Kenko MC Twilight Red & Blue Filters

All photos of this review were captured by Christophe Anagnostopoulos.
August 13, 2021 -> Mini Review was published.
***Reading Time: 26 minutes***

Intro – A Small Talk About Filters

Photographic filters are an amazing tool in the hands of a photographer.
Not only they can help control the available light in the most simple way, but they can also change the color balance, or even add some interesting effects to the scene.
And by photographic filters I’m talking about real optical filters that are attached in the front of the lens, and obviously not Instagram/software filters.

Despite the heavy use of software in our days, for applying digital filters to a photo, some photographic filters simply cannot be reproduced with realistic results in post, with the most notable one being the Circular Polarizer (C-PL) filter effect on the scene.

And even if some effects can be created digitally with “realistic” results, I personally prefer to capture as much as possible in camera during the shooting, having a better overall experience, just like the analog days, where the photographer had to go practical and capture everything in camera..
But it is also important to note that with this way I minimize the time that I’m sitting in front of the computer.

Kenko MC Twilight Filters

The Kenko MC Twilight Color Red and Blue Filters are Color Enhance Filters that can affect the overall color of the scene directly in camera during shooting.

More specifically, the Red Filter increases the red tones of the image, making it a great choice for sunset or sunrise shots, while the Blue Filter increases the overall blue tones of the scene, like in Blue Hour shots.

Kenko MC Twilight Red

Kenko MC Twilight Blue

The two (2) filters can also be stacked, creating a unique color palette like in the example below.

Kenko MC Twilight Red & Blue (stacked)

Build Quality

Kenko is a comprehensive optical manufacturer that produces high quality optical and photographic products, so excellent optical performance and build quality of the filters must be expected.

As it can be seen in the name of filter, these filters are Multi-Coated (MC) which means that the produced image will be of highest quality with no optical aberrations.

Both Red and Blue filters are currently available at the most common sizes, starting from 49mm and up to 82mm.

You can find more info about the filters here -> Kenko Global

*Disclaimer*

I’m a Global Ambassador of Tokina since 2017, however this is not a paid post, and I’m only expressing my personal thoughts and experiences using this filters from Kenko.

User Experience

From my tests and in terms of exposure, both filters have a small reduction in light, measuring at most at 2/3 of a stop (depending on the scene), something that all cameras of the last 5-7 years can handle easily without any issues.

In case you decide to stack both filters (Red + Blue), to create this beautiful 80’s style pink/purplish tone color in your scene, then you have to adjust your exposure by +1 / +1.5 stops due to the combined reduction of light.

Depending on the focal length of the lens as also the overall light of the scene, there might be some visible vignetting at the edges of the frame, and in case you decide to stack both filters there will be some strong dark regions, that can be fixed either in post or by cropping a little in PS/LR.

From my tests with my ultra wide angle lens, the Tokina firin 20mm F2 AF, there was some visible vignetting, while on my other lenses (Tokina opera 50mm, Tokina atx-m 85mm) there were no issues at all.

Image Samples

The first example is a sunset seascape scene.

Camera Gear
Lens: Tokina firin 20mm F2 AF
Camera: Nikon Z 7ii (with TZE-01 adapter)
Tripod: Slik Vari-CF 704
Location: Antiparos Island, Greece

No Filter

F8 – 1/5s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Red Filter

F8 – 0.5s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Blue Filter

F8 – 0.5s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Red & Blue Filters

F8 – 1 sec – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Let’s take a closer and more detailed look, this time in landscape orientation with Before and After samples.
Please note that the sun in the No Filter image is blown out simply because I didn’t want to use any other filter (like in example a Gradient ND), showcasing the effect of light reduction.

No FilterNo Filter
No FilterNo Filter
No FilterNo Filter

The second example is another summer/sunset seascape scene.

Camera Gear
Lens: Tokina atx-m 85mm F1.8 FE
Camera: Nikon Z 7ii (with TZE-01 adapter)
(Handheld)

No Filter

F2 – 1/1250s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Red Filter

F2 – 1/800s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Blue Filter

F2 – 1/800s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Red & Blue Filters

F2 – 1/320s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Once again I didn’t use any additional filters, as I wanted to capture the scene as natural as possible.
Note that the heavy, thick clouds near the horizon were the terrible consequence of the fires that burned the island of Evia for more than 8 (!) days..

No FilterNo Filter
No FilterNo Filter
No FilterNo Filter

The third example is a simpler, more everyday scene, with the camera facing away from the sun during sunrise.

Camera Gear
Lens: Tokina opera 50mm F1.4 (F)
Camera: Nikon Z 7ii (with FTZ adapter)
Tripod: Slik Vari-CF 704

No Filter

F5.6 – 1/200s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Red Filter

F5.6 – 1/100s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Blue Filter

F5.6 – 1/80s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

Red & Blue Filter (stacked)

F5.6 – 1/30s – ISO 64 – Daylight WB

No FilterNo Filter
No FilterNo Filter
No FilterNo Filter

The fourth and last example is a simple sunset scene, with the camera facing the sun directly.

Camera Gear
Lens: Tokina opera 50mm F1.4 (F)
Camera: Nikon Z 7ii (with FTZ adapter)
Tripod: Slik Vari-CF 704

No Filter

F5 – 1/1600s – ISO 64 – Natural Light WB

Red Filter

F5 – 1/1000s – ISO 64 – Natural Light WB

Blue Filter

F5 – 1/1000s – ISO 64 – Natural Light WB

Red & Blue Filters Stacked

F5 – 1/640s – ISO 64 – Natural Light WB

No FilterNo Filter
No FilterNo Filter
No FilterNo Filter

Personal Thoughts

As mentioned from the beginning, I’m a big fan of photographic filters as they are playing a major role in my shooting workflow, especially in landscape photography.

After using these two color filters from Kenko, I have managed to create some interesting shots during sunset and twilight here on the island I live, and I’m looking forward to capture even more shots in the near future.

I will definitely further test them, like in example in urban environments (big cities, etc), creating images with strong and colorful skies but unfortunately, here in Greece we are on the peak of the summer season, and my time is rather limited these days.

PS – I personally find also very interesting that I can replicate directly in camera the 80’s style(synthwave) color palette (I’m a big fan of), as also the famous Synthwave/Outrun Sun!

Conclusion

“Two very interesting and highly creative filters that can produce unique color palettes directly in camera, without the use of software, for both stills and video.
They are not suitable for every scene, but when used properly they can create some very interesting images.
Recommended!”

Kenko MC Twilight Red Filter & Hoya ProND1000 (10-stop)
Tokina firin 20mm F2 AF & Nikon Z 7ii | F6.3 – 60sec – ISO 64

Kenko MC Twilight Blue Filter
Tokina opera 50mm F1.4 & Nikon Z 7ii | F7.1 – 5sec – ISO 400