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Earlier this year, I reviewed the excellent Breakthrough Photography 4x Neutral Density filter. So, now, I’m going to review another photo bag essential from them, the Breakthrough Photography Circular Polarizer.
Breakthrough Photography markets its filters as the most color neutral and sharpest filters in the world. And, judging by the performance of their x4 neutral density filter, I’d say their claim isn’t fluff. My x4 ND introduces ZERO colorcast into my photos and keeps my images looking crisp. So, naturally, I looked to replace my B+W circular polarizer with a Breakthrough one.
Breakthrough Photography x4 Circular Polarizer
Now, let’s cut to the chase. The Breakthrough Photography Circular Polarizer is every bit as color neutral and sharp as its neutral density cousin.
That was not a surprise to me.
I was somewhat concerned about color casts when using it at partial polarization as some Amazon reviews suggest, but this wasn’t an issue either.
What was surprising to me, though, was how similar its results are to my older B+W XS-Pro circular polarizer. I always thought my B+W gave a slightly warm/brown cast to my images. But, in testing the two, I couldn’t see a difference in the images straight off the camera. Perhaps the issue only appears under certain lighting conditions? I’m not sure. But as far as image quality goes, they’re pretty close in my non-professional opinion.
That said, as far as physical design goes, I have to give a slight edge to the B+W filter. The XS-Pro series uses a thin ring constructed of brass painted matte black. Of course, the advantage of this is that, when you stack your circular polarizer on a neutral density filter, you get little to no mechanical vignetting. The Breakthrough Photography filter, though, uses a thicker brass ring with aggressive grips that make it easy to remove. This convenience, though, does create vignetting issues when stacking filters. So, if you like to stack a lot, this filter may not be for you.
Breakthrough Photography x4 Circular Polarizer, Final Thoughts
Issues with stacking aside, the Breakthrough Photography Circular Polarizer is a fantastic filter. It produces excellent results and is a joy to use. And if you’re not stacking a lot then the vignetting issue won’t be a big a deal.