Fstoppers Reviews Haida NanoPro Magnetic Kit: Essential Filters Made Easy
While there are dozens of options for filters, covering different effects, sizes, and manufacturers, I found that I only needed a few key filters for landscape shooting. I like to use neutral density filters and circular polarizers, both of which are punchy and less easy to reproduce in software. Haida’s NanoPro line has given excellent results in my past experience – can their line of magnetic filters deliver the same quality?
Haida sells a number of parts of its “Magnetic Series” including UV, ND, Variable ND, Graduated ND, and Polarizing ND filters, as well as their Astro Focused Clear Night Filter and adapter rings. In this review, I’ll take a look at the 82mm Kit, which includes everything needed for use with 82mm and 77mm lenses, thanks to the included adapter ring. For filters, the kit includes a circular polarizer, a 6-stop ND filter and a 10-stop ND filter. It also includes a leather carrying case and a magnetic lens cap.
The Haida packaging is clean and functional, with the filters already stored in the included carrying case. Unpacking is simple, just unpack the filters, which left the factory blank. Beyond that, there’s not much to the question of usability – the filters easily attach to the magnetic ring once you’ve mounted it on your lens. You can stack the filters on top of each other, while the slim filter rings reduce the risk of stacked filters being vignetted.
Attachment and detachment is literally a click away, with the filters fitting firmly together and separating under the pressure of your fingertips. While the filters are secure, it’s possible to drop them if you’re not careful, or even drop them if something catches just the front of the lens. The super thin filter rings, while nice to prevent vignetting, don’t offer a ton of grip options. This lack of grip also impacts the case, where you have to carefully pull the filters out of the deeper pockets or you’ll end up smearing the glass. These issues are not unique to these filters as they affect any filter with a thin ring, but they are more noticeable given the intent of the magnetic design. A filter that makes it so easy to put on and take off should also make it easy to handle and store.
While the magnetic attachment means you won’t need to screw them in often, the threads are cut very cleanly. This makes it easier to attach the magnetic base, as well as unscrewing it after use.
Beyond the usability, which is pretty good, the bigger question is how do the filters work? It doesn’t make sense to put a $ 10 filter with poor performance in front of a $ 2000 goal. Fortunately, these filters provide a high quality image, comparable to the B&W, Breakthrough and Tiffen filters that I use and have tested.
In testing, I didn’t find any unusual issues with reflections (adding a filter always adds the possibility of reflections, as there is another piece of glass in the way). Neither the packaging nor the filter itself says if it’s multi-layered, but I found them easy to clean and resistant to flaring, potentially indicating that there is some level of coating.
The circular polarizer has a fairly unique design. Since the filters can rotate freely inside the magnetic ring, the polarizer is just a fixed ring, relying on the rotation to adjust the degree of polarization. While it’s hard to say if this results in a lower degree of vignetting, at least it’s a cool design.
Neutral density filters appear to correspond to the nominal reduction in light. With them in place, they matched both the level of reduction provided by filters of the same rating, as well as the mathematically expected change in exposure.
The color casts are a bit difficult to judge. I found that every very dark ND filter can introduce some sort of color cast and even had different results per lens. Fortunately, these don’t produce a strong cast.
Evaluating the performance of the polarizer is tricky. In many scenes, the effect itself can be variable and subtle, depending on how the polarizer is set. I didn’t notice any usage issues and it seemed to work well compared to the benchmark filters I was referring to. In the past, I’ve found that as long as a polarizer doesn’t negatively impact picture quality, it’s probably fine.
Overall the kit is well thought out. The choice of the included filters makes a lot of sense, as it covers all the essentials that I would like to find myself. I would love to see a version that includes the Night Sky Filter or the Black Mist Filter, as those are the other two filters in the Haida line that I would definitely include in the bag. The lack of a graduated ND filter is not a significant loss, as these filters are less needed with the dynamic range capabilities of modern cameras.
If you are looking at this set and have the option of getting an 82mm lens now or in the future, definitely consider going for 82mm by 77mm. Looks like 82mm (or even bigger, unfortunately) is becoming more and more the standard size of lenses. Fortunately, that’s not a big penalty when it comes to carrying filters, and the included 82mm to 77mm adapter works well. As for other inclusions, a direct magnetic adapter from 82mm to 77mm would be ideal, allowing you to keep a magnetic ring on each lens and then simply swap filters between them while in use.
Haida’s line of NanoPro magnetic filters work quite well. As for the performance of the filter, I have no complaints. The filters performed well and were within their ratings, while still being fairly economical. The magnetic system may be fine for some users, while others may prefer the style of square slot adapters, or even just traditional screw filters. Overall, I think this system strikes a good balance between portability, thanks to its smaller size than these square filters, speed of operation, and quality of results. Haida’s NanoPro Kit is now available, and includes circular polarizer, 6 and 10 stop ND, 77mm adapter ring, and magnetic lens cap.
What I liked
The filters included are all essential and very useful
Magnetic system works well in the field
The included carrying case makes this a unique and practical “kit” for essential landscape filters
Magnetic lens cap is useful and is a smart solution to lens cap incompatibility
What could be improved
The filter rings are very thin, which can make handling tricky
The “soft” incompatibility with lens caps is disappointing, although understandable