Due to the success and feedback I have received on the review of the Hitech ND Grad’s, The lovely people at Hitech have sent me a Reverse Grad 0.9 to play with. I think its only fair I write a review on this, as I know a lot of you will be considering if its worth buying one or not?
Read the full review and some general info on reverse grads after the jump.
What is a Reverse Grad?
Ok so your kit bag is full of ND Grads and your Standard Grads but your now seeing all these lovely sunset photos online popping up and people saying that they are using a reverse grad. What is a reverse grad I hear u SCREAM!?!?!?!?!?
Well its simple a ND Grad but in reverse. Instead of the darkest part of the filter being at the top and the lightest being at the bottom of the grad its the opposite, you have the darkest part at the bottom of the grad (half way up) and the lightest part at the top.
What can you use this for then? Well in short anything you want, but what they are great at is anything that has highlights at the bottom of the grad (half way up the frame) that you want to control. i.e. Sunsets, when the sun is hitting the horizon, the sun is often over exposed on a standard ND grad as the lightest part is at the bottom of the frame, but when you are using a reverse grad you can control the highlights of the sun by placing the darkest part of the grad (half way up) over the brightest highlights and reduce the exposure by however many stops your filter is.
The photo at the top of this post is a great example of how this is allowing me to bring out the colours of the sunset without blowing the highlights and not underexposing the top half of the sky.
What will a Hitech Reverse grad to do my photography?
As you can see the reverse grad reduces the brightness of the highlights on the bottom of the graduated area. i.e. The horizon, this is very useful for sunsets. (All these are straight from the camera and havnt been edited in any way, except watermark added.)
Lets see the goods then!
As you can see from the above images I am using the slightly longer version 100mmx150mm which is a great help if the horizon is not in the center of the frame.
Hitech resin filters in general are quite thin, but i have not noticed any effect in their performance compared to other brands. The filter comes with its own plastic pouch, which will offer you some protection, but it is advised that you purchase a filter pouch to store these in as they scratch easy.
In the images above you can see how the filter is darker in the middle and lighter at the top, thus allowing it to control light on the horizon and not darken the top of the frame to much. The Hitech Reverse Grad is available in a selection of strengths from 0.3 , 0.6 and 0.9. I myself would say that the most useful one would be 0.9 when photographing sunsets.
Dose Size Matter?
The Hitech Reverse Grad comes in all three standard sizes a 85mm, 100mm and a 150mm. If you are planning on shooting at wide angels 17mm and below I would recommend the 100mm or the 150mm as you will be spending a lot of time in post, editing out the dark edges. One thing I would say is, if you are buying the 100mm version you may wish to consider the 150mm as you will need the extra bit of flex on the long side to position the filter in the correct place especially if your shooting wide angle and the brightest part of the sky is more towards the top of the frame.
The Hitech Reverse Grad is very similar to the standard grads, as it doesn’t give to much colour cast unless you double stack the filter with another or if you use long exposures. The photo to your left is an example of this as I have stacked the Hitech Reverse Grad 0.9 and a Hitech ND Grad 0.6 soft, together and the result is a slight purple tinge to the sky.
In fairness though this is an easy fix in lightroom or other editors. I wouldn’t get to hung up about this as I kind of like the colour cast these filters produced if they are double stacked as it brings out the colours in the sunset.
The build quality of the Hitech Reverse Grad is at the same level as their standard grads. They are still a resin based filter which are easy to scratch if you don’t take care of them (clean after use). One thing I did read online was that a few people had received wonky ones, which would be rather disappointing if it happened, but as far as I can see Teamwork and Hitech will replace these for you if this is the case.
Overall the Hitech Reverse Grads are VERY good! They are reasonably priced for the amount of work that must go into making them. If you are planning on taking photos of anything that has bright highlights on the horizon then you should definitely be packing these in your kit bag. There are a few little faults with these, such as they are easy to scratch and because they are resin based they can give you a slight colour cast with long exposures, but overall I would say these are worth every penny.
Available in different strengths 0.3,0.6 and 0.9
Available in a range of sizes to fit all popular filter holders
Very reasonable price tag
Easy to scratch
Very slight colour cast with long exposures
Where do i buy it i hear you cry?
TeamWorkPhoto Offer most of Hitech Filters at a very reasonable price
Hitech Also sell direct
Sample images using the Hitech Reverse ND Grad
This review is also on Landscape Photography Magazine
If you found this helpful or have had any thing to add please leave a comment bellow