Over the years I’ve used many different brands of filter. They’re a piece of kit that is every bit as important as my camera and lenses for me. I’ve used brands from the very cheap to the top end brands, and for years I was an avid LEE Filters user and later Progrey USA. Recently I was approached by KASE Filters to trial their filter kit, and what is set out below are my own thoughts on these filters after using them out on location over the past month or so.
Kase sent me their Wolverine Master Kit, so firstly, what’s in the box?
Kase 100mm square filter storage box
K6 filter holder kit including polarising filter
1x adapter ring 77mm with thread for 82mm Kase round filters
1x adapter ring 82mm with thread for 82mm Kase round filters
2x step up rings (67-82mm & 72-82mm)
Wolverine 100x150mm 1.2 soft graduated ND filter
Wolverine 100x150mm 0.9 soft graduated ND filter
Wolverine 100x150mm 0.9 reverse graduated ND filter
Wolverine 100x100mm 6 stop ND filter
Wolverine 100x100mm 10 stop ND filter
Just unboxing the kit, you instantly realise that you’re holding a quality product in your hand. Nothing feels cheaply made, the storage box keeps all your filters separate and in order, including the polariser. I keep the box in my kit bag, but there’s a shoulder strap that attaches if you wish to keep your full set handy all the time.
The K6 filter holder with integrated polarising filter
Made from aircraft grade aluminium, the body of the holder is strong yet light. It attaches to the adapter rings using a screw type knob to ensure there is no accidental removal. It comes with geared adaptor rings 77-86mm – 82-86mm and 67-82mm – 72-82mm step rings. Also in the box are extra rails and longer screws provided to hold up to 3 100mm filters. Unlike other brands, Kase have put the filter gasket on the holder itself which I think is a great idea, as at times I have used other ND filters where the gasket has started peeling off the filter due to the way they have been stored.
The geared rinds attach to the lens, with the polariser fitted to the ring, and there’s a small wheel on the holder itself that enables you to turn the polariser to the required position. It’s very similar to the Nisi system in that respect, and it works great so far.
One slight issue I found with the K6 filter holder was that when using a 100×100 ND filter along with a 100x150mm graduated filter, I had to remove the graduated filter before being able to remove the 100×100 ND filter as the holder itself is the same size as the ND filters, so you can’t just get hold of it and pull the ND out from behind the graduated filter. However, I have spoken to Kase about this, and there is a revised filter holder on it’s way to rectify this very minor issue.
An other thing I spoke about was lens caps like others produce, that enable you to leave the adapter ring on the lenses at all times, with a lens cap that just slots over the ring, therefore saving you having to remove and refit the ring every time you get to a location, and this is in hand also.
Kase Filters customer service and quality control really is superb.
Wolverine filters, ND and graduated
Onto the filters themselves, and they’re are all glass, including the graduated filters. I was a little sceptical at first as I’ve used a well known brand of glass filters before, and got a horrible purple colour cast and an awful lens reflection back into my shots when shooting toward the sun, so I was eager to certainly try the reflection test out. I’d already read elsewhere how neutral these filters are, and I certainly was not disappointed. I’ve been using my Progrey USA filters for over a year or more now, and I never thought I would find a filter that was as neutral in colour, but I certainly have done so in Kase filters.
The really striking thing about the Wolverine Filters though, is the clarity or sharpness of the glass used. I’ve always been an advocate of not putting cheap glass (or resin) in front of an expensive lens, as it will always be detrimental to the image quality. Well, the sharpness of the Kase Wolverine filter is way above anything I’ve ever seen before. My images are so much sharper straight out of the camera, meaning less time spent on post production, and any time saving in front of the computer is a big bonus for me.
Whilst I’ve not had the best of conditions to test out the kit, I am 100% sure that these are by far the best filters that I have had the pleasure to use. Below are just a couple of example images made using these filters, and the colours are true to the condition as the camera would get even without the use of these amazing filters.
6 minute exposure (10 stop ND and 3 stop graduated filters)
2 second exposure (6 stop ND and 4 stop graduated filters)
4 stop ND graduated filter
3 stop ND graduated filter
As you can see, there is absolutely zero colour cast. Even shooting into the sunlight there is no lens reflected back into the image, two of my main concerns about using glass filters, but I needn’t have worried at all.
Being glass filters you’d think they would be fragile, but these filters are also shatter proof and scratch resistant. Don’t believe me? Check THIS VIDEO out, where the filter is dropped onto a typically hard stoney surface. Incredible.
To summarise briefly, Kase Filters are easily the best filters out there that I have had the pleasure to use. Coming from an avid LEE Filters and Progrey USA user (and a user of many other brands including Nisi, Formatt Hitech, Tiffen, Cokin and many more over the past 8 years), I have been blown away by the neutrality and sharpness of the Kase Filters. The material and build quality is the best I’ve had the pleasure of using. I honestly believe that these filters will be the market standard in a short time period because they are that good.
A great product combined with great customer service, and a willing to listen to you about what small improvements can be made to make the kits the best they can be really stands out for me. Willing to change a design upon listening to the user, or even going as far as to make a new filter for your requirements mean that I think Kase Filters will go a long way in the photographic community.
At the time of testing these filters out, I was in no way, shape or form affiliated with Kase Filters, and the thoughts on this post are my own, made from my own experience in using these filters out on location.