A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
With super light reduction capability, the Aurora PowerND family of fixed neutral density filters is the best light reduction tool for the uncompromising photographer.
The Aurora PowerND family consists of three light reduction ratings:
ND64 - 6 stops
ND4000 - 12 stops
ND65000 - 16 stops
The 6 stop filter is typically used in low light conditions such as sunrise and sunset. Using a 6 stop filter can reduce shutter speed to a few seconds in those conditions.
The 12 stop filter can be used to slow down shutter speed further to minutes in dusk and dawn conditions, or a few seconds during daylight.
The 16 stop filter can do magic during bright daylight, making it possible to expose up to several minutes or more. It can convert a bright day into night, allowing photographers to use two minute exposure time with ISO 100 and f/8 aperture during a bright day.
The ND4000 and ND65000 have distinct advantages in having more stops than the typical ND1000 or ND32000. They allow users to avoid diffraction softening by enabling users to avoid very small aperture settings or alternatively allowing for longer exposures. In the case of the PowerND 4000 that means two more stops than the typical ND1000 and for the Power ND65000 there's one additional stop.
The Aurora PowerND family comes with four different formats:
Circular format for most of lenses with filter thread sizes from 37mm to 95mm
Square format of 100 x 100 x 2mm compatible with filter holders from Cokin, Lee, and others
Circular 150mm with adapter for Nikon AF-S 14-24/2.8G
Aurora CR format for Canon lenses that support rear gel filter
The CR format filter is an industry first rear mount glass format for Canon EF lenses, such as the popular EF 11-24mm F4L USM.
The Aurora PowerND CR format filters are very small and easy to carry. Gorilla Glass is used to provide rigidity and durability for such small filter.
The CR filters come with a metal filter holder that replaces the original plastic gel filter in the Canon lens. Gel filters are optically inferior with significant deflation of resolution and have strong color cast.
All PowerND filters use the same multi-layer nano coatings techniques for both light reduction and surface protection. In order to provide accurate color reproduction and high resolution, we apply multi-layer nano coating to both sides of the the PowerND 4000 and PowerND 65000 filters. The end result is that we achieve excellent result in resolution and color rendition.
As avid landscape photographers ourselves, we understand these filters are used in harsh environment, in places that could be rough, dirty, and wet. Therefore, filters should be able to repel water, oil, dust and dirt.
Multiple layer of nano coating technology is applied to glass surfaces. Perfluoropolyethers (PFPE) are used as hydrophobic and oleophobic coating agent. The end result is that water drop on the surface of the filter can maintain a static contact angle of 110 degrees. Untreated glass can barely maintain 15 degrees. Even a well known brand’s 10 stop filter keeps less than 40 degrees and their 6 and 15 stop filters do not even have water repel coating.
Independent lab tests show the PowerND filters having very high resolution and color accuracy.
Well known Schott B 270® i Ultra-White Glass is used for the PowerND filters, except the CR format which employs CORNING® GORILLA® GLASS.
In order to minimize vignetting on wide angle lenses, the circular filters (37-82mm) feature a very thin filter profile of 3.4mm (not counting the thread).
The 100mm square filters conform to the industry de facto standard so they can be used in Cokin (Z), LEE 100mm, and other compatible 100mm filter holders. Both the 100mm PowerND 4000 and PowerND 65000 filters have a dense dark foam padding and paint sealing of edges to prevent light leakage during long exposure.
The adapter for the Nikon AF-S 14-24/2.8G is an original design by us. It’s simple and effective, with a felt lining inside the ring enclosure to prevent scratching the lens hood. Removable clips are included to support two 150mm square or rectangular filters.
We are very proud of our Aurora CR format adapter and filters. We take advantage of select Canon wide angle lenses have a rear mount filter holder and have designed an replacement. The original gel filter holder does not allow glass filters to be used. Gel filters typically have inferior optical characteristics than glass based ones.
The CR holders are CNC machined with utmost precision. Not only it allows glass filters to be used, they are also much stronger than the original factory built in plastic holding mechanism.
The reason of using the rear mount filter over the front one is primary the size of filters. Based on results from simulation, if we were to make a front mount filter for the Canon EF 11-24mm F4L USM, a lens that is very popular among the Canon landscape shooters, a filter size would be at least 185mm or larger, either in circular or square format. Filters with such size are not only inconvenient to carry and use, but also expensive.
Our CR filters are slight larger than a quarter dollar US coin and easily carried around.
Just like the rest of the PowerND filter family, the CR filters are coated with the same multi-layer nano coatings for both light reduction and surface protection against water, oil, dust and dirt.
Gorilla Glass® is used for the CR filters to provide rigidity and durability for this small size filter.
Canon lenses that can use the CR filters include**:
EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye
EF 11-24mm F4L USM
EF 14mm f/2.8L USM
EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM
EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM
EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
** Not compatible with Irix 15mm f/2.4 and 11mm f/4.0 rear gel adapter. A modified adapter is required and we will develop one if there is enough demand for it. Send us email if you are interested.
With so many different formats and three ND ratings, we need to simplify the offering process.
First of all, filter of the three ND rating are priced the same for the same size. Secondly, circular filters are divided into three groups:
Small: 37mm, 39mm, 40.5mm, and 43mm
Medium: 49mm, 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, and 62mm
Large: 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, and 82mm
Filters in the same group are priced the same.
Once the campaign is over and the funding goal is met, we will send out a survey through Kickstarter's internal system to each backer for following information:
Name and shipping address
ND rating of the filter, e.g. ND 64, ND 4000, or ND65000
Size of the circular filter, e.g. 77mm, or 82mm
There are also bundle options available, i.e. three ND rating (6/12/16 stops) filters of the same size.
The Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G bundle option includes all three filters plus a lens shade filter holder whereas the CR format is only available as a bundle option with the replacement filter holder included.
While this would simplify the ordering process, it adds additional time for us to find out exactly what size and ND rating our backers have ordered. Based on our previous crowdfunding experience, this could add three weeks or more.
If you wish to get multiple filters, you will need to manually input your pledge by adding the total amount.
Free Additional Aurora CR Adapter
We will provide additional adapters free of charge to backers who have multiple lenses that can use the Aurora CR filters. Just drop us a message to let us know how many adapters you need.
Early Bird Special
There are four early bird options available. These options are even cheaper than the already inexpensive options only available in Kickstarter.
We would like to set a stretch goal for this project. Once 100 Aurora CR format bundles (early bird bundles included) are pledged, we will throw in an ND16 - 4 stops filter with retail value of $67 for free, so the CR bundle will include following filters:
ND16 - 4 stops
ND64 - 6 stops
ND4000 - 12 stops
ND65000 - 16 stops
We started this project more than two years ago, even before the variable ND PowerXND project. Unfortunately we took the wrong path so we had to reboot last year to take on a new direction. With experience we learn from the PowerXND and other projects, we spent more time in field tests and we are lucky to have over a dozen beta testers from China, France, Germany, Russia, and USA. With their feedbacks based on actual using the prototypes in various locations, we are able to improve the filters.
We are confident the PowerND filters are now in production ready status.
Special thanks to the beta testers who have helped us to test the PowerND filters and provided great feedback on product improvements.
Risks and challenges
- The design work is finalized, we may make a few simple modifications to improve handling.
- We have worked very closely with our manufacturing partner during the prototyping stage. Although we do not expect major risks from full volume production, we do not have total control of production process so we will need to work very closely with our manufacturing partner.
- Our manufacturing partner sources raw materials and semi-finished parts from their suppliers. We do not expect major delays from the suppliers.