Image courtesy of Bluethumb Photography
Formatt-Hitech Newsletter - July 2016
Welcome to the first issue of the New Formatt Hitech newsletter. This will be the first of many, and is designed to keep you, our valued Formatt Hitech customer, fully up to date with what’s going on both with our Company and our products…
In this issue
NEW!! Groundbreaking Firecrest 100mm Holder System.
NEW!! Fireburst Multicoloured Anamorphic Streak & Stackable Star Filters for Photo & Broadcast
Formatt Hitech acquired by Kenko Tokina Group and receives £2m ($3m) investment for expansion.
NEW!! Firecrest launched in 67mm and 85mm sizes.
Firecrest Production continues and is enhanced to meet demand.
NEW!! Upgraded Colby Brown Signature Edition landscape kits.
NEW!! First Chinese Signature Edition Kit from Qianli Zhang.
COMING SOON! Formatt Hitech opens in Southern California.
COMING SOON! New range of Firecrest ND and diffusion combinations for cinema and broadcast
Product Feature; Ken Kaminesky Does China!
NEW!!! Groundbreaking 100mm Firecrest Holder System
Available July 2016
Formatt Hitech already has the most extensive range of rectangular filters and holder systems, which accommodate filter sizes from as small as 67x67mm up to the super wide angle 165x200mm graduated filters.
For some time we have been researching what our customers really want and need in a holder system and have taken soundings form the many professional partners and featured artists whom we work with worldwide. We have been looking to develop a holder system which not only complements our existing modular range, but is also worthy of our prestigious FIRECREST brand.
- Revolutionary new top and bottom covers to almost completely eliminate light leakage when shooting long exposure, but which can be adapted also for use with graduated filters as well
- Adaptors / step rings come with the system as standard for all sizes from 67-82mm, and step rings for smaller lenses can be purchased separately
- Integrated top of the range Firecrest 82mm multicoated polariser comes as standard within the system. A unique geared mechanism allows for easy rotation whilst installed. The polariser can also be removed within its ring/adaptor for use as a screw in
- 2 fixed filter slots which take 100mm filters
- Extremely high quality lightweight aluminium design with extra oxidisation to reduce likelihood of scratching
The holder is designed for use with standard lenses, and all standard wide angle/zoom lenses. For super-wide lenses our 165mm system should be used.
The Firecrest 100mm Holder Kit is comprised of the following:
- Firecrest 100mm holder with polariser control wheel
- Rotating 82mm Adaptor Ring
- 82mm Firecrest Ultra-slim (non-rotating) Circular Polariser
- Two part anti-reflective soft-touch outer case
- 1 x Set of Solid End caps
- 1 x Set Vented End caps for use with graduated filters
- 67-82mm Step-down ring
- 72-82mm Step-down ring
- 77-82mm Step-down ring
- Luxury pouch
- Allen key
The system has an all-inclusive retail price of £129.99 ex VAT!! (extra step adaptors £12.99 exc VAT). This is not much more than the cost of the valuable Firecrest polariser which is included as a bonus within the system, so it represents tremendous value.
The first production batch of these fantastic holders will be available by mid July 2016.
Whilst we have made every effort to predict the likely demand, and WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT ORDERS ARE PLACED NOW to avoid disappointment as interest is expected to be huge. You can pre-order NOW direct from our website by placing a 25% deposit.
ORDER NOW FOR EARLY DELIVERY - HUGE DEMAND ANTICIPATED
NEW!! Fireburst Multicoloured Anamorphic Streak & 4/6 pt Stackable Star Filters for Photo & Broadcast
New and Unique!
First there was Firecrest, now there is FIREBURST. It’s our take on the original star filter but in a completely expanded and different way so that you can create really unusual, sometimes even dazzling effects. It’s really true to say that only your imagination limits what you can do with these filters. Star filters reflect points of light and separate them into different threads so a 2 point filter gives an anamorphic streak effect by splitting the light into a straight line on either side of the source (especially useful for video), and 4 and 6 point filters give a star effect with 4 and 6 pints respectively.
What makes Fireburst unique?
