There’s a famous story (also proven false) that NASA spent millions of dollars inventing a pressurized pen that could work in the zero gravity of space, while Soviet cosmonauts just used pencils. A new lens filter for cameras with a mirror finish allowing subjects to see themselves feels like the pencil, while cameras with pop-out LCD displays that can rotate around for selfies feels like NASA’s million-dollar pen.
The Reflective Filter seems like it elegantly solves a problem that camera makers tried to solve by developing complicated articulated screens that can be rotated 180-degrees so that someone standing in front of the camera can see a live preview of what the camera sees. That latter approach works, but it often means that the subject being photographed is looking in the wrong place: off to the side of a camera’s lens instead of directly into it.
The Reflective Filter works on the same principle as teleprompters do. A teleprompter uses a reflective piece of glass placed in front of a camera lens at an angle. Anyone looking into the lens, such as a news anchor, sees a scrolling script projected onto the teleprompter, but the text isn’t seen by the camera itself. Instead of a script, the Reflective Filter’s mirror finish allows someone being photographed to see themselves, whether it’s a vlogger shooting a selfie video, or a model wanting to ensure they’re striking the perfect pose before the shutter clicks.
Created by a company called Excelence Brilliance Indesign, the Reflective Filter doubles as a polarizing filter and simply screws onto the end of a lens like those accessories do, and its creators promise there’s no loss of image quality while it’s being used. At launch, it will only be available in an 82-millimeter size option but will include step ring adapters so it can also be used on smaller lenses—but you can’t buy it just yet. EBI is going the crowdfunding route and if you want a Reflective Filter you’ll need to contribute to its Kickstarter campaign. Pricing is as cheap as $50 for the earliest backers, but retail pricing is expected to be closer to $150 so if you’re willing to take a risk you can save quite a bit of money.
Delivery is expected sometime in June, later this year, but that’s probably a best case scenario. Factories and supply chains around the world are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, and even big companies like Microsoft and Sony are still struggling to get products onto shelves. The Reflective Filter is certainly a lot simpler than a PlayStation or an Xbox, but a little bit of patience and a heaping helping of faith are important for any crowdfunding campaign you choose to back.