Last year I made the decision to switch filter systems. At the time I was using the Lee 100mm system and the Lee Seven5 system for smaller cameras (I still use the Seven5 with Micro43 cameras and my pocket camera because of the size). I had been a long time Lee Filter user and had been happy with the filters. What changed my mind was the cost of the filters when you consider how easily they scratched. And it wasn’t just large scratches that I’m talking about, it was micro scratches on the surface of the filter. Often you couldn’t see these until you started to shoot into the sun, when everything became obvious and the photos would often be ruined by flare.
Because of my experience with the resin filters I had been considering a switch to using glass. At the time Lee didn’t offer glass filters other than the big and little stoppers. And my experience with those had been poor due to a strong blue colour cast but also having smashed a couple of them when they popped off my camera; I still have no idea how. This experience had left me wary of using glass filters although I knew in my heart that it was probably the way to go.
Then I had an experience which made up my mind in an instant. I tried a friend’s glass Nisi filters and the results were amazing. It was as if someone had wiped my lenses clean, but I didn’t switch to Nisi. Instead I switched to Kase; that’s because the Kase filters are shatterproof and scratch resistant and I think that’s a big deal.
Now these glass filters aren’t cheap (but I honestly believe they are worth it) so initially I bought a couple to try them. I also didn’t want the added expense of a filter holder so decided to use my Lee 100mm holder and switched the filter holder inserts that hold the filters in place. The standard Lee holders aren’t strong enough to hold the slippery, heavier glass filters in place and they can easily slide through.
With the new filter inserts in place the Kase filters worked fine, and I quickly realised the Kase Wolverine filters were what I had been looking for. I bought a couple more and then a few more, but I continued to use the Lee 100mm filter holder with them. But, there was one niggling problem remained with the Lee holder and that was vignetting.
The design of the Lee holder is such that the add on ring for the polarising filter sits on the outside of the holder. Despite this being a large 105mm diameter it can still cause vignetting with wide angle lenses, even without the polarising filter attached. Add the polariser and you suddenly restrict the field of vision considerably. The Kase filter holder by contrast has the polarising filter built into the holder and it sits almost flush to the face of the lens, in line with the filter adapter ring. Result – no vignetting.
When I recently visited the Photography Show in Birmingham I called by the Kase stand to take a closer look at the Kase filter holder. The vignetting issue with my Lee holder was becoming a major problem and had prevented me from taking some shots that I felt sure would be great. When I looked at the Kase K6 holder I was immediately impressed. It’s well engineered from aluminium, it’s smaller than the Lee holder (but still takes 100mm filters), it’s lighter and most importantly it’s thinner. By thinner I mean that it doesn’t protrude as far from the lens so the risk of vignetting with ultra-wide lenses like the Fuji 10-24 is minimised. In all the excitement at the show though I forgot to place an order.
Fortunately, when I did place an order the Kase K6 holder had sold out as there had been so much interest at the show. I say fortunately because Kase has just launched the new K8 Magnetic filter and when I heard I switched my ordered that instead. One of the benefits with the K8 holder is that the polarising filter attaches to the filter holder magnetically. This allows you to pop it out rather than unscrew it if you don’t want to use a polariser. This may sound minor, but when it’s cold and your fumbling around outside, it can be a significant advantage.
I’m planning on heading out with the new holder in the next few days and hope to be able to share a full review on the blog next week.
For the sake of openness and honesty I should tell you that I do sell Kase filters through my website. This came about after I bought my first set of Kase filters. If I didn’t think these were great filters, they wouldn’t appear on my website. I only recommend what I use myself and truly believe in.
11 thoughts on “New Kase K8 Magnetic Filter Holder”
I have just switched from Cokin to Kase and have the new K8 holder. I have a problem using my right arm, so the magnetic polariser holder was a boon to me and a key reason I bought Kase rather than NiSi. The other key reasons were that the NiSi holder has two very small wheels close behind the filter to rotate the CPL (I have large hands and found this difficult and impossible if wearing gloves) whereas the Kase has one large wheel on the outside of the holder; and the locking device on the Kase screws the holder to the ring, whereas the NiSi is a pull/push arrangement which seems less secure to me. In addition the NiSi lens protectors are very stiff and difficult to remove, but the soon to be released Kase ones are of a softer plastic 3D printed design which are much easier to remove.
