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Introducing Dark CPL and the world's first tempered glass GND & ND filters available in 100mm & 150mm formats.
Introducing Dark CPL and the world's first tempered glass GND & ND filters available in 100mm & 150mm formats.
1,132 backers pledged $353,001 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Stacking ND + CPL produces vignetting around 19mm on a full-frame sensor. The new Dark CPL eliminates vignetting down to 16mm on FF sensors.

The Dark CPL is compatible with the following camera and lens systems: Leica®, Carl Zeiss® lenses, Schneider Xenon®, Canon®, Nikon®, Sony®, Fuji® and others.

Dark CPL thread sizes: 46, 49, 52, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77, 82, 86, 95 and 105mm

 

We took the CNC machined traction frame from our X4 CPL and inserted the Dark CPL optical disk into it. The Dark CPL traction frame is incredibly rugged and has very smooth rotation. It also completes the weather sealing of the lens.

Click here to learn more about X4 CPL and X4 ND technical performance.

 

 

 

We took our industry leading X4 ND filter (prior Kickstarter) and applied the same proven technology to the graduated neutral density filter, manufactured it with tempered SCHOTT B270® optical glass made in Germany, and the result is the X4 GND - the world's sharpest and most color neutral GND, guaranteed.

X4 ND 6-stop, X4 GND 2-stop soft & 3-stop hard reverse
X4 ND 6-stop, X4 GND 2-stop soft & 3-stop hard reverse

Click here to download .tiff (200MB)

GND is short for Graduated Neutral Density filter, which is a rectangular filter which increases the dynamic range of your camera.

Shooting a sunset with a GND filter transforms a photograph from having blown out highlights to one with incredible dynamic range, and it does this in-camera, without the need for Photoshop, stacking multiple frames or HDR.

Death Valley Sunset | 3-stop circular, 2-stop soft, 3-stop hard reverse
Death Valley Sunset | 3-stop circular, 2-stop soft, 3-stop hard reverse

 

The human eye has a dynamic range over 20-stops, while a typical sunset scene may range between 15 to 18-stops. A full-frame sensor range is typically between 12 to 14-stops depending on the sensor manufacturer.

If a sunset scene has a total of 17-stops between the sky and the foreground and the camera has 13-stops of in-camera dynamic range, a 2-stop soft GND and 3-stop hard reverse GND would cover that exposure gap (12 + 2 + 3 = 17) range is usually 15+ stops, which is currently too far beyond the capability of modern sensors.

Another way to think about it is that a GND filter expands in-camera dynamic range by decreasing highlight zones, similar to how the Zone System by Ansel Adams works in the darkroom.

A post-processing technique such as HDR could be used to give the impression of expanded dynamic range, but you can lose the long exposure component that is often times so central in the best sunset scenes.

Legendary landscape photographer Galen Rowell developed the GND filter with Bob Singh of Singh-Ray filters, and together they pioneered a method for covering the dynamic range gap of 35mm film.

The first X4 GNDs go to Galen & Bob as a tribute, thanks guys! :)

(Singh-Ray® is an American filter manufacturing company)

NEW ERA OF MANUFACTURING MATERIALS

Singh-Ray's line of American-made GND filters have been the industry leader for decades, delivering unparalleled color neutrality. Singh-Ray's use of high quality CR-39 optical resin also provided unparalleled resolving power.

The X4 GND introduces a new era of durability and resolving power by using SCHOTT B270® optical glass, made in Germany, and it's the world's first tempered glass GND. The result is an incredibly durable filter glass that doesn't break even when dropped onto hard surfaces.

INCREDIBLE DURABILITY

Another benefit is that the optical surface does not degrade over time or with exposure with corrosive elements such as salt water and sand, common conditions for outdoor photographers.

The X4 GNDs impressive structural hardness also prevents warping, a common issue that develops over time with traditional resin filters, especially when not stored flat. Slightly warped GNDs can add slight distortion noticeable on wide-angle full-frame setup.

X4 ND 3-stop, 2-stop soft, 3-stop hard reverse GND
X4 ND 3-stop, 2-stop soft, 3-stop hard reverse GND

 

X4 ND 6-stop 100mm Square
X4 ND 6-stop 100mm Square

STATE-OF-THE-ART COATINGS

Traditional CR-39 resin had exceptional sharpness performance if the surface was in mint condition, however CR-39 proved to be a poor material for accepting coatings, and therefore the industry leading CR-39 GNDs by Singh-Ray and Lee are without MRC or nano coatings.

Each X4 GND has our state-of-the-art MRC16 and nanotec coatings technology applied to both sides of the optical surface. This reduces surface reflection and nano coatings make handling and cleaning the surface of the glass easy. The nanotec coatings also let the X4 GND glide smoothly in the holder.

The edges of each X4 GND are then milled down smooth, and an outer-layer of protective coating is applied along the edge of the glass.

X4 GND FEATURES:

  • Size: 100x150mm
  • Sign up here if you want to see 84x100mm GNDs
  • Sign up here if you want to see 150x170mm GNDs
  • Email us for other sizes
  • MRC16 + Nanotec Coatings
  • SCHOTT B270® Tempered
  • 25 Year Ironclad Guarantee
  • 300 Day Returns

Built for professional outdoor photographers, our X4 ND Square is now available in 100mm and 150mm formats.

X4 ND Square is available in 1-stop through 10-stop densities, as well as 15-stop.

 

DIAMOND CASES

Both the X4 GND and X4 ND Square NDs come with protective diamond cases. They're durable, easy to use, prevent damage when in your bag and they have unique colors so you know which you're using.

 

Our new X100 Holder has been designed from the ground up to eliminate vignetting down to 16mm on a full-frame sensor, and with its innovative snap-lock mechanism it makes attaching and detaching the holder fast and secure.

INNOVATIVE SNAP-LOCK KNOB

We also designed the X100 Holder for easy one-handed operation with a unique and oversized CNC machined Snap-Lock knob.

Press the filter holder against the adapter ring and it immediately locks into place with a snap! 

That way you can focus on the shot and not the holder every time you detach/reattach to the adapter ring.

FINALLY A HOLDER PRICED RIGHT

Like most photographers, we got tired of the filter companies charging tons of money ($85+) for a filter holder even though the holders are with cheap materials (Lee is plastic) and some even with defective designs.

So we've decided to go the other direction and price our X100 Holder right: only $49 retail, and only $39 during KS.

And the days of $65 adapter rings are finally over!

Our 100mm Breakthrough Holder adapter rings will cost $7 for aluminum and $17 for brass ($5 and $15 during KS).

The X100 Holder is also universal, so it will work with any existing 100mm square ND or GND filter you may already own.

And for the duration of this Kickstarter (30 days only) you can get your X100 Holder for only $39, $10 off retail!

What about 150mm Holders? We're in the process of making them. If they finish by the end of Kickstarter we will add them, otherwise you can find them on our website after Kickstarter completes. They will be $69 or $79 each.

HOW TO ORDER ON KICKSTARTER

 

25 YEAR IRONCLAD GUARANTEE

We stand behind all our products with a 25 Year Ironclad Guarantee with US-based phone, email and live chat support.

KICKSTART US THE REST OF THE WAY! :)

We need your help to prove that our design and manufacturing ideas have demand, and that photographers actually care about these products. 

During the next 30 days, we will be turning our unique prototype designs into real products for you and other photographers around the world.

Here are some areas where your pledge money will help to make the product a reality:

  • Proving there is demand (or a lack thereof) for the world's sharpest and most color neutral Square ND and GND filters
  • Buying SCHOTT B270® raw material
  • Buying raw aluminum & brass material for X100 Holder
  • Anodizing & Electroplating finish
  • Breakthrough Holders in matte black
  • Mold for plastic levels and the front traction plastic
  • Protective Diamond Case Manufacturing
  • Packaging Design & Manufacturing (same quality as iPhone box)
  • Freight & Logistics

Breakthrough Photography is a brand conceived via Kickstarter. We were born here on Kickstarter and we love our community and value your input and loyalty.

Our backers - more 3,000 to date - are the reason for our success. You empower us to design the best filters for photographers around the world, and we thank you!

300 DAY RISK FREE MONEY BACK GUARANTEE

We know there's a lot of risk on Kickstarter. After all, a vast majority of Kickstarter projects don't ship on time, or at all.

