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Author Topic: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters  (Read 8818 times)

d

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Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« on: July 05, 2015, 08:24:21 AM »
Just wondering if any other member here have purchased one of Breakthrough Photography's ND10 filters?  If so, have you noticed any issues with the filter coating?

I ordered one in an 82mm size at the end of May, after reading Brian @ TDP's excellent comparison of 10-stop NDs -
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/10-Stop-Neutral-Density-Filter.aspx

It arrived in good time, is very nicely constructed, but was a little dusty straight out of the packaging.  While using a blower rocket to puff the dust away, and holding it up to a light to check, I noticed there were a couple of areas on the filter where the coating seemed lighter, as if some of the coating had smeared off during the manufacturing process.  Taking it outside and checking against a clear sky showed the same thing - two distinct areas showed a band of lighter coating.  This was viewable looking through from either side (i.e. definitely not a reflection).  The largest of the areas was maybe 18-20mm long by 5 or 6mm wide, so a noticeable size even on an 82mm diameter filter.

I emailed Breakthrough Photography, and received a quick reply from Graham there, who hadn't seen this before, and quickly offered to send a replacement.  This arrived quickly (in the meantime I sent the first one back for inspection by B.P.), however the second filter exhibited a different problem - two points on the surface where there didn't appear to be any coating at all - a torch held behind the filter revealed two bright points of light.  Think of the pinholes in a pinhole camera x2, about a 7 or 8mm apart, and 15mm in from the edge of the filter frame.

Another email to Graham, another replacement sent, and I returned the second filter (but not before snapping a quick photo of the problem, attached, showing a red LED torch positioned behind the filter).

The third filter arrived late this week, and I finally had time to open it today for a look.  Like the first filter, this one has an area where the coating seems lighter, and a light source viewed through it is slightly brighter then when viewed through the rest of the filter.  The band is smaller than on the first sample, thankfully, and not quite as light either - it's a closer density to what it should be, however it still points to some kind of manufacturing issue with the coating or whatever is responsible for attenuating the light.

Whether it will have any visible effect on image I've yet to determine.  I suspect the first sample might have, the second on definitely would have, but this third one might be ok.  Given that I've now had three samples, all with potential issues, I suspect I'm not the only one who might have purchased one of these filters exhibiting this issue.  Anyone here have one they'd be willing to check?

Cheers,
d.

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Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« on: July 05, 2015, 08:24:21 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2015, 09:41:01 AM »
Interesting and unfortunate.  It's an easy check, that you've seen it in three successive filters suggests a possible manufacturing issue and a very likely QC issue. 

I have four 10-stop ND filters (B+W 77mm, Schneider Optics 82mm, Fotodiox 145mm, and Lee Big Stopper), none exhibit flaws as you are seeing.
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1982chris911

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2015, 01:12:52 PM »
Just wondering if any other member here have purchased one of Breakthrough Photography's ND10 filters?  If so, have you noticed any issues with the filter coating?

I ordered one in an 82mm size at the end of May, after reading Brian @ TDP's excellent comparison of 10-stop NDs -
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/10-Stop-Neutral-Density-Filter.aspx

It arrived in good time, is very nicely constructed, but was a little dusty straight out of the packaging.  While using a blower rocket to puff the dust away, and holding it up to a light to check, I noticed there were a couple of areas on the filter where the coating seemed lighter, as if some of the coating had smeared off during the manufacturing process.  Taking it outside and checking against a clear sky showed the same thing - two distinct areas showed a band of lighter coating.  This was viewable looking through from either side (i.e. definitely not a reflection).  The largest of the areas was maybe 18-20mm long by 5 or 6mm wide, so a noticeable size even on an 82mm diameter filter.

I emailed Breakthrough Photography, and received a quick reply from Graham there, who hadn't seen this before, and quickly offered to send a replacement.  This arrived quickly (in the meantime I sent the first one back for inspection by B.P.), however the second filter exhibited a different problem - two points on the surface where there didn't appear to be any coating at all - a torch held behind the filter revealed two bright points of light.  Think of the pinholes in a pinhole camera x2, about a 7 or 8mm apart, and 15mm in from the edge of the filter frame.

Another email to Graham, another replacement sent, and I returned the second filter (but not before snapping a quick photo of the problem, attached, showing a red LED torch positioned behind the filter).

