also very concerned about scratches on filters even though I am very careful with my gear. So I bought the following filter case:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home/search?N=0&InitialSearch=yes&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search&Ntt=Filter%20hive

I like it because the filter insert can be removed from the outer case, so essence you have two cases. It is a pretty well-designed case and you can wear it on a regular belt. I just recently received it and placed my filters into the filter case. I actually needed to remove the insert and put the foundation kit and adapters into the outer case due to the bulk. I am going to be taking everything with me to Hawaii next week and I will let you know how things go in terms of how well this case will protect my filters. The only thing I would've done differently if I would've designed this case would have been to use a different fabric for the filter insert. I am really hoping the fabric they chose for the filter insert case will not itself cause scratches to my filters. Again, after my two week trip, I can let you know.

At this point, my only other concern is to prevent the filters from breaking during transit. I'm not so concerned about how they'll be in my camera bag if I am hiking around, but whether they will survive the plane flight as bags can often get squished in overhead compartments in transit. Even if I put the filter cases in my rolling bag, there is still be issue of other stuff in the case mashing up against the filters. This may also be of concern to you for your mountain hikes. So I think I will find some sort of hard plastic case around the house that I can fit the filter insert case into.

Hope this helps,

Vivid


xps

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2014, 11:07:33 AM »
Dear xps,

I recently bought the Lee filter foundation kit, 77 mm slim adapter, and a 67 mm regular adapter. I also bought two Hitech filters--a 2-stop ND grad and a 3-stop reverse grad filter. Finally, at the Calumet going out of business sale in New York City, I bought three Lee filters in various colors for $50. I wouldn't have normally bought the colored filters but at 75% off the regular price, I thought it would be fun to experiment with them.

Although the Hitech filters are 1.5 mm in comparison with the 2 mm Lee filters, the Hiech filters fit firmly into the Lee filter foundation kit and do not slip or slide around.

I am also very concerned about scratches on filters even though I am very careful with my gear. So I bought the following filter case:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home/search?N=0&InitialSearch=yes&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search&Ntt=Filter%20hive

I like it because the filter insert can be removed from the outer case, so essence you have two cases. It is a pretty well-designed case and you can wear it on a regular belt. I just recently received it and placed my filters into the filter case. I actually needed to remove the insert and put the foundation kit and adapters into the outer case due to the bulk. I am going to be taking everything with me to Hawaii next week and I will let you know how things go in terms of how well this case will protect my filters. The only thing I would've done differently if I would've designed this case would have been to use a different fabric for the filter insert. I am really hoping the fabric they chose for the filter insert case will not itself cause scratches to my filters. Again, after my two week trip, I can let you know.

At this point, my only other concern is to prevent the filters from breaking during transit. I'm not so concerned about how they'll be in my camera bag if I am hiking around, but whether they will survive the plane flight as bags can often get squished in overhead compartments in transit. Even if I put the filter cases in my rolling bag, there is still be issue of other stuff in the case mashing up against the filters. This may also be of concern to you for your mountain hikes. So I think I will find some sort of hard plastic case around the house that I can fit the filter insert case into.

Hope this helps,

Vivid

That would be fine!
I store my filters in an microfiber inlay, which normally is used to store sunglasses towers. (10 filters up to 11x16cm). The inlay is protected in an normal tupperware box with an lockable cover, that has the same size like the inlay. It can be easily stored in my backpacks

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2014, 11:07:33 AM »

RobertG.

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2014, 11:25:01 AM »
Hi,
I store my filters in the Lee Multi Filter Pouch and well, all 10 pouches are filled with Hitech filters :D The Lee filter pouch is very well made and I can recommend it. For the foundation kit + 105mm pol filter I also use the Lee pouch.

I do use the Lee foundation kit with two filters slots and the 105mm filter holder attached to it. I use an older 105mm Sigma EX pol filter for about 50% of all landscape shots.

For a test shot a minute ago I attached for the first time the wide angle adapter ring (82mm) to the Tamron SP 24-70 mm lens. In front of the lens was the Lee foundation kit + 105 pol filter. A little bit of mechanical vignetting is visible in the extrem corners from 24mm till ~33mm. At 35mm the vignetting is gone. But I normally use the TS-E lenses for such applications. With the TS-E 24 mm L II vignetting occurs at 5mm of shift. 

A reverse grad ND filter is a special filter for sunsets and sunrises. The Hitech website says:
"The reverse grad is a vital tool if you are looking to take sunrise or sunset shots. This is because the ND part of the grad is upside down, with the darker part at the middle of the filter and the lighter part at the top. This ensures the maximum light reduction when the sun is at or near the horizon." I couldn't describe it much better.

Best regards,
Robert
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NancyP

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2014, 01:02:08 PM »
My starter kit was the Lee holder, Lee adapter rings in the several sizes needed (including WA rings), Lee 0.6 soft ND grad, Hitech 0.9 "reverse" ND grad. Next up will be the 105 mm adapter plus 105mm CPL. The Hitech reverse grad is quite nice, I don't see any difference in quality between it and the Lee, at least in the few comparative shots that I have made. If you want to use a CPL plus grad, I would guess that you might have to reduce the number of slots from 2 to 1 in order to minimize or avoid hard vignetting.

xps

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2014, 06:11:50 AM »
@ RobertG: Much thanks for your personal help and the pictures!

xps

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2014, 06:25:27 AM »
My starter kit was the Lee holder, Lee adapter rings in the several sizes needed (including WA rings), Lee 0.6 soft ND grad, Hitech 0.9 "reverse" ND grad. Next up will be the 105 mm adapter plus 105mm CPL. The Hitech reverse grad is quite nice, I don't see any difference in quality between it and the Lee, at least in the few comparative shots that I have made. If you want to use a CPL plus grad, I would guess that you might have to reduce the number of slots from 2 to 1 in order to minimize or avoid hard vignetting.

Much thanks.

I ordered the Lee holder system and Hitech (ND hard and soft set) filters today. the reverse filters will follow in some weeks. (A question of money, as the whole system is not quite cheap).

As 105mm CPL filters I prefer the Heliopan High Transmission Polfilter circ. SH-PMC in the slim version. The advantage is, that this CPL is not as dark as the B&W Käsemann, I owned before.


lintoni

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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2014, 06:49:41 AM »
I'm sure this link has been posted before, but you can use a pair of grads to make a reverse grad.

https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2010/12/ad-hoc-reverse-nd-grad-filters/
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Re: Hitech 100 Series ND Grad Soft Edge Filter Kit - Worth buying?
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2014, 06:49:41 AM »