Filter News

Wastwater sunset in the Lake District. Captured using the Fuji X-T2 and 18-135 lens. Handheld with 0.6 ND hard Grad filter. RAW conversion in Lightroom.

If you read my blog or website I’m sure you will know that I regularly use filters in my work. I know I can easily blend multiple exposures, but for me there is a pleasure in taking a single shot and getting the exposure right in camera. And that’s one of the reasons why I like to use filters, or specifically Neutral Density Graduated filters. Another reason is that they give my image a look that I struggle to replicate when blending shots. This is particularly true when using smaller sensor cameras, where the sensor doesn’t have the same exposure latitude as a full frame camera.

Using filters does though have a downside. For one, they are expensive and the speed I seem to damage mine is increasing. For a long time, I used Lee 100mm filters and more recently the Lee Seven 5 series. These filters are good and produce the results I want, but I have a habit of scratching them. I find their surface is quickly covered in tiny micro scratches which often causes flare in bright light.

It’s these points together with a few others I haven’t mentioned, that lead to me search for a new filter provider. My aim was to switch from resin filters to glass. Hopefully these would be more robust providing I don’t drop them.

Broken glass Lee filter when the holder popped off the front of my lens. No idea what caused this as I wasn’t near the camera at the time.

Having looked at a few options from Hitech, Lee and Nisi, I have switched to a brand I hadn’t previously seen – Kase Wolverine. What swung my decision was not just that the filters are scratch resistant but that they are made from toughened glass that won’t shatter when you drop them. That’s fortunate as I have dropped one of them twice now.

Initially I purchased three new Kase Wolverine 100mm glass filters; a 0.9 (3 stop) soft graduate, a 0.6 (2 stop) hard graduate and 0.9 (3 stop) hard graduate. I’m currently using these with my Lee system holder which I modified using stronger filter inserts (provided free with the filters).

My initial reaction on using the filters was wow! These filters are so neutral and there is no flare, even when shooting directly into the sun. When they get wet, the water just runs off them. Best of all, my Fuji long lens focusses correctly when I use these filters (read this blog post if you haven’t seen the problem). This makes the filters very flexible and a joy to use.

The only problem I have experienced was the white lettering around the inside of my Fuji lenses reflecting onto the surface of the filter when the sun is at certain angles. I soon fixed this by placing black tape over the writing. It’s also a problem that I have seen with other filters and it’s not restricted to Kase.

In short, I was so impressed by these filters that I have been in discussions to act as an agent in the UK and have added them to my Lenscraft shop.

It’s great to find a product that works so well.


4 thoughts on “Filter News

    1. The B+W filters are good. I have a few of their UV filters. But for Landscape work I need square filters. If I don’t use square filters that I can position over the horizon I would need to make compositional compromises. It would send my OCD into overload.

  1. How easy was it fit the Kase adaptor onto the Lee holder and can you still use Lee filters in the converted holder

    1. It was very easy. You might recall when you bought the Lee filter holder it came in pieces with a small brass screwdriver. You unscrew these screws on the holder and the new plastic inserts are a direct replacement. It took me a couple of minutes. The Kase plastic inserts are a little stiffer than the Lee and work slightly differently. The Lee version grips the surface of the filter on each side along the edge. This quickly scratches the plastic filters in those areas (which isn’t a problem). The Kase version applies the pressure to either edge of the filter. Once fitted it’s easy to use either the Lee or Kase filter in the holder. The only thing you might notice is that the filters are gripped a little more firmly.

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