Once again the guys at Kase Filters have listened to the photographers that use their equipment and have actioned some of the things that was felt needed to improve on their already excellent K8 filter holder. I was lucky enough to be loaned a demo kit for a little while to see what I thought of it. So without further ado here's my review of the soon to be released K9 Filter Holder Kit.
So whilst the fundamentals of the holder system remain the same, the new Kase Filters K9 holder has some differences, and these differences make the K9 even easier to use.
They have shaved a little bit off from around the top and bottom of the K9 holder, making it not only slightly lighter again than the K8 but also making it ergonomically better.
They've added in some lovely little divots perfectly shaped to help you lift out your polariser when in situ much easier.
The geared wheel for polariser adjustment on the side of the holder has been enlarged on the K9 for better ease of use.
The filter slots have been redesigned making it easier for you to take your filters in and out of the holder but still retaining the super hold of the K8.
The red knurl to tighten everything up has a slightly coarser thread making it again easier to adjust.
Changing the wheel and the knurl in particular makes the K9 easier again to use with gloves on in cold weather which is always a good thing.
The one change that stands out from all others in the kit though is the fact that the polariser has been made larger, going from 86mm to 90mm. The reason for this is that it was identified that there was some vignetting with the K8 system on some wide angle lenses such as the Nikon 14-35mm and the Sony 16-35mm f2.8, so that's been listened to and the adjustments made accordingly.
What Do I Think Of The K9?
I think that the improvements that have been made to produce the new K9 holder are once again very much in support of the photographer. It's not just a product that looks good, but it works superbly well out in the field making photography a joy. Even in chilly weather with gloves on you'll have no problem making the fine adjustments that you need to to get your images. It's a very well thought out item.
The one thing that you have to keep in mind is that the K9 hasn't been produced as the next step up from the K8, the K8 is still the tops and very much holds its own for the majority of lenses, the K9 however has been made with specific wide lenses in mind that suffered with a little vignetting previously when using the K8. Therefore, you don't need to rush out and buy it unless you actually have the need for it.
There is a slight increase in price from the K8 at £110 to the K9 at £140, however as with all of the Kase Filters range you very much get what you pay for. Top quality equipment with solely the photographer in mind.
Personally I won't be purchasing the K9 holder as I don't have a need for it, the K8 does the job absolutely fine for me, however my partner in crime Alan Howe does and will most likely be investing in one as he was equally impressed with it.
So, if you want to #CaptureWithConfidence as the Kase Filters UK slogan says and have a wide angle lens that requires the Kase Filter K9 Filter Holder, I'd recommend it you without hesitation.
The Kase Filters K9 Filter Holder Kit is due for release mid November and if you would like a 10% discount code should you wish to purchase one simply drop me a line at email@example.com
A Rather Sketchy Video!
Below you can find a rather dodgy little video of how easy it is that the Kase Filters K9 Holder Kit goes together, I gave it a bit of a shake to show you how it doesn't budge too. It's a great bit of kit!
Get ready for an epic review of socks, walking socks to be precise. Ooo I can hear the excitement from here at my desk as I type. Actually it's not so much a review but a blurb! Not the most grabbing of subjects and one that I didn't think I'd be blogging about but there we go.
Socks. Bridgedale socks to be precise. Soft, springy, comfortable socks that I fell in love with a while ago now. These socks have made my running more bouncy, and my long distance walking infinitely more bearable, especially with a hike across Devon that I did last year where I only suffered minor blisters due to these lovely, well made, wonderful foot pouches. Those were the Trekkers that I wore at the time.
So, why did I have a moan about Bridgedale Socks on Twitter a while ago then and ask my fellow photographers and walkers about other brands? Well, because unfortunately the Summit type of Bridgedales caused me to end up with a huge blister the size of the moon (I kid you not) on my right foot nine miles into a fourteen mile walk. Ok, so, maybe it wasn't the size of the moon, just from one side of my foot to the other, covering the whole ball from the base of the toes to almost half way down the foot. Now that's a pretty epic sized blister really isn't it. Needless to say the bloody thing was excruciatingly painful and I nearly had to chop my foot off. Well I did get my penknife out and have to burst the bugger simply to give some sort of relief from the ridiculous pain, it really was that bad. At the point of burstage I still had another two miles to do before making it home, and there was no way the other half could reach me in my hour of need due to the location, and the fact that he was finishing up at work. So, with a branch lodged between my teeth, swigging brandy from a bottle, and going at the pace of a tortoise, I hobbled home using the side of my foot to relieve pressure on the fluid ridden skin bag whilst developing blisters on the other foot too and having to give the biggun a poke with the penknife another couple of times en route. Happy days! I did find one bonus to the old style Summits, they made great fluid mops!!