- Available in 8 different colours
- Available in 2, 4 and 6 points with 8 point version coming soon
- For photo it comes in Firecrest SUPERSLIM STACKABLE rotating rings (52-82mm). So you can stack (and rotate independently) different colours and different star points to create fantastic and sometimes bizarre effects, everything from a subtle portrait enhancement to a complete kaleidoscope of colour.
- For video and cinema/broadcast production, available initially in 4x5.65 and shortly in 6.6x6.6. They are available in 3 different thread space variations to give different strength levels to the Fireburst effect
- These effects easily can’t be duplicated in any post-production or photoshop-style programme
What colours are available?
Amber - Emerald - Flame - Gold - Ice - Lemon - Neon Pink - Sapphire
The effects when using Fireburst vary according to the size, prominence and contrast of the point of light picked up by the filter against any ambient light. So a daytime shot of reflected sun could produce a fine, subtle effect, whereas shooting against streetlight later in the day will give a much stronger effect. This helps to create dramatic night time cityscapes, draw attention to a single point of light in more minimal compositions, introduce subtle changes to portraits, bring out reflections in automatic or product photography, or create truly stunning images in long exposure of light trail work. These effects are multiplied by stacking different colours, so the range of images is limited only to your own imagination!
We asked photographer Jim Moody to test a pre-release set of FIreburst, you can read his blog on them here.
"These filters are just superb! I didn't think I would've had so much fun using them and the results are outstanding, as you would expect from such a pedigree."
Fireburst are available NOW from our website with an additional 20% Launch Discount and all Formatt-Hitech Dealers.
Formatt-Hitech acquired by Kenko Tokina and receives over £2m ($3m) investment for expansion
Kenko Tokina Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of camera filter products with group sales in excess of $200 million p.a., has acquired Formatt-Hitech. The Formatt-Hitech purchase is a move to round out Kenko Tokina’s photographic filter portfolio, which already includes such world-renowned brands as Hoya, Kenko and Cokin. It will also enhance Kenko Tokina’s current push into cinema and broadcast production, where Format Hitech is already a big player through our Firecrest brand.
Kenko Tokina has immediately made an investment of over £2 million (US$ 3m) of expansion capital into the Formatt Hitech business.
Formatt-Hitech will remain a fully independent subsidiary corporation, and production continues in Aberdare, Wales, UK. However, the acquisition of the Formatt-Hitech brand by Kenko Tokina brings many significant benefits. With Kenko Tokina’s backing and the investment already made to facilitate expansion, Formatt-Hitech’s volume production capability of is fully secured for many years to come. This means that the world leading Firecrest range, already recognised as the highest quality ND filter brand in both the photo and video markets, will be readily available with no back order issues. Furthermore, the beneficial effect of being owned by Kenko Tokina is already being felt with regard to Formatt-Hitech’s buying power, packaging quality, component sourcing, and technical support.
All of Formatt-Hitech’s key staff stay with the Group following the acquisition and are being enhanced by the appointment of new executive and technical personnel. Former owner David Stamp also remains as Executive Advisor to the Company.
“I am thrilled to welcome Formatt-Hitech to the Kenko Tokina family of brands. Formatt-Hitech's technical knowledge in the development of advanced ND filters and their excellent reputation in both photo and cinema make them the perfect fit for our portfolio of world leading brands.”
Kenko Tokina President Mr Toru Yamanaka
“We are very proud to have joined the Kenko Tokina family and to become part of the world’s leading filter group. The undoubted manufacturing expertise and financial strength of Kenko Tokina will enable us to maximise the potential of our exciting Firecrest product line in both the photo and broadcast / cinema production markets”.
David Stamp - Former Owner of Formatt Hitech
“ The investment by Kenko Tokina is excellent news and I am delighted to welcome the company to Wales where it joins a long list of Japanese companies that have made highly successful investments in Wales over the past forty years.
“The Welsh Government has worked closely with Formatt Hitech over a number of years and this investment is testimony to the expertise, skills and commitment of the Formatt Hitech workforce. I am pleased the acquisition not only safeguards 35 jobs in Aberdare but provides a platform for future growth and profitability.”
