Kase Filters Magnetic circular filters reviews
WARNING! Some filters were dropped in the testing of these filters.
I’ve been using Kase Filters circular system for some time now. The screw in circular system is a great, compact and robust system which is lightweight and perfect for me in the outdoors and dealing with ever changing weather conditions in the mountains. I also don’t have to worry about the size and storage as they are so small in comparison to square filter system.
In terms of quality, strength, colour cast and weight the circle system takes the strengths of the Kase Wolverine glass used throughout the filter range. My only comment with screw in filters is they can be fiddly and a pain to thread on to the lens when cold or wet. So, what better way to improve the system by introducing a magnetic snap system.
Much like the Xume filter system from Manfrotto which uses adapters on the front element and filters too, the Kase Magnetic filter system goes one step further with an adapter on the lens and the filters which don’t require adapters and simply snap on to the front and can be stacked. Yes stacked!
This not only makes them fast and easier to use but also cheaper and less faff when trying to find numerous adapters to your filters to match your lenses. Sorry Manfrotto, you need to get smarter.
The Kase Magnetic circular filters come in a set which consists of a ND1000 (10 stop), 0.9 GND (3 stop) and CPL which matches that of my GCLP and both the GND and ND use the superior Kase Wolverine glass that many have come to love and swapping too. Let’s not forget the leather pouch which the filters come housed in. However, during my testing and time with the filters I didn’t use the leather pouch. I use Kase filter caps which are no longer available to purchase but these screw in to the ends and protect your filters but doesn’t add extra size or weight.
When I was told about this new set I was excited about the magnetic system and how it would cope in the cold and wet so I took the system to Scotland for a week of mountaineering, scrambling, rain and photography and more rain. Have you got the picture yet, it rained… A lot!
The only filter in the line up I was hesitant about and openly shared my thoughts as to this filter being a waste of time was the GND in circular form. Kase aren’t the first to introduce a circular GND and certainly won’t be the last. Unlike Graduated ND filters for 100mm or 150mm systems you can’t adjust the line of gradient. It’s fixed in the centre so unless you have a composition which fits the subject being in the centre the filter seemed pretty useless in my opinion. But, and a big one at that! BUT, I would be eating my words very shortly as the circular GND was one of my go-to filters on the trip to Scotland which surprised me a great deal. The filter I used least was the 10-stop ND, not that anything was wrong with the filter, just 10 stops is to much for what I need and a 6-stop would had suited better. Which on that note is rumoured to be coming in the circular magnetic set.
The strength of the screw in filter is that it’s hard to take off, once screwed in. It’s great in remote regions and poor weather where you don’t want your expensive filters falling off mid walk or climb up a mountain. That said, and like I’ve said previously getting them off can be a pain. Especially when cold or wet.
The fear that many might have is will a magnetic hold up and retain its strength after long term use, in the wet or cold?
I can’t answer in terms of long term, having only used them for a few weeks but in the cold, wet and two weeks on the filters feel as strong as the day they came out of the box. In fact the magnetics are very strong, at times to good but this can be down to what I feel a slight design fault.
When stacked the first and second filters sit inside each other, so no lip exists. Come to the third filter and you have a slight lip which makes it easier to snap the filter on and off as you can get your finger under the edge. Whereas when the filters sit flush its not as quick to pull apart. I would had preferred this lip across the whole stacking to make it easier to pull apart.
Where I needed to rotate the CPL or adjust the GND of course this required rotating the filters some what which was easy enough. When stacked they would stick a little and rotate both filters below which if I didn’t need the below filters rotating would be frustrating, so removing the GND was the easiest method I found in the end. At least it’s quick to remove the filters eh.
Getting passed this fiddly mishap the magnetics and filters were plenty strong and no issues in the rain, walking and having the camera swinging about or on the 3ºc we experienced on the mountain summits. And when the rain came the filters were super quick to pull off and hide away in my pockets to avoid them getting wet. No more stopping to unscrew the filter or put a cap on the end.
I have been told a stronger adapter is in the making and this will be tested in due course, I have opposed the stronger magnetics as from my demonstrations and testing so far proved the magnetics were plenty strong enough already.
Now in the testing of these filters I had a 77mm filter set which is far too big for my tiny Olympus system. My usual set is still 72mm which is my largest thread size but the 77mm was silly on my 12-40mm which is only a 62mm. That said, this worked to my benefit and stacking all three filters I experienced no vignetting but, my camera did cool down a little in white balance terms. Not an issue as I can use a custom white balance and balance this will be because of a 10-stop ND rather than my typical 6-stop which requires no white balance changes.
During the whole trip I only used the 10-stop two or three times, this being due to weather conditions and the need to do a long exposure on a mountain wasn’t needed. The CPL and GND were most used, with the GND being the most used in controlling the exposure in the clouds.
So with the quality of glass no issue, some casting when all three were stacked which is easily fixed in post or setting a manual white balance and stacking the filters left no issues with the magnetics in the wet, cold or heat for that matter. What about the strength of the filters? I don’t mean 6-stop vs 10-stop I mean drop test strength. Kase Wolverine filters are said to be smash proof up to 1.5m which for most photographers is a great peace of mind as typically 1.5m is the height of your tripod.
Don’t lie, we’ve all gone to put a filter on the front element and it fall off.
We took the drop test to a new extreme! We dropped it at its 1.5m (roughly) 3m where I threw the filter in the air and a mighty 10m plus drop test where we played frisbee on a mountain summit.
The first two drop tests I was confident the filter would survive, Gareth Danks and Jim Cossey were both a little weary and surprised when it survived but even the large 10m drop/throw I was nervous and thought that’s the filter smashed, at the very least partially damaged. As Jim picked up the filter before it rolled off the rocky lip and dropped a further 200m and we ran over to see the results. All three of us were shocked and left stunned.
Not a scratch.
No damage at all.
How? Kase Filters, what have you created here?
If you’ve made it this far in the review you will be now wondering how much are these filters and where, when and how can I get hold of these smash proof, god like filters? Sorry to burst the bubble of excitement but these are pre-production models but the understanding is two kits will be available to purchase soon enough from Kase Filters and resellers.
The four piece will be supplied with two ND filters - a 3 stop and 6 stop ND and CPL and an additional 10 stop in the 5 piece version. Kase Filters UK suggest that the filter kits will be the most economical way of buying the filters, rather then individually, and will be in a similar price range to the screw-in filters. Stay tuned to the Kase UK Facebook page for future information.
The screw in filters I use from Kase already do everything I need and wanted but the circular magnetic system takes what I enjoy about the small and robust filters and makes them better. In comparison may not be as secure against screw in filters but for speed and ease of use these are far better!
Personally I wouldn’t use the 10-stop ND and would had preferred a 6-stop but in the small time and use I had the 10-stop it did the trick and had no issues, until stacked with all three filters and some cooling in the white balance was present but was easily fixed.
Transparency Notice: Please note that I am a Kase Filters UK champion and receive the products for free to review from Kase Filters and are returned after completing the review. The review is no guarantee of endorsement. I receive commission from sales through affiliate links on my pages. Any Kase Filters I own has been bought at a discounted rate by myself.
The Kase Filters Magnetic circular filters is a pre-production set for testing purposes only and is returned to Kase Filters after the review.