For me filters are an essential tool for my Landscape Photography and I have been a Lee filter user now for a good few years. Initially I bought some of the cheaper brands but quickly came to the conclusion that they were just not up to the job, especially when stacking multiple filters which I tend do quite often.
More recently I have heard of a few new brands appearing which were getting good reviews on social media and also from former Workshop & 1-2-1 clients of mine. Looking at my own Lee resin filters with the scratches and the odd chip here and there along with the 6&10 stops with their blue cast I was starting to get a touch envious to say the least. I just couldn't justify starting again I told myself, not with everything else that was on my photography wish list.
Then at the beginning of October I was asked if I would like to test out some new ND filters, naturally I said "Yes Please" and was quite excited about the prospect. On finding out that they were Kase Wolverine ND Filters I quickly did a Google search and found very little on the internet. What I did find though was an interesting test by Tim Parkin who did a thorough test on a huge range of 10 stops and rated the Kase one's very highly whereas my Lee Big Stopper was in the last of the relegation places in the table.
I was sent a Kase Wolverine Master Kit, so what goodies did I get.
Kase Wolverine Master Kit Contents
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
First Impressions (Filter Holder)
A geared adaptor ring is screwed straight onto the front of the lens and then the polarising filter screws straight onto this. The filter holder then attaches to the geared adaptor ring (made out of ultra-light aircraft aluminum and has a solid feel to it) which is held securely in place via a screwed knob. On the side is a small wheel which easily turns the polarising filter. The filter holder itself comes with two slots but has spares to easily make this three. There's an inbuilt gasket on the filter holder instead of having gaskets on the 6 & 10 stops.
These look a high quality well made piece of glass, which are shatter & scratch resistant which was good to know. After doing an impromptu drop test, when my Lee holder fell off a couple of years ago, I ended up with a smashed 6 stop along with two chipped (but still usable) resign filters and a £100 loss. I must admit I haven't tried dropping these but there are a couple of YouTube's where people have.
Drop test 1
Drop test 2
That wasn't all, along with being almost indestructible they are meant to be highly neutral and have no colour cast at all, including the 6 & 10 stop filters.
I must admit I was itching to get out and use these just to see how good they were. Although it wasn't the best of days I found myself at one of my favourite places in the Lakes, Isthmus Bay (Derwent Water) along with one of the soft grads and the 6 stop.
Straight out of the camera no processing
It was a peasant surprise when I looked at the back of the camera and saw that there was absolutely no blue cast and looking totally neutral. My first use of the polariser also, loved the feel of seeing the gravel around the rock below the water.
I've avoided the use of polarisers in the past for a couple of reasons, the cost with Lee and also the fact that you can only have two filter slots in the holder to avoid vignetting when shooting wide. With the clever design of the Kase holder I can now use the 3 slots along with a polariser. I must admit that while walking the dog (Bramble) I picked up a few colourful leaves for use in the next wee test I did.
I must have spent a good couple of hours here looking at the polariser and was extremely pleased with how it worked. To me the colours looked realistic and I also liked how it cut the glare from the water thus enabling you to see below the surface. Yes I did place a lot of the leaves but this was part of the test for me.
Kase V Lee 6 Stop
Although to me the files looked neutral I thought that it would be good to compare the two 6 stops just to see how different they looked in the same setting.
Kase 6 Stop + 3 Stop Soft (no processing)
Lee 6 Stop + 3 Stop Soft (no processing)
As can be seen from the above like for like comparison the Kase filters are completely neutral whereas the Lee have a slight blue cast. Although this can easily be remedied in software I feel it looks so much better when you see it on the back of the camera and know what you are going to get.
I did do a comparison with the 10 stops but as I had to up the ISO to around 2000 to get this to 30 seconds I didn't want to post the shots as they were a bit grainy. The Kase 10 stop was just as neutral as the 6 stop in my opinion.
I'm absolutely delighted with the product and I believe (although I have no proof) that I now end up with a much cleaner file for processing when using Kase filters. The only thing I'm missing is that they currently don't have a cap that fits over the geared adaptor ring. This would enable you to leave these in place instead of removing each time. Due to the adaptable approach of Kase Filters, I'm told that this is under development and should be with us shortly.
Although in the past I've not been a polariser user I'm adapting to them and believe that they will have a place in my future photography especially around water & waterfalls.
The filter holder itself is extremely well built and I like the fact that it's screwed in place securely which stops any accidental removal of the holder. The filters themselves are a snug fit and don't slip which is important. I've recently returned from a few days in Glencoe where we had some different weather, it's surprisingly easy to clean the filters with just a quick wipe without getting any streaks.
Recent photos using the Kase Filter system
I thought that it would be nice to finish off with a few images from recent weeks that I have produced. I would like to think that it shows how neutral the filters are and that they help produce some lovely colours in different locations
River Brathay Mist
Bauchaille Etive Beag Sunset
Bauchaille Etive Beag
Buttermere Lone Tree Sunrise
Ashness Jetty Derwent Water
If you've managed to get this far I would like to thank you for reading my blog on Kase Filters