Welsh Economy Minister Edwina Hart
NEW!!! Firecrest now available in 67mm and 85mm sizes
Following the unprecedented success of Firecrest in 100mm and 165mm sizes, we are delighted to now offer them in 67mm and 85mm for the smaller lenses found on mirrorless and micro 4/3 cameras.
The complete range of Firecrest densities are available in the new sizes including the market leading long exposure filters; Firecrest 13 and 16
Since the retirement of the Prostop IRND range, the market has been crying out for a suitable replacement and we are excited to finally fill that gap.
Firecrest ND is a revolutionary new type of ND filter from Formatt-Hitech. Rather than dyed resin, Firecrest is a rare earth metal coating used to create hyper neutral NDs. The filters are made from 2mm thick Schott Superwite glass, and the multicoating is bonded in the middle to increase scratch resistance. Firecrest Filters are neutral across all spectrums, including UV, visible, and infrared.
Firecrest Production Resumes and Expands
The launch of Formatt Hitech’s groundbreaking Firecrest line of coated ND and associated filters in late 2014 was a resounding success, so much so that we sold out completely of our initial production run within 3 months. The continuing demand, however, paradoxically led to great difficulties for the Formatt Hitech business, as our component production partners and suppliers were unable to keep up with the unprecedented and continuing level of orders received during 2015, and long waits for supply became the norm for both our dealers and customers. This was very unusual for us as a business, as we always pride ourselves on having the fastest and most efficient delivery cycles in the filter market. It was the main driver in our decision to sell the business to Kenko Tokina, who possess both the financial resource and breadth of component supply chain to resolve these issues very quickly.
We are very pleased to announce that, from July 2016 onwards, we are now again in a position of full supply of the complete Firecrest brand line, and we have put in place, with the assistance of our new parent company, facilities to meet an even higher level of production in the future as the brand continues to expand.
Firecrest ND filters are made from the highest grade of optical glass material available. We will continue to demand from our suppliers essentially flawless optical glass materials from which we can craft our Firecrest ND filters.
This means that our most popular products, such as the Signature Edition Kits and the Firecrest 16 are now back in production. We are expected to reach 100% production capacity by 7July.
As you will throughout this issue, we have also invested in range of dynamic and complementary new products to further enhance the Firecrest and Formatt-Hitech brands, continuing our reputation for product innovation in the photographic and broadcast markets.
NEW!! Upgraded Colby Brown Signature Edition Landscape Kit
The Colby-Brown inspired Landscape kits have been one of our biggest selling products for the last 3 years since they were introduced. Colby is one of the world’s greatest landscape photographers, and is also world renowned as an author and teacher of photography. He also founded “The Giving Lens” an organisation which combines his prodigious talent with humanitarian work on projects such as clean drinking water, education, women rights and species preservation throughout the more deprived areas of the world.
Colby’s Signature Edition kit, together with a detailed tuition booklet illustrating how he takes such great landscape images, has helped many thousands of satisfied customers enhance their own photographs.
We have now made the kit even better. The new kit now includes a 1.8 FIRECREST ND rather than the old style Prostop filter, so benefits from containing the top ND filter in the world as an its integral part. It also has a 100mm modular holder system (with an option to purchase without as a filter-only package) and the Premier Edition has a Firecrest Superslim 105mm polariser and fitting ring.
The Firecrest ND is the only coated filter in the world in which the coating is sandwiched within the filter, so that it can’t be scratched or damaged in use. This is a huge advantage against other coated filters where the coating is on the outside.
NEW!! First Chinese Signature Edition Kit - Qianli Zhang
We are proud to announce the creation of our first Signature Edition partnership in the People’s Republic of China with the renowned Chinese photographer Qianli Zhang.
Qianli is one of the most prominent travel and landscape photographers in China, travelling all over the world to produce extremely special images. he is also a renowned lecturer and teacher of photography in his home country and amongst other published works, is the author of the Travel Photography Bible, one of the biggest selling photography books in China. His photographs from over 60 countries have made him a superstar in his own country and we are extremely pleased that he has chosen Formatt Hitech to be his filter partner, and with the launch of the Qianli Zhang Signature Edition Kit (only available in mainland China).