The third filter arrived late this week, and I finally had time to open it today for a look.  Like the first filter, this one has an area where the coating seems lighter, and a light source viewed through it is slightly brighter then when viewed through the rest of the filter.  The band is smaller than on the first sample, thankfully, and not quite as light either - it's a closer density to what it should be, however it still points to some kind of manufacturing issue with the coating or whatever is responsible for attenuating the light.

Whether it will have any visible effect on image I've yet to determine.  I suspect the first sample might have, the second on definitely would have, but this third one might be ok.  Given that I've now had three samples, all with potential issues, I suspect I'm not the only one who might have purchased one of these filters exhibiting this issue.  Anyone here have one they'd be willing to check?

Cheers,
d.


Wanted to get them as a replacement for my B&W 10NDs as the review you posted these to be better than the Sing Ray ones - however it look like I might need to wait a little more till this gets solved (if it has an impact on IQ)
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grahamclarkphoto

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2015, 04:10:31 PM »
Hello David,

As I mentioned to you in our email exchange, we have shipped thousands of X3 NDs, and this issue you experienced with the coating is absolutely not common.

Problems will always occur during manufacturing. That's manufacturing for you. The goal is not perfection, but rather to keep issues contained at very low thresholds of units shipped. To do this we monitor problems as they occur and trace it back to the specific manufacturing cycle it came from to check other units for inconsistencies, which is why we laser engrave serial numbers into each filter frame. Each serial correspond to the specific manufacturing cycle, which in turn gives us quite a bit of insight and analytics into problems.

When we look at the numbers we're looking for patterns, not flukes.

Click below to download the X3 ND White Paper for details on our alternative manufacturing methods, which are quite complex and have never been done before, which is what makes the X3 ND the worlds sharpest and most color neutral ND.

X3 ND White Paper: https://app.box.com/shared/static/j9bxhih75fldzc1kdq89htyjrlt19gmi.pdf

All of that said, we shipped you a replacement immediately and paid you for all return expenses from Australia to USA with no questions.

Last week we also refunded you 110% what you paid for the filter, per our guarantee. We do this for every filter to eliminate the photographers risk and instead we take on all the risk, so problems like this don't ever affect photographers monetarily.

No other company does this, but we stand behind our stuff when problems happen.

We're finishing a manufacturing cycle of X3 ND 10-stops now, so check back when they're in stock and you can get another if you like, or check out the Singh-Ray Mor-Slo. It's another great alternative to the X3 ND that we highly recommend, even though Singh-Ray is our competitor :)

Graham
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 04:27:08 PM by grahamclarkphoto »
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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2015, 04:13:38 PM »
Interesting and unfortunate.  It's an easy check, that you've seen it in three successive filters suggests a possible manufacturing issue and a very likely QC issue. 

I have four 10-stop ND filters (B+W 77mm, Schneider Optics 82mm, Fotodiox 145mm, and Lee Big Stopper), none exhibit flaws as you are seeing.

I agree, B+W has great QA. That said, I have a B+W CPL on my desk with MRC cracking.

Problems will always occur here and there with any product, it's at what percentage of overall units shipped that exhibit issues and how the company handles it that matters, in my opinion. :)

Graham
"Why limit yourself to what your eyes see when you have an opportunity to extend your vision?" - Edward Weston

sunnyVan

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2015, 04:55:15 PM »
This is a little concerning. If I paint 8 layers on my wall the likelihood of missing some spots should be pretty low.

I ordered mine over a month ago and am still waiting for it. Hopefully this batch is problem free.
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d

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2015, 05:46:13 PM »
Hello David,

As I mentioned to you in our email exchange, we have shipped thousands of X3 NDs, and this issue you experienced with the coating is absolutely not common.

Problems will always occur during manufacturing. That's manufacturing for you. The goal is not perfection, but rather to keep issues contained at very low thresholds of units shipped. To do this we monitor problems as they occur and trace it back to the specific manufacturing cycle it came from to check other units for inconsistencies, which is why we laser engrave serial numbers into each filter frame. Each serial correspond to the specific manufacturing cycle, which in turn gives us quite a bit of insight and analytics into problems.

When we look at the numbers we're looking for patterns, not flukes.

Click below to download the X3 ND White Paper for details on our alternative manufacturing methods, which are quite complex and have never been done before, which is what makes the X3 ND the worlds sharpest and most color neutral ND.

