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Issue one of Formatt In Focus Sprint 2019
Press Release Formatt-Hitech - World Class Lens Filter Manufacturers
The Photography Show – Birmingham March 16th to 19th, 2019 – Stand F125
Formatt-Hitech are world leaders in lens filter innovation and technology. At the Photography Show in Birmingham they created a wonderful stand to display their range of filters, polarisers, holders and rings. Beautifully hand crafted in the UK, Formatt-Hitech use the most advanced scientific manufacturing processes in the filter industry. When developing their products they use spectrography to analyse all spectrums of light; including ultraviolet, infrared and near-infrared.
Formatt-Hitech have been manufacturing filters for more than 30 years. They are proud of their ongoing research and development into glass filters, which was originally set up by Reginald Morris, father to the company founder. He worked for many years as the Chief Physicist at Kodak, helping to develop what is now known as the ‘Kodak Wratten Standard’. It remains the worldwide standard in technical colour correction and forms the basis of all Formatt-Hitech filter production today.
At the Birmingham Exhibition Formatt-Hitech displayed the range of Firecrest Ultra and Firecrest Pro lens filters which contain an advanced multi-coating process to create the next generation of glass NDs, NDgrads, Circular Polarisers and UV Filters. They also launched their new 85mm holder system, a clever multistop ND filter and their Ultra hard edged grad.
A Short History of Firecrest
Firecrest were the first photographic filters to use multiple layers to achieve neutral coatings, bringing unprecedented neutrality to the market. To ensure the filters were as durable as possible, they bonded the coating in the center of two pieces of optical grade polished glass (using a very precise amount of an equally neutral bonding agent, developed in their own laboratories.) This process gave the filters two vital areas of protection:
The critical part of the filter, the Neutral Density coating was shielded from wear and tear, instead of a coated filter where one piece of glass is coated on the outside and protected with an anti-scratch treatment. No matter how good the anti-scratch coating, it’s not as tough as glass.
They have more structural strength than a single piece of glass.
That’s not to say that coated filters don’t have their place in the market. They are considerably cheaper to produce and so can give similar optical results as bonded filters for a much cheaper price.
So what is ‘Ultra’ about Firecrest Ultra?
At the same time as they launched Firecrest 2mm to the photographic market, they also launched Firecrest 4mm for the Cinema and Broadcast market. They were similar in construction to Firecrest 2mm however had a second polishing phase, crucial to the needs of motion pictures.It was these filters that were actually used in the last two Star Wars movies!
After bonding and polishing, these filters undergo an additional process referred to as “lapping and polishing”. This involves grinding the filters to ensure they are perfectly flat, and then highly polishing the outside to ensure complete clarity. This is essential for video capture as any minute waves or imperfections in the glass, would manifest as a ripple in the image when the cameras are panning (an exaggerated version of this effect can be seen when looking through very old windows.)
Formatt-Hitech have now improved the Firecrest range so that the new Firecrest Ultra filters undergo this same process. As a result, Firecrest Ultra filters were the first bonded, then lapped and polished filters available in the photographic market. They have a lower reflectivity than earlier filters with the clarity and sharpness, even at longer focal lengths; unprecedented in photo filters, whilst still delivering the neutrality that made Firecrest so popular in the first instance.
The Firecrest Ultra product was also profiled in 2017, as their ‘Eclipse’ filter range. The quality and clarity helped them to outsell all other filters in the marketplace for the full solar eclipse in North America. These filters were made in the highest densities ever seen in the photographic market – up to 24 stops – and these high densities are being retained in the Firecrest Ultra range, for use as extreme long exposure filters and are already selling well for the eclipse in June in South America.
The Firecrest Pro Filters builds on the history and success of the Firecrest brand. The filters are manufactured using a rare earth metal coating which is applied directly onto the polished glass using their advanced multi coating technology. This is then bonded between further layers of the finest Schott Superwite optical glass to provide industry leading scratch resistance and longevity.
Furthermore, for complete light protection, a component of blackout edging is added to assist in alleviating the risk of light leak that can occur through unprotected filter edges.
What Photographers Say!
“In the last six months that I have been using the Firecrest Ultra ND Grad filters, I have been blown away by the quality of them. The clarity through the filters is amazing, and unlike some other neutral density grads, there is definitely no colour cast. I have used them with focal lengths ranging from 16mm through to 200mm and the quality has been the same throughout.
Based on my experience with these grads I shall definitely be ordering some more Firecrest Ultra ND filters.”
Nick Hanson - Landscape & Wildlife Photography
In addition, Formatt Hitech continue to make their award winning resin filters. Again, carefully crafted in the UK using World Class Manufacturing Processes, Formatt-Hitech’s resin filters have an exclusive Absorbing Cell TechnologyTM process to dye the resin.
The process absorbs colour or effect into each cell of the resin rather than coating onto it, ensuring that the colour is applied consistently across the filter. This means that each Formatt-Hitech filter is consistently replicated time after time. The densities and formulation of the dying process are strictly computer controlled, creating the most accurate filter reproduction in the world. Their resin filters have the highest scratch resistance of any non-glass optical material and are resistant to most solvents, chemicals, ageing and material fatigue. Because of the durability and light weight, their resin filters are a great choice for photographers and HDSLR film-makers.
Formatt-Hitech are World Class Lens Filter Manufacturers using the most advanced computer-controlled manufacturing equipment available, to create the most accurate and durable lens filter products for the photography, cinematic and broadcast industries.
+(44) 1685 870979
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