Formatt Hitech have been one of the highest selling filter brands in China for the last 5 years and we expect this further step to cement our relationship with the Chinese photographic market.
The kit was launched at a special conference in Beijing to coincide with the P&E trade show in April 2016, at which both Qianli and existing Signature Edition photographer Ken Kaminesky, made presentations and did tours of the City to illustrate their work.
The Qianli Signature Edition kit will be the first to feature the new Firecrest 100mm holder system, along with a Firecrest 100mm 1.8 ND and Firecrest 100x150mm GND filters. It is also the first of our kits to have instruction booklets printed in both English and Chinese!
COMING SOON !! Formatt Hitech Opens New USA Subsidary in Southern California
Formatt Hitech and Kenko Tokina are making a $500,000 investment in a new operational and logistics centre in Garden Grove, California,
The new facility will be fully operational during July 2016 and will for the first time mean that Formatt Hitech will have a full local inventory in the USA.
USA VP of Sales Ryan Avery and his team will be based at the facility and will drive Formatt-Hitech’s US expansion plans.
Once the facility is open all US sales will be made and supplied through the Garden Grove warehouse.
More news about the new subsidiary will follow in Newsletter 2….this is Southern California so the members of the team need this time to get into make up……
COMING SOON !! New range of Firecrest ND / Polariser / Diffusion Combination filters for video, broadcast and cinema
Following the success of the Firecrest ND range in the broadcast and cinema markets which has led the brand to be the top ND which everyone (including the soon to be released Star Wars - Rogue One) is using, we have spent some time developing a range of new diffusion combination filters which will be good enough to work alongside and with the Firecrest brand.
The new range will be launched during the third quarter of 2016 and will feature a number of great new diffusion and diffusion combinations which we expect will wow the whole industry.
The new filters are still under final design but will feature a completely new range of soft effect filters, and a number of combinations between Firecrest ND, Firecrest Polariser, Soft Effects, Clear and Black Mist, and possibly other forms of diffusion.
We expect that these filters will continue to propel Formatt-Hitech to the top of the tree in the cinema and broadcast. WATCH THIS SPACE!!.
Product Feature: Ken Kaminesky Does China!
The master filter kit is the complete neutral density, grad and polarizer kit. This kit contains a complete selection of filters used for landscape, travel, fine-art, long exposure, and architectural photography.
- Firecrest ND 3.0 (10 stops)
- Firecrest ND 1.8 (6 stops)
- Firecrest ND 0.9 (3 stops)
- Firecrest or Resin Soft Edge ND Grad 0.6 (2 stops)
- Firecrest or Resin Soft Edge ND Grad 0.9 (3 stops)
- Firecrest Circular Polarizer
- Aluminum Holder
- Adapter ring
- Polarizer Ring
- Ken Kaminesky Booklet
- Filter Pouches or clamshells
It comes as no surprise to us, given his talent and worldwide renown, that Ken Kaminesky’s Signature Edition Kit is our biggest current seller. It’s tremendous value as well as a master kit, given that it provides you with everything you need to start using filters – ND’s grads, a polarizer and a holder system as well.
Ken is very popular with our Chinese clients and recently came over to Beijing to assist us in our dealer conference there, and to help launch the new signature kit for Qianli Zhang. He did a great talk for our dealers and representatives from the photographic media there, and subsequently took some great shots in Beijing itself and at the Great Wall of China. The trip was so successful that he is now planning several big projects in China, in which we look forward to participating with great relish.
As a result of the feedback from the trip, we are now redesigning Ken’s Signature Edition kit for the Chinese market to include both English and Chinese booklets, the first kit from the West to have an instruction book in both languages. We expect this to further enhance his reputation in that great country. The availability of both a starter kit (from Qianli) and the master kit (from Ken) gives our Chinese customers great options, from two of the world’s best photographers.
Check out Ken’s kit today. If you are serious about starting out in filters, it’s the ultimate buy. And see Ken’s work here.