Graduated filters are popular with landscape photographers for reducing the brightness of skies so that they are not overexposed and blown out.
The new Hoya filters are unusual, however, because they fit straight to the camera lens without the vertical adjustments offered by regular square grads in filter holders.
Instead, the new Hoya ProND Grad filters have a fixed zone of transition in the center of the filter which is also softer than regular grads and will give a more progressive darkening effect which Hoya calls a ‘blender’ style. They won’t offer the positioning precision of a regular square grad but should reduce the sky exposure for better digital manipulation later.
Why make a circular grad?
Hoya is keen to push other advantages of its round grads compared to conventional square filters, such as the fact no bulky filter holders are needed and the filters are made of extremely high-quality, color-neutral optical glass.
The filters are mounted in a slim aluminium frame and can be rotated to allow for sloping or uneven horizons. A marker on the filter ring shows the point of deepest density to aid visual alignment and there is a filter thread on the front of the ring for attaching further filters or a lens cap.
The Hoya ProND Grad filters will come in 77mm and 82mm diameters, and in ND16 and ND32 densities. They will cost from £110 to £160 in the UK (US prices to follow) and will be available in July 2020.