Tiffen has introduced a new range of neutral density filters that aim to allow stills photographers to shoot extreme long exposures without incurring the red color cast that is so common with ND filters. The XLE series comprises three 10-stop ND filters with differing infrared-cut characteristics, ranging from none in the XLE Axent, to moderate in the Advantix and complete IR suppression in the Apex.

The series is designed to overcome a problem that occurs when photographers use high density filters to shoot long exposures during daylight hours. While ND filters block visible light, to allow a 30 second exposure that softens moving water for example, they don’t block infrared light. Many camera sensors are sensitive to IR wavelengths and record this light as a slight warm red tint in normal photography, but during the course of a 30 second exposure the amount of IR light reaching the sensor becomes significant and can create a deep red cast in the image.

Tiffen’s XLE filters are designed to remove IR and allow photographers to achieve more natural looking colors. As the Axent filter removes the least IR, Tiffen recommends it particularly for black and white work, while the Advantix filter cuts IR from wave lengths of just over 800nm. The Apex filter blocks IR light completely using a near-IR blocker and a Tiffen Hot Mirror, and in doing so will introduce a green/cyan cast that can be removed post-capture in software or more easily with a custom white balance setting or grey reference at the time of shooting. The Advantix filter has a similar effect but on a milder scale.

Camera light meters will not be accurate with either the Advantix or the Apex filters, so it is recommended that digital photographers work in manual exposure mode to achieve the look that they prefer.

The amount of infrared recorded during a long exposure varies from camera to camera and is a factor of the strength of the IR cut filter used on the sensor. Each manufacturer has its own preferences for at which point this should be and when allowing IR to record is a benefit to the color balance of the camera. Tiffen has said that when used with the Fuji X-Trans sensor the Axent filter creates a kind of color infrared effect.

These screw-in filters are available in sizes from 40.5mm to 82mm, and will be priced according to size.

For more information visit the Tiffen website.

The Axent filter is a straight 10-stop ND filter with no IR control. It will priced $17.06-62.76/ £28.99-103.99 depending on size
The Advantix version adds control of near-IR, cutting wavelengths beyond 800nm. It will be priced $52.50-200.00/£49.99-129.99 depending on size
The Apex filter cuts near IR but also uses a Tiffen Hot Mirror (hence the pink reflection) to cut all infrared wavelengths. It will be priced $127.50-275.00/£78.99-168.99