Thanks Roger, it sounds like your experience is along the lines of my thoughts. Interesting the NiSi is the pull/push arrangement which is the same as Lee use. Although it seems reasonable, I have had the Lee holder pop off my lenses a few times now (smashing a Lee Small Stopper filter) when I was certain it was on securely. I’m looking forward to getting hold of some of the lens protectors. I used those with my Lee filters and they were a great accessory.
I’m thinking of going for the K8 holder myself after getting fed up of trying to remove the Lee landscape polariser from the holder – the Kase magnetic system seems a great idea.
However I do have quite a few Lee filters so would hope to use them in the Kase holder and replace them gradually so I’m wondering if the Lee filters will fit the Kase holder (not sure if they are slightly thicker than Kase filters?) and in particular whether big stoppers will fit the Kase holder without light leakage?
Also, how strongly does the magnetic polariser attach to the adaptor ring – I’m thinking about using the polariser without holder attached at times??
Hi Les, The Lee filters do slot into the K8 holder, I just tried mine. They are though quite stiff because the Kase holder applies more pressure to the filters to hold them in place. Glass filters are heavier than the resin ones and a lot more slippy. The extra pressure is needed to prevent them slipping in the holder. The Lee Resin and Kase Glass filters are the same thickness.
The problem with the Lee big stopper is that it has a foam gasket attached to prevent Light Leaks. The Kase K8 holder already has a similar gasket but fitter to the holder. If you try to insert the big stopper the gaskets catch on each other and stop you. The easy solution is to turn the big stopper round so the gasket faces out. It then slides into the holder and you can use it. Because it’s glass, you can insert and remove it without problems.
As for the polariser, it fits snuggly against the filter ring so you can remove the holder and leave the polariser in place. I’m finding it a bit of a struggle to get the polariser off the ring if the ring is attached to the lens. You need to get a fingernail between the ring and the filter to be able to remove it. It’s easier to unscrew the ring and pop the polariser off.
Hope this helps
Thanks Robin, that’s really helpful. Cheers 🙂
I have just bought the K8 for my Fuji 10~24mm. Which ND filters would you recommend to make a basic 100mm kit for landscape?
The K8 holder with magnetic polarising filter is a great start. Which filters to pair with it really depends on budget but personally, I would start with a 3 stop (0.9) soft grad and use this where there is a tree or mountain in the sky so the horizon isn’t flat. It is though a little soft for using all the time so I would also use a 2 stop (0.6) Hard ND Grad. These two filters can cover most situations. If you want to do some longer exposures I would consider a 6 stop ND filter which can also be paired up with the polariser to produce even longer exposures.
This is a good basic kit to start with. If you shoot a lot of sunrise and sunsets, the reverse ND grad is excellent. I use both the 0.9 and 1.2 versions but the 0.9 is probably my favorite.
If you want to discuss filters I’m happy to speak on the phone to answer any questions.
Thanks Robin, your information is useful; I will place an order soon. At the price it will be one or two at a time!
Thanks Norman, I realise they aren’t cheap filters but the performance is worth it (in my opinion). I have also drafted an article for the next Lenscraft newsletter (due out at the weekend) about building up a filter collection. It may help.
I tried the Kase K8 holder and bought a Kase 10 stop filter too but unfortunately had to return them. I found the thumb turn wheel (to adjust the polariser) frequently got stuck and would not turn, also there appeared to be a very small gap between the filter & the holder gasket at top & bottom of the holder.
Of course, I could have been unlucky & to be fair to Kase they did offer me either a replacement or refund. wondered what other people’s experience of the K8 holder has been as notwithstanding the two issues I mentioned, i did really like the holder…
Sounds like you were unlucky but Kase is very good with their support.