The moment you use the X3 CPL, you know you’ve never used anything like it. Featuring “our all-new American made CPL film and an all-new weather-sealed brass Traction Frame”, as Graham Clark puts it, the project is fully backed on Kickstarter.
The previous project from Breakthrough Photography must have been liked by everyone, as this one was even faster to be funded. More than 1500 backers pledged close to $190,000 of a goal of $30,000 that the designer of the new polarizer filter had set. And there is still one week to go, so this is again a filter that will end in the bag of many photographers.
Having tested – and being a user of – the world’s sharpest and most color neutral ND filter, named X3 ND, I am quite curious to put my hands on this new filter, although I am not a heavy user of polarizers, at least for darkening skies, as I live in a country whose sky seems to have a natural polarizer. But a CPL is a tool I will reach for to remove reflections, on plants and forest streams, so it will be interesting to check this new offer against the one I use. And even more interesting because it may change my habits, if it works as promised.
Using the 3X ND filter I found that Graham Clark claims were correct, so I’ve all the reasons to believe he is right again, when he states that this 3X CPL “is the world’s sharpest and most color neutral circular polarizer. With Traction…” Yes, again, the Traction Frame that makes it easy to attach and remove filters is present, something that is now, I believe, a trademark of the filters coming from Breakthrough Photography.
The team learned from the success of the X3 ND and designed an entirely new circular polarizing frame, “unlike you’ve ever seen before” continues Graham Clark. The X3 CPL Traction Frame is made by CNC machining brass, and then electroplating it with a matte black finish to reduce and eliminate stray reflections into the lens barrel, which increases contrast and saturation as a result. The Traction Frame is also double-threaded which allows for easy filter stacking, and is fully compatible with all of your lens caps.
But the new 3X CPL is more than a Traction Frame that makes it easy to handle. The filter aims high in terms of colour reproduction. Graham Clark says that “to achieve the world’s most color neutral performance, we had to develop a unique approach to manufacturing rather than selecting off-the-shelf CPL film common among filter manufacturers, which is designed and intended for LCD panels, not photographic optics.”
The designer continues stating that “all commercially available CPL filters exhibit a yellow cast due to a gradual transmission increase starting around 600nm and then spiking at 650nm onward into IR. With our X3 CPL film we achieved a gradual transmission decrease from 600nm onward, and instead of spiking uncontrollably near 650nm and far into infrared, the X3 CPL sees very controlled transmission into IR, without the curve spike. The real world result? Warm and lively images without the apparent color cast.”
The new and internally developed CPL film – CrystalVision -, manufactured in California, is at the core of the X3 CPL, and helps the filter to be as perfect as possible. Graham Clark says that “a perfectly flat transmission curve would yield a perfectly color neutral result, and while there is no such thing as a perfectly neutral CPL filter (contrary to what other filter makers may claim) the X3 CPL is the most color neutral any CPL filter, guaranteed.”
While conceived for photographers, the X3 CPL filter may also interest videographers, because of the way it behaves. Graham Clark told me that “we have specifically designed the circular polarizing film for this filter to not have a spike in infrared for video shooters, so it will perform exceptionally well for professional video.” The 3X CPL will also be available with a diameter of 105mm, for Canon Cine prime lenses line.
In terms of glass the 3X CPL is constructed with SCHOTT B270 optical glass, made in Germany, which allows users to capture critically sharp images. In terms of coatings, the filter uses state-of-the-art nanotec Nano Coatings Technology, which beads water and other elements rather than absorbing and smearing. To help eliminate reflections Breakthrough Photography uses state-of-the-art MRC16 coating, 8 layers on each side.
Built to be a workhorse circular polarizer, able to withstand extreme wind, salt water, dust and other abrasive conditions and elements, the X3 CPL filter comes with a 25 Year Ironclad Guarantee with US-based phone, email and live chat support.