LEMAG product review - BreakthroughFilters X2 IR Filter

BreakthroughFilters X2 IR Filter

Infrared filters block visible light allowing only infrared light to pass through to the lens into the camera.

Infrared photography has been a branch of photography for decades as it can create otherworldly effects but exposure compensation can vary widely from what is assumed in traditional exposure as a well-lit subject.

The Breakthrough X2 IR Filter has a spectrum rating of 720nm.

When we tested this filter

We have received this filter from Breakthrough Filters at the beginning of Spring this year (2020) so have a lot of time to put it to a test. Our team used this filter to shoot during extremely hot days we experienced this year but also during windy and colder, and something wet days we had this summer. Additionally, we have also used it in conditions deems less favourable for infrared – early morning or evening. after 4 months of using it we are ready to give you our verdict.

This filter is designed to be used on non-infrared-converted cameras. As such it is an opaque filter which slows light entering the lens by approximately 15-stops. Therefore, unless you want to use it for ICMs, it is impossible to use this filter without a tripod. You need to frame and focus before putting the filter on the lens and likely adjust the focus though this may depend on the lens you use.

NOTE: Using this filter you need to create a new custom profile in your camera and used Adobe DNG profile editor to transfer it into Lightroom to white balance the image properly.

A perfect combination of infrared and long exposure in one filter

Shamelessly Sharp Filters

X2 features state-of-the-art 8-layer multi-resistant coatings which help to eliminate flaring, ghosting and low contrast. 4 layers of MRC are applied to each side of the optical disk, resulting in a total of 8 layers (MRC8). This filter, being of X2 series, is no different.

Packaging and cover:

Like all other screw-on filters from Breakthrough Filters, the X2 IR filter is delivered in a square plastic cassette with a red cleaning cloth included.

The cassette opens easily and filter extraction does not pose any issues.

What we would strongly recommend is that the manufacturer considers some sort of permanent marking on the cassettes – working with a few screw-on Breakthrough Filters in the field makes it a bit cumbersome when you need to figure out which cassette contains the one you need at the moment.

Filter build:

Nano Coating Layers

Nanotec® Nano Coating layer repels dirt, water and other elements by beading rather than absorbing, making it easier (and faster) than ever to clean.

AGC Glass

The X2 filters features critically sharp AGC glass made in Japan.

Traction Design

The moment you pick up a Breakthrough X2 filter you’ll immediately feel the craftsmanship and quality. Each X2 traction frame is precisely machined from environmentally friendly aluminium, and with it’s matte black finish reflections are absorbed rather than reflected into the lens barrel.

3.5 mm thin

Lab tests show that 4.3mm was the frame width at which point vignetting becomes noticeable on 16mm wide-angle setups on full-frame setups. Any less than 3.0mm and lens caps don’t have enough surface area to grab onto. At 3.7mm vignetting is entirely eliminated.

Conclusion and our final verdict:

X2 IR is a very powerful tool even if used outside of the most favourable condition for shooting infrared. It delivers consistent results so the photographer can focus on shooting and not waiting time on fiddling with adjustments. 

Being an opaque filter of approximately 15 stops X2 IR is a perfect combination for long exposure lovers who want to shoot in infrared without the need to convert their cameras. 

Priced start at £45 only X2 IR is a perfect addition to any photographer’s bag and will open many new shooting opportunities.

All things considered, this is an ultimate infrared /long exposure combination that never disappoints.

Below are a few images taken with Breakthrough Filters X2 IR Filter: