About a month ago, I shared the news that Breakthrough ND filters were now available on B&H and how I had a review unit in for testing. At the time, I had not had a chance to use it. Well, I finally went out and tested the 6 stop ND filter they sent me and here are my thoughts.

Breakthrough X3 ND Filters

04-performance-5-stars

Breakthrough claims to be the world’s most color neutral ND filter, and while I did not have another high-quality ND filter to compare it to directly, I did find that there was little to no color shift using this ND filter.

The setting for my review was the lovely and picturesque Abiqua Falls. The time of day was not the best to be shooting, but luckily I was able to find enough shade to work around the harsh mid-day sun. I was actually really happy with the images produced using this filter. They were sharp, colors looked good, no weird artifacts.

30 Seconds, F/16, ISO 200 on Sony A7 II with Zeiss 24-70mm
30 Seconds, F/16, ISO 200 on Sony A7 II with Zeiss 24-70mm

09-features-5-stars

As far as features go, there is not much to say other than this is a filter. I like that it has ridged edges to make it easier to remove than your average filter. That said, here is the list of its features:

  • 3.0 Solid Neutral Density Filter
  • 6 Stop
  • Darkens Entire Image
  • Allows Reduced Shutter Speed
  • Allows Wider Aperture
  • MRC Multi-Resistant Coating
  • Nano Coating
  • Schott Glass Construction

X3 ND Filters

13-design-4-stars

The Breakthrough X3 ND is probably one of the best looking filters that I have ever used. As I mentioned above, the ridged edge of the filter makes the filter much easier to remove than your average filter.  It looks good and feels great.

My only critique of the filter is I feel like it may be a little too thin. The ridges help and make it much easier to remove, but I would prefer something a little thicker, so my fingers have more to grab on to. I also wish the color was darker, so it matched my lenses more. That said, that is really nit-picky, and most of you will probably have little issue with this.

20150513-1134

19-quality-5-stars

There is absolutely nothing bad to say about the quality of this filter; it is really exceptional The Shott Glass is wonderful, and the brass metal construction gives a great, high quality feel to the unit. I have never used a higher quality or better built filter.

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22-value-3-stars

Now for the part you all care about the most. Let’s just get this out of the way; at $169 this is not the cheapest filter out there. But when compared to other high-end filters, this is on the lower end of things.

So, it really depends on where you are in your photography. If you want the absolute best money can buy, there may be better options out there, but this offers a great price to performance compared to other $200+ filters. While at the same time, it is much pricier than your average budget filter (though it blows them out of the water on performance).

Only you can really decide on the value for you, but for me, this filter offers a good middle ground between the highest end filters and the more budget oriented ones.

2.5 Seconds F8 ISO 200 - Sony A7 II Zeiss 24-70mm
2.5 Seconds F8 ISO 200 – Sony A7 II Zeiss 24-70mm

33-overall-score-4.5-stars

Based on my experience with other, more budget oriented filters, I can say without a doubt that this filter is worth the premium over those cheaper filters.

I was very happy with the performance, and the design of the filter makes this a great option for anyone looking for better results than their budget filter can give them. The Breakthrough Photography X3 6-Stop ND Filter gets a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars, and we highly recommend it.

If you would like to get your hands on X3 6-Stop ND Filter, you can find them over on B&H for just $169.