The folks at B&H recently sent me a great filter kit to put through its paces.  The Formatt Hitech Firecrest Patrick Di Fruscia 100mm Signature Edition Pro Essentials Kit was a perfect companion on my recent trip to photograph the Valley of Fire in Las Vegas.  I used it to shoot stills, HDR photos, and time-lapse sequences. While I shot on a Sony A7RII and a ZEISS Batis 2.8/18, the filter is designed to work with almost any kit.

What’s in the Box

This kit is a B&H exclusive, and its very well thought out.  Everything I needed, plus all the pouches to safely carry everything was in the kit. It’s a well thought out kit that’s perfect for landscape photographers and those who want to be able to drag the shutter more.

  • 100mm Firecrest Filter Holder
  • Light-Blocking Cover
  • Included Circular Polarizer Filter
  • Solid ND 1.2 Filter
  • Soft-Edge Graduated ND 0.9 Filter
  • Patrick Di Fruscia Booklet

Building the Kit

While I’ve worked with rectangular and square filters for my video work, I was initially a little hesitant in my photo work.  When I am out shooting landscapes, I often have to move around to get the shots I want.  I like to do so quickly, so I was concerned how rugged the kit would be.  Attaching three pieces of glass to the front of my end seemed like it would be a bit outlandish at first, but the process was easy.

Step 1: Attach a filter holder.  You’ll first screw in the adapter ring.  Included in the kit is an 82mm ring as well as step-up rings to be used with lenses that have 67mm, 72mm, or 77mm front filter threads.  You can also buy optional rings for 46mm, 52mm, 58mm, or 62mm front filter threads.

Step 2: Attach the 82mm Firecrest Circular Polarizer.  This filter is the perfect addition to help restore contrast in clouds or to cut down on reflections. Once attached the filter remains incredibly useful due to a handy roller dial on the filter holder case.  Even when the rig is fully built, it’s easy to adjust the circular polarizer’s angle with just one finger.

This small wheel makes it easy to rotate the circular polarizer.

Step 3: Connect the filter holder which is designed to hold up to up to two, 100mm-wide, 2mm-thick filters.  The holder constructed from a matte black, scratch-resistant plastic and has a nice feel to it that’s non-slippery. The insides are a durable aluminum-alloy that’s quite rugged. The holder easily splits apart to make it simple to insert a 100 x 100mm filters can fit entirely within.

Step 4: Attach up to two filters.  Including with this kit are:

  • 100 x 100mm Firecrest ND 1.2 Filter.  This is a solid neutral density filter providing a four stop reduction in exposure.  This allows for shooting wider open for shallower depth of field or to drag the shutter to smooth out the clouds.  The filter is optimized to reduce UV and infrared light to avoid any color casts on long exposure shots.
  • 100 x 150mm Firecrest Graduated ND 0.9 Filter. This filter gradually transitions from a 3-stop reduction to a clear area with no reduction.  It can also be easily slid up and down within the filter holder to adjust its transition.

Step 5: Adjust as needed, which was my favorite part.  Twirl the side dial to move the circular polarizer.  Slide the variable ND up and down to control the transition point.  Press the release button to rotate the entire box as needed.

Does it Work?

The kit was a solid performer.  I was able to easily assemble the kit and firmly attach it to the camera.  Even carrying the tripod over my shoulder with filters attached was solid (although given the price of the kit, I’d officially recommend detaching before moving.  A side lever made the removal and reconnection process quite simple and only a matter of seconds.

The filters were simple to adjust and position.  Using an Allen wrench, it’s also easy to adjust the tension on the filters. The holder also offered slotted and closed end gaskets (depending on the filter used).  These made it easy to block any stray light from entering on the tops or sides (which would negatively affect a long exposure time).

Each filter is very high quality for optimum optical clarity and color fidelity.  Each neutral density filter offers 15 layers of anti-reflection coating. These coatings offer protection to the filter to avoid scratches.  They also stay clean longer and can hold up to washing.  The neutral density is also sandwiched between two layers of glass, helps protect against accidental scratches.

The Bottom Line

The Formatt Hitech Firecrest Patrick Di Fruscia 100mm Signature Edition Pro Essentials Kit is a welcome addition to my camera bag.  I found the kit very flexible with the ability to shoot with 1, 2, or 3 filters at once.  The ability to rotate and change filters make this quite versatile.  The kit’s included carrying cases is also a good idea, as it will keep everything safe. The kit is a well-constructed, premium quality kit that gives great results. If you’re serious about landscape photography and use reasonable caution, this kit should last you a very long time.

This kit is an exclusive B&H bundle.  You can check the specs and the price by clicking here.

Gear Used