A diffusion filter gives halation with lights, especially in low light scenarios. It also softens skins and harsh textures when shooting portraits. The aim of these filters are to get an organic, dreamy, almost cinematic effect in photography and video production.
The CineBloom Filter, which is one of Moment’s latest filter releases, has been well received by reviewers, including myself. It’s much more affordable than filters that have been in the industry for some time, and it’s built like a filter should be. It’s strong, with a durable metal frame in red. You can use it on any lens with a filter thread, or you can use it on your mobile phone.
I received the filter and the mount that can be used with any smartphone. I had my new iPhone 12 Pro, so it was an easy sell for me to review both the filter and the mount. The fact that I used a smartphone makes it neutral and color science or resolution isn’t of importance, it’s the effect the filter offers that this review is going to focus on, even with the computational photography the phone has.
You can do professional projects with it, and if it suits the shoot, this filter would do the job. It comes in a circular, metal casing, and the way it’s stored inside the casing's foam makes it easy to take by hand and get it onto a camera lens without accidentally touching the glass.
At night you’ll get blooming halation in any lights in the frame. With portraits and lifestyle images, you’ll see smoother skin, and a reduction in sharpness and saturation, although at night, with the computational photography of the iPhone, my saturation was good.
There are two different filters, a 20% and a 10% version, and are the two different strengths of diffusion each offers. The 20% filter is tested in this review.
If you’re using any atmospheric mist spray in your shot, it will be enhanced by this filter. And you can also stack it onto ND filters.
Anamorphic lenses are known to cause unique lens flares when pointed at lights. When using this filter, the flaring lights will also have an enhanced, more dreamy effect than just with the anamorphic lens.
It’s often difficult to retouch skins in video, so this filter is like magic, and softens skins and removes any harshness when you’re shooting people. It’s not too smooth though, so don’t fear your footage looking airbrushed.
The imperfection that grain and blacks have in film photography, is part of what we try to emulate when using VSCO or any film preset in Lightroom. And it’s not like we try to create what we had in the past, it’s just how we see the world and would like to portray it. I don’t want to look at a photo and think wow, look at the sharpness of that texture. I want to look at a photo and think wow, what a moment captured, how beautiful, how striking.
The Cinebloom filters give that sensation, almost like film photography does nowadays. It’s different though, because it’s not really a nostalgic experience that I’m trying to capture, but rather the way many of us see the world around us today. I am not reminiscing about the past. I just want to maintain the organic feeling of being in a space and enjoy capturing it in that way. I can even say the Cinebloom filter effect is to digital what the imperfection of grain is to film.
What I Didn’t Like
- I was using it with an iPhone, so it wasn’t just a phone anymore. I often shoot from the hip without having people notice and I can often get away with it. But, with the filter, people tend to look, which is different. But I must also say, this only happens in certain scenarios.
- With the filter and mount, it’s not possible to carry it in your pants pocket. You’ll need to get it into your coat or jacket pocket when shooting. It’s not an issue, it’s just different. (Most of us would use this on our cameras though, so both of these issues are not important.)
What I Liked
- I didn’t pay for the filter, but I surely liked the fact that the price was less than half of that of filters in the same category.
- It gives my images that organic feeling that I suppose film has. It’s the imperfection that the diffusion causes that makes it unique. The blooming of lights and the reduction of sharpness on the overall image is what will give unique looking images, in-camera.
- I have always considered digital photography as being too sharp. It's not the way I see the world and I know I'm not the only one who thinks this to be true. This filter gives the ability to get back to what made film photography something we cherish today. It's the softer edges, which makes you focus more on the moment captured.
So my thoughts are that if it’s your first time hearing about these kinds of filters, it can be interesting to consider. And, if you want to compare it to the other diffusion filters, like the PolarPro Mist I am going to tell you that you’ll find ones in the same league with regards to quality and effect, but at a much more affordable price.
And, both of these filters have the same price. The largest filter, which is of 82mm diameter is only $69. And the other smaller filters are cheaper.
Will I carry it in my bag when walking around the city, in other words, when I go out shooting, will this be a stylistic addition to my work? The answer is yes. I think it’s a stylistic approach that matches my vision, approach, and what I want out of photography.