Breakthrough makes both square and circular versions of its X4 Neutral Density (ND) filters. The circular filters are available in range of sizes from 43mm to 95mm and they screw directly onto the end of a lens.
The square Breakthrough X4 ND Filters require a filter holder and an adapter to mount on a lens. Breakthrough makes its own X100 Holder, but the filters are also compatible with other 100mm-type filter holders such as Lee Filters Lee100 holder.
Both types of filter are available in a range of strengths or densities including 3, 6, 10 and 15 Ev or stops. However, not every strength is available in every size of circular filter.
Breakthrough uses 3.1mm Schott Ultrawhite B270 glass for the filters, which is remarkably tough. The circular filters also have a CNC machined brass frame with a knurled edge that makes them easy to grasp, thread and tighten or loosen on the lens. The frame is bonded to the glass and weather-sealed.
Meanwhile the square filters have a thin frame of foam just inside their outer edge which is designed to act as a light seal.
Each side of the filters has an 8-layer Multi-Resistant Coating, which means there are 16 layers on each filter. These reduce flare and ghosting as well as maintain contrast.
Breakthrough’s Nanotec Nano Coating is also applied to help keep water and dirt off the filter.
The circular filters are supplied in a thin plastic box, which is a bit tricky to open, especially with cold or gloved hands. The square filters, however, each come in a soft zip-close case that has a tab that shows clearly the strength of the filter.
In a thoughtful touch, Breakthrough colour-codes the case trim and tabs for the strength of filter. The tabs for the 3-step ND filter and 3-stop graduated ND filters, for example are green while the 6-stop filter case tabs are red.