X3 ND White Paper: https://app.box.com/shared/static/j9bxhih75fldzc1kdq89htyjrlt19gmi.pdf

All of that said, we shipped you a replacement immediately and paid you for all return expenses from Australia to USA with no questions.

Last week we also refunded you 110% what you paid for the filter, per our guarantee. We do this for every filter to eliminate the photographers risk and instead we take on all the risk, so problems like this don't ever affect photographers monetarily.

No other company does this, but we stand behind our stuff when problems happen.

We're finishing a manufacturing cycle of X3 ND 10-stops now, so check back when they're in stock and you can get another if you like, or check out the Singh-Ray Mor-Slo. It's another great alternative to the X3 ND that we highly recommend, even though Singh-Ray is our competitor :)

Graham

Hi Graham,

Thanks for your reply here, and also through email.  While I understand your position and that no manufacturing run will be perfect, the "pattern" I've experienced so far is three shipped products, all with issues - I would love to "fluke" a good one!

And yes, I have received the refund from you, thanks, though it doesn't seem to have covered the $28 return postage I've spent in returning the first two filters - just the value of the product from what I can tell.

May I politely suggest that in future when replacing a product with a potential issue, that you have someone closely inspect the replacement, and that if it comes to sending a second replacement, you check it yourself?

While I appreciate your prompt handling of my concerns, and the eventual refund, I've still ended up with a less than optimal product - this really shouldn't be the case.  Fourth time lucky, perhaps?

I don't wish to discourage others from trying Breakthrough Photography filters - from all reports they produce excellent results, and they do stand behind their products - but I would suggest checking it over closely before putting it to use.

Cheers,
d.


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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2015, 05:46:13 PM »

grahamclarkphoto

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2015, 06:25:58 PM »
Hello David,

As I mentioned to you in our email exchange, we have shipped thousands of X3 NDs, and this issue you experienced with the coating is absolutely not common.

Problems will always occur during manufacturing. That's manufacturing for you. The goal is not perfection, but rather to keep issues contained at very low thresholds of units shipped. To do this we monitor problems as they occur and trace it back to the specific manufacturing cycle it came from to check other units for inconsistencies, which is why we laser engrave serial numbers into each filter frame. Each serial correspond to the specific manufacturing cycle, which in turn gives us quite a bit of insight and analytics into problems.

When we look at the numbers we're looking for patterns, not flukes.

Click below to download the X3 ND White Paper for details on our alternative manufacturing methods, which are quite complex and have never been done before, which is what makes the X3 ND the worlds sharpest and most color neutral ND.

X3 ND White Paper: https://app.box.com/shared/static/j9bxhih75fldzc1kdq89htyjrlt19gmi.pdf

All of that said, we shipped you a replacement immediately and paid you for all return expenses from Australia to USA with no questions.

Last week we also refunded you 110% what you paid for the filter, per our guarantee. We do this for every filter to eliminate the photographers risk and instead we take on all the risk, so problems like this don't ever affect photographers monetarily.

No other company does this, but we stand behind our stuff when problems happen.

We're finishing a manufacturing cycle of X3 ND 10-stops now, so check back when they're in stock and you can get another if you like, or check out the Singh-Ray Mor-Slo. It's another great alternative to the X3 ND that we highly recommend, even though Singh-Ray is our competitor :)

Graham

Hi Graham,

Thanks for your reply here, and also through email.  While I understand your position and that no manufacturing run will be perfect, the "pattern" I've experienced so far is three shipped products, all with issues - I would love to "fluke" a good one!

And yes, I have received the refund from you, thanks, though it doesn't seem to have covered the $28 return postage I've spent in returning the first two filters - just the value of the product from what I can tell.

May I politely suggest that in future when replacing a product with a potential issue, that you have someone closely inspect the replacement, and that if it comes to sending a second replacement, you check it yourself?

While I appreciate your prompt handling of my concerns, and the eventual refund, I've still ended up with a less than optimal product - this really shouldn't be the case.  Fourth time lucky, perhaps?

I don't wish to discourage others from trying Breakthrough Photography filters - from all reports they produce excellent results, and they do stand behind their products - but I would suggest checking it over closely before putting it to use.

Cheers,
d.

I don't personally inspect any of the filters as they come in, our optical engineers do. I only inspect patterns.

There's not a third ND filter, or fourth.

As I said before, if you're interested in getting a X3 ND you can wait until the next manufacturing run to get one, or get a Singh-Ray. They make excellent products.

