Fstoppers Reviews the Moment CineBloom Diffusion Filter

Fstoppers Reviews the Moment CineBloom Diffusion Filter

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.

Professional Use

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.

For Video

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.

For Photography

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. 

Final thoughts

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.

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7 Comments

Montee Stowes's picture

I own the 10% Cinebloom and I absolutely love it.

My current project is a documentary featuring a diverse group of plus size women and the filter creates a very subtle, but very smooth effect on the skin. Regardless of the skin color, it always creates a very creamy old Hollywood-look to it.

I also have the 20% but unfortunately, wasn't able to use it because the lens I wanted to use it on was 2mm too small (35mm C mount). Can't wait to use it though.

I'm REALLY happy with my 10% filter though; I purchased a second one for my B-cam.

Montee Stowes's picture

I own the 10% Cinebloom and I absolutely love it.

My current project is a documentary featuring a diverse group of plus size women and the filter creates a very subtle, but very smooth effect on the skin. Regardless of the skin color, it always creates a very creamy old Hollywood-look to it.

I also have the 20% but unfortunately, wasn't able to use it because the lens I wanted to use it on was 2mm too small (35mm C mount). Can't wait to use it though.

I'm REALLY happy with my 10% filter though; I purchased a second one for my B-cam.

Jan Holler's picture

So you buy super-expensive lenses and then artificially denigrate them? We read dozens of lens tests, criticise low contrast, chromatic aberration, halos and then this. If I want low contrast, I take the Nikon AF-D 50mm f/1.4 @f/1.4.
It's funny how people today try to artificially create the shortcomings they used to be angry about to produce mostly ordinary YouTube videos that look like they come from the past.
Is this the result of a lack of creativity? Or a sentimental throwback to the old days? And why not using gauze or vaseline on an UV or skylight filter to achieve similar effects?

Richard King's picture

Real shooters don't obsess over MTF charts.

The current crop of cameras / lenses is way too resolving for most portraiture, which is why we are finding ways of dealing with this on the shoot or in post.

Thats not a bad thing, just a current realism

Errick Jackson's picture

I think the way the OP characterized the nostalgia element of it is a bit off.

This type of thing is a staple in the film industry. Cinema lenses are some of the sharpest lenses around, but they regularly put various diffusion filters on to give certain softening characteristics. It's just that now, the mainstream photography world is really getting into them. The mainstream film industry has used them for decades though.

While I much prefer the Black Satin filters over any of the popular three that people are raving about right now, I don't think it is some slight on lens optics to want them. I personally prefer to have an excellent, clinically sharp lens, and if I want to give a different feel to my image, I might pop on a Tiffen Ultracon or Schneider Black Magic instead of having to buy an entire other lens just for that look. It's actually a pretty economical and lightweight way of getting different optical feels to your images.

Jan Holler's picture

I do agree. The mainstream film industry adds halos, flares, rings extensively. E.g. Star Trek Dark Horizon uses this throughout the entire film. Nostalgia is o.k. if referenced shortly or once in a while but I think we should live in a today's world and not try to mimicry the past. And please not in ordinary YT reviews. That is just too much.

Lee Christiansen's picture

The best diffusion filters I've ever had are a set of 4x Tiffen Water-White Soft FX filters.

These have actual dimples in the surface of an otherwise pure piece of glass to give localised halation in a unique way. So you get a combination of a sharp image with a slightly halo'd effect when there's a strong light. And it also gives a pleasing effect on skin too. An "in-focus, soft-focus" effect as it was advertised.

My set goes from very subtle to more obvious and I've shot whole productions with these in front of the lens. And very different to Promists, nets or other printed types of diffuser - which to me, look a bit 1980's

Almost impossible to get the same effect with software - used by me for video work when I got them, but I wonder what they'd do for my photography...?

(Up for sale if anyone wants them - ha)

Sometimes the old ways are better than "doing it in post" if you can be brave enough to commit to the style at time of shooting. I found I actually shot and lit differently when using the Soft FX filters.