The Breakthrough X2 vs X4: We Filter Through the Details

It’s no secret that Breakthrough filters have made a real impact on the market since they arrived on the scene in 2015 thanks to a groundbreaking Kickstarter campaign. They create filters that are unquestionably well-built, sharp, and easy to use, with a reputation for superior color neutrality.

But once you’ve decided to purchase from Breakthrough, should you go with the X4? Or the X2? We run down the key points of each model.

The X2

Breakthrough UV X2 filter Breakthrough X2 UV

Designed with sharp H-K9L optical glass (AGC for the UV lens) manufactured in Japan, the X2 features a rugged, durable design. Breakthrough’s state-of-the-art, 8-layer coating repels dirt, dust and water by beading, instead of absorbing and smearing, like many other filter brands. A completely weather-sealed, aluminum traction frame withstands harsh conditions, and the X2 ND filter virtually eliminates visible flaring and ghosting while keeping images razor-sharp.

The X4

Marketed as the “world’s most color neutral ND filter,” the Breakthrough X4 ND uses a non-conventional oven process in production to achieve exceptional color neutrality. Manufactured in Germany, both the UV and ND X4 feature SCHOTT Superwhite B270® optical glass, which holds Breakthrough’s proprietary MRC and nanotec® coatings exceptionally well, while also featuring excellent transmission in the ultraviolet, visible and infrared spectrums.

breakthrough UV X1,X2,X4 Breakthrough UV X1, X2, X4

The X4 was designed for landscape photographers in the field, and can withstand extreme wind, saltwater, dust and other harsh weather elements. Although both brass and aluminum seem to work well in the plastic threads used in most modern lenses, the brass fittings in the X4 tend to minimize sticking and binding. Additionally, the additional 8 layers of anti-reflective multi-coatings in the X4—for a total of 16—are more resistant to water, finger oils and scratches, and generally make the filters easier to clean than the X2.

Both the X2 and the X4 come with Breakthrough’s 25-year ironclad warranty, so whichever filter you choose, Breakthrough stands by their superior workmanship—and you’ll love the phenomenal results.

As you can see in the chart below, Breakthrough filters both X2 and X4 versions surpass all other brands in Circular Polarizer/Linear Transmission. 

Breakthrough filters graph compared to other brands CPL Transmission

X2

  • H-K9L/AGC optical glass manufactured in Japan
  • 8 layers of multi-coating—4 per side
  • Aluminum threading
  • 3.5mm deep

X4 

  • Shott B270 glass manufactured in Germany
  • 16 layers of multi-coating—8 per side
  • Brass threading
  • 3.1mm deep
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