Screw-on filters or 4×6 filters, the big life question we all ask ourselves.
For landscape/nature photography, filters are an absolute must! About a month ago I was looking into upgrading my filter system and after a ton of research between different brands and screw-on vs 4×6 I went with the Formatt Hitech Firecrest 100mm line.
For my kit I got the following:
For about a year now I’ve been using the screw-on filters and while there convenient and don’t take up much space in your bag there are a few cons.
If you have multiple lenses with different filter threads you have to buy the same filter twice, which ends up taking up more space and can be more expensive in the long run. With a 4×6 system you only need one filter for every lens, you just have to get a different thread adapter for each lens which is pretty inexpensive.
Another big con with screw-on filters is if you’re using a graduated filter you have to frame for your horizon line where as with a 4×6 you can frame how you’d like and slide the filter up or down. You can also use grad ND’s as reverse grad ND’s so it’s darker at the horizon line for sunsets. You can also turn and slide the ND however you’d like. If only a corner of your shot is overexposed for example. There also seems to be a bigger range of filters types with the 4×6.
One of the main reasons I went with the Firecrest line was I heard they’re supposed to be color neutral (no color shift), even the 16 stop ND. After some testing and real world shooting I can confidently say they are in fact color neutral. I’ve used a bunch of other brands for the screw on filters and they don’t seem to hold up as well color wise which is a big headache in post when your sunsets turn green.
Used the Firecrest 10 stop ND, 5 minute exposure, Canon 5DS-R 16-35 F/2.8L III. No color shift at all!
Side note: I had to deal with customer service at Formatt Hitech a couple times and I can definitely say it was a pleasant experience. They responded back within a day or so and were very prompt and hassle free when it came to exchanging items in my order.
Just like anything else there are a few cons to this system:
- Lens caps don’t work on the filter holder. (there’s special lens caps for it)
- You have to be pretty careful when it comes to putting the glass in the holder.
- Like above, it’s not as convenient of a system when it comes to putting on the holder and glass, screw on filters are easier and faster.
- High quality glass is expensive.
- 4×6 glass is more prone to getting dirty if you’re not careful.
One thing I really like about the system is the ability to stack filters without too much vignetting. Major plus over the screw on filters.
Would I recommend this? 9/10
Most definitely! There are a few drawbacks when it comes to convenience but the pros outweigh the cons. The end result is really all that matters and these filters deliver 100%. I’m very excited for future trips with this system to get my photos as close to perfect as possible in camera.