The Hoya Intensifier filter claims to increase the intensity of reds and oranges within an image while not adding an overall color shift. It’s a great promise that might be especially beneficial for fall foliage photography. But does it work? Is it worth buying?
I have had my Hoya Intensifier filter for several years now, but I rarely use it. It does, in fact, intensify the reds and oranges within an image, but the promise of not making an overall color shift is false. The filter has a purple tint to the glass, so it should not come as a surprise that it adds a slight purple cast to the picture. That color shift is what makes the reds and oranges appear intensified. That’s how it works. In fact, if you don’t use the filter, but shift the white balance a couple spots towards purple, you can accomplish something similar. While I think that this filter could be beneficial for photographing autumn leaves, I don’t think it’s anywhere near an essential item for that purpose. If you like how it makes pictures look, by all means buy it and use it. If not, skip it. That’s my advice.
Here are two examples of how the Hoya Intensifier filter effects the picture:
There is another reason why you might use the Hoya Intensifier filter. This filter reduces light pollution in astrophotography. It does a decent job of it, in fact. If I’m photographing stars somewhere that I know will have light pollution, I like to use this filter to reduce the effects of it in my pictures. If I’m photographing stars somewhere where there is little to no light pollution, I won’t use the filter, as I prefer to not put extra glass between the subject and the sensor if I don’t have to. If you are interesting in astrophotography but aren’t near any dark sky parks, the Hoya Intensifier filter is probably worth buying and using.
To conclude, the Hoya Intensifier filter is perhaps OK for autumn foliage pictures. On one hand it does seem to intensify the reds and oranges within the picture, but on the other hand it does so by way of a color cast, which can be done in-camera with a white balance shift, and is opposite of what Hoya claims. But if you like to photograph stars and want to reduce the effects of light pollution on your pictures, this filter is a good option for that.