Graham
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 06:28:47 PM by grahamclarkphoto »
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grahamclarkphoto

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2015, 06:28:01 PM »
This is a little concerning. If I paint 8 layers on my wall the likelihood of missing some spots should be pretty low.

I ordered mine over a month ago and am still waiting for it. Hopefully this batch is problem free.

It shouldn't be concerning - with thousands shipped we have yet to see a pattern for this issue.

As for your backordered X3 ND, depending on the strength and size it could ship on July 8th or as late as August 5th, if yours is shipped in the first manufacturing cycle.

Currently demand exceeds our manufacturing capacity, if you need one immediately check out Singh-Ray.

Graham
"Why limit yourself to what your eyes see when you have an opportunity to extend your vision?" - Edward Weston

neuroanatomist

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2015, 06:45:00 PM »
Interesting and unfortunate.  It's an easy check, that you've seen it in three successive filters suggests a possible manufacturing issue and a very likely QC issue. 

I have four 10-stop ND filters (B+W 77mm, Schneider Optics 82mm, Fotodiox 145mm, and Lee Big Stopper), none exhibit flaws as you are seeing.

I agree, B+W has great QA. That said, I have a B+W CPL on my desk with MRC cracking.

Problems will always occur here and there with any product, it's at what percentage of overall units shipped that exhibit issues and how the company handles it that matters, in my opinion. :)

Thanks for your reply, Graham.  I have no insights into B+W's internal procedures so I can't speak (directly) to their QA.  As for their QC, my relatively limited experience (~30 filters purchased over a 6-year period with no defects found) suggests that it's quite good. 

I certainly agree that after-sale support is critical, sounds like you're handling that very well.


I don't personally inspect any of the filters as they come in, our optical engineers do. I only inspect patterns.

There's not a third ND filter, or fourth.

From how I read d's posts, he's received three flawed filters in sequence, although only two have been returned.  I think what he's suggesting makes sense – if a customer returns a unit as defective, send a replacement.  If the same customer returns the replacement unit as again defective, that should be flagged and the re-replacement should be hand-checked for quality.   If it were me, getting a third defective unit in a row would mean a customer lost forever (and publicizing my dissatisfaction to the greatest extent possible).
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grahamclarkphoto

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2015, 06:54:31 PM »

... If the same customer returns the replacement unit as again defective, that should be flagged and the re-replacement should be hand-checked for quality ...

Every filter gets inspected by our optical engineers as they come in.

Graham
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2015, 07:02:03 PM »

... If the same customer returns the replacement unit as again defective, that should be flagged and the re-replacement should be hand-checked for quality ...

Every filter gets inspected by our optical engineers as they come in.

Perhaps it's a semantic confusion, when you say 'come in' are you referring to customer returns, or 'in' from manufacturing?  If an optical engineer inspects every filter before it goes out, what does that inspection entail?  Seems that flaws as reported here, visible by looking at a flashlight through the filter, should be easy to spot.
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sunnyVan

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2015, 07:11:34 PM »
Hello David,

As I mentioned to you in our email exchange, we have shipped thousands of X3 NDs, and this issue you experienced with the coating is absolutely not common.

Problems will always occur during manufacturing. That's manufacturing for you. The goal is not perfection, but rather to keep issues contained at very low thresholds of units shipped. To do this we monitor problems as they occur and trace it back to the specific manufacturing cycle it came from to check other units for inconsistencies, which is why we laser engrave serial numbers into each filter frame. Each serial correspond to the specific manufacturing cycle, which in turn gives us quite a bit of insight and analytics into problems.

When we look at the numbers we're looking for patterns, not flukes.

Click below to download the X3 ND White Paper for details on our alternative manufacturing methods, which are quite complex and have never been done before, which is what makes the X3 ND the worlds sharpest and most color neutral ND.

X3 ND White Paper: https://app.box.com/shared/static/j9bxhih75fldzc1kdq89htyjrlt19gmi.pdf

All of that said, we shipped you a replacement immediately and paid you for all return expenses from Australia to USA with no questions.

Last week we also refunded you 110% what you paid for the filter, per our guarantee. We do this for every filter to eliminate the photographers risk and instead we take on all the risk, so problems like this don't ever affect photographers monetarily.

No other company does this, but we stand behind our stuff when problems happen.