But we're not like most Kickstarter projects! We've shipped to every one of our previous Kickstarter backers.

In order to eliminate your risk we're adapting our 300 day return/exchange policy from our website to this Kickstarter campaign.

How does it work? When you buy direct from us you're protected by our 300 day return/exchange policy, which entitles you to a 100% refund or exchange at any point within 300 days, for any reason.

In other words all the risk is on us (and delivering on our promise), not you.

Does it matter if you've opened or used the products? Absolutely not! We stand behind our products 100%.

HOW DOES SHIPPING WORK?

We're making shipping simple with flat rate shipping fees:

USA: $8
Worldwide: $18

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I SUBMIT MY KICKSTARTER PLEDGE?

We'll send you an email containing three simple steps:

1. We'll send you a survey to complete. This tells us which pledges you chose.
2. After you complete the survey we'll send you a gift card code, copy it.
3. Go to our website and add the filters you pledged for on Kickstarter and checkout with your gift card code.

That's it!

You paid here on Kickstarter, so your order total on our website will be $0.

Doing this required step eliminates many common shipping errors (Kickstarter messes this part up for project creators) and gets your order correctly and quickly added to our fulfillment system.

WHAT IF I ORDER A FEW DIFFERENT THINGS, AND THEY HAVE DIFFERENT ETAs?

USA: We'll ship them as they become available.
Worldwide: We'll ship them when the last one is finished. If you want to have them ship when they become available, just email us and we'll send you a S&H payment link for each shipment. :)

WILL I GET A TRACKING NUMBER? Yes! After you complete the checkout process on our website, you will get a tracking link once your order ships.

WHAT IF I FORGET TO CHECKOUT ON YOUR WEBSITE? No problem! You can do so at any point in the future. You paid for your products, and we will hold them for you indefinitely.

 

Risks and challenges

Securing raw materials necessary for taking on a project of this scope is the biggest challenge, and delivering on-time with a projected July delivery date is possible but it will be difficult. We've set our target date to August to under promise and over deliver :)

That said, we do have a 300 day return policy so hopefully this should eliminate your risk, and instead place all the risk on us.

We will be updating backers via email every step of the way so the risks and challenges will evolve as we get closer to shipping.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Add-ons Only

    This is where you add Add-ons, which include Dark CPL in 95/105mm, X4 GND 150mm, X4 ND Square 150mm and X100 Holder.

    How it works:

    1. Look for "Add-On Menu" on the campaign page
    2. Add up the total value of all add-ons
    3. Select this option, make the total value your total pledge amount. That's it! :)

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    448 backers
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  2. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $129 or more About $129

    1x Dark CPL or X4 GND or X4 ND² (100mm)

    VIP EARLY BIRD
    Get one Dark CPL, X4 GND or one X4 ND² (100mm), up to $70 off retail. Add additional filter at same level.

    Dark CPL thread sizes: 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 and 82mm

    $159 - $199 RETAIL

    Includes:
    • 1x Dark CPL or X4 GND or X4 ND² (100mm)
    • 1x Diamond Case (GND and ND Square)
    • 25 Year Ironclad Guarantee
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 25 backers
    $
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    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $139 or more About $139

    1x Dark CPL or X4 GND or X4 ND² (100mm)

    EARLY BIRD
    Get one Dark CPL or one X4 GND or one X4 ND² (100mm), up to $60 off retail. Add additional filter at same level.

    Dark CPL thread sizes: 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 and 82mm

    $159 - $199 RETAIL

    Includes:
    • 1x Dark CPL or X4 GND or X4 ND² (100mm)
    • 1x Diamond Case (GND and ND Square)
    • 25 Year Ironclad Guarantee
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 50 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $149 or more About $149

    1x Dark CPL or X4 GND or X4 ND² (100mm)

    KICKSTARTER SPECIAL
    Get one Dark CPL, X4 GND or one X4 ND² (100mm), up to $50 off retail. Add additional filter at same level.

    Dark CPL thread sizes: 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 and 82mm

    $159 - $199 RETAIL

    Includes:
    • 1x Dark CPL or X4 GND or X4 ND² (100mm)
    • 1x Diamond Case (GND and ND Square)
    • 25 Year Ironclad Guarantee
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 591 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

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    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (32 days)