We're finishing a manufacturing cycle of X3 ND 10-stops now, so check back when they're in stock and you can get another if you like, or check out the Singh-Ray Mor-Slo. It's another great alternative to the X3 ND that we highly recommend, even though Singh-Ray is our competitor :)

Graham

Hi Graham,

Thanks for your reply here, and also through email.  While I understand your position and that no manufacturing run will be perfect, the "pattern" I've experienced so far is three shipped products, all with issues - I would love to "fluke" a good one!

And yes, I have received the refund from you, thanks, though it doesn't seem to have covered the $28 return postage I've spent in returning the first two filters - just the value of the product from what I can tell.

May I politely suggest that in future when replacing a product with a potential issue, that you have someone closely inspect the replacement, and that if it comes to sending a second replacement, you check it yourself?

While I appreciate your prompt handling of my concerns, and the eventual refund, I've still ended up with a less than optimal product - this really shouldn't be the case.  Fourth time lucky, perhaps?

I don't wish to discourage others from trying Breakthrough Photography filters - from all reports they produce excellent results, and they do stand behind their products - but I would suggest checking it over closely before putting it to use.

Cheers,
d.

To be fair, not all stores will pay for return postage even if the product was defective. It's as if you have to drive to a brick and mortar store to return things and the store won't pay for the gas.

Thank you for opening this thread. I will inspect more carefully when it arrives.
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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2015, 07:11:34 PM »

grahamclarkphoto

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2015, 07:57:25 PM »
Quote
Perhaps it's a semantic confusion, when you say 'come in' are you referring to customer returns, or 'in' from manufacturing?  If an optical engineer inspects every filter before it goes out, what does that inspection entail?  Seems that flaws as reported here, visible by looking at a flashlight through the filter, should be easy to spot.

Returns and exchanges

Graham
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d

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2015, 08:08:00 PM »
Interesting and unfortunate.  It's an easy check, that you've seen it in three successive filters suggests a possible manufacturing issue and a very likely QC issue. 

I have four 10-stop ND filters (B+W 77mm, Schneider Optics 82mm, Fotodiox 145mm, and Lee Big Stopper), none exhibit flaws as you are seeing.

I agree, B+W has great QA. That said, I have a B+W CPL on my desk with MRC cracking.

Problems will always occur here and there with any product, it's at what percentage of overall units shipped that exhibit issues and how the company handles it that matters, in my opinion. :)

Thanks for your reply, Graham.  I have no insights into B+W's internal procedures so I can't speak (directly) to their QA.  As for their QC, my relatively limited experience (~30 filters purchased over a 6-year period with no defects found) suggests that it's quite good. 

I certainly agree that after-sale support is critical, sounds like you're handling that very well.


I don't personally inspect any of the filters as they come in, our optical engineers do. I only inspect patterns.

There's not a third ND filter, or fourth.

From how I read d's posts, he's received three flawed filters in sequence, although only two have been returned.  I think what he's suggesting makes sense – if a customer returns a unit as defective, send a replacement.  If the same customer returns the replacement unit as again defective, that should be flagged and the re-replacement should be hand-checked for quality.   If it were me, getting a third defective unit in a row would mean a customer lost forever (and publicizing my dissatisfaction to the greatest extent possible).

That was pretty much my point, neuro.  I've just received my second replacement (i.e. third filter) after returning the other two - if I'm to order another, that would be my fourth!

I can't complain about Graham's service - he offered to replace the first filter straight away, and had it despatched next day.  When the second one arrived with it's two coating "pinholes", again he was quick to get a third on the way, and offered to refund both the cost of the product, and the return postage expenses incurred by myself.  So yes, excellent service in that regard - it goes above and beyond what most manufacturers offer.

I'm not interested in "publicizing my dissatisfaction to the greatest extent possible" - I'd have this all over dpreview and other forums if that were my intent.  I've posted here because TDP is a Canon oriented site, so I figure there might be a few people here who have ordered the same filter based on Brian's review and wondered if on close inspection there might be more slipping past BP's QC than they realise, or if I'm just really, REALLY unlucky.

All I really want is to end up with a filter with a complete, even coating.  Shouldn't be difficult given the thousands of filters shipped and the issue being "absolutely not common".  If I order and pay for a fourth, can this one be inspected prior to despatch?

d.

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Re: Breakthrough Photography ND10 filters
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2015, 08:08:00 PM »