After getting home, discarding the branch and brandy and reporting my big, brave, tough, adventure of endurance to my other half who had since got home and was being very sympathetic by offering me a much needed cup of tea and mopping my fevered brow, I decided that I would take up the tweeting, not for any other reason than to seek advice and alternative recommendations on socks by a number of acquaintances. This tweeting resulted in Jim, the Product Manager from Bridgedale themselves, seeing my woes and suggesting that I might like to contact him via email to have a chat about this a little further. So that's exactly what I did, and what a pleasant chap Jim was too. He was extremely helpful in explaining the different types of walking socks and came to the conclusion that I probably had the wool, old style Summits and that might be what had caused the issue. He very kindly offered me a pair of the new Explorer Heavyweight Performance Merino to try (which are the old Summits rebranded), and didn't even bat an eye when I went off on a tangent with a moan about why the womens socks were shorter in the leg and that I couldn't stand pink and was fed up with outdoor companies thinking us girls live in pink......we don't! So, I took Jim up on his kind offer of trying out the Explorers and within a few days they'd arrived in the post ready for my little tootsies to be eased into them.
I have now worn these Merino toe bags of fluffiness a million times since they landed, they're not pink but blue/green (big bonus points Bridgedale), they fit like an absolute glove, they're super warm but without being sweaty, they are ridiculously comfortable (if you could have pillows on your feet these would be that), and I'm very happy to report that as yet I have not suffered with even one minor blister let alone a moon sized one since using these beauties, and I can assure you that there have been many many Dartmoor miles racked up in them. Oh, and they're longer in the leg too which is marvellous!
Bridgedale you have restored my faith in your super walking socks thank you, I am more than happy to once again recommend them to anyone and everyone, even as bed socks because they'd be great as those too being so snuggly. And Jim, you're a credit to the company with your super customer service skills and general helpfulness, many thanks to you also.
Go buy Bridgedales.........they rock! I will be increasing my stock without a doubt.
To find your own pair of exceptional Bridgedale socks please visit their website here at www.bridgedale.com
Kase Filters Review
You know when you have a piece of kit in your hands and you're so impressed with it that you think it'll be hard to beat? Well, I felt like that when I tried out the Haida filters if you remember, but after attending the Photography Show back in March I was contacted by Kase Filters UK and offered the opportunity of meeting one of their Brand Ambassadors and testing their filters out in the field......that meeting once again changed everything for me, and for several different reasons.
Kase Filters have blasted onto the landscape photography scene in the UK in recent months with impressive gusto and are armed with a wide range of kit that is not only excellent quality, but also they boast that their filters are more robust than others out there on the market, their unique selling point. Their kit is very well thought out and designed, right down to the smallest of details, and when it's in your hands you feel very confident using it, especially knowing that even if you are a bit of a klutz and you do happen to drop one of your filters the likelihood of it breaking and shattering into a million pieces is rather slimmer than if you were using other makes!
So, onto a few details.......the Kase K8 Holder and Polariser. Now there's a smart little bit of kit both in the way it looks and the way it works, and being machined from aerospace grade aluminium you know it's going to be a tough cookie. The polariser is just as impressive, it's sleek and ultra slim and does it's job perfectly reducing glare and reflection without adding unwanted tones to your images. Setting the polariser in place is as simple as this; you screw on the adapter ring to your lens, you hold the polariser to the ring and before you know it they've hooked up to each other as if by magic! Well, by magnetism actually.......yes it's a magnetic system, genius! There's no faffing, no fiddling, no movement, nothing. It just sits in there perfectly and securely. The next step is to add the holder. This attaches once again very simply and easily with the geared wheel on one side and the little tightening knob to the other. Both the wheel and knob are in red unlike the rest of the holder which is black, and this helps greatly for quick recognition when wanting to adjust either the polariser or holder itself. The holder itself also has a gasket attached helping to stop any form of light leakage once the filters are inserted, and because it has the geared wheel on the side this means that you can adjust your polariser without disturbing your filter positioning, or likewise with using the knob, adjust the filter holder without moving the polariser.
The Kase Wolverine Filters. Well weighted, colour neutral, shock resistant, top notch optical glass filters. I'm very impressed with them. They sit beautifully in the holder, which they should do, without any slippage at all, and I have to say that in a windy environment there is absolutely no movement or vibration from the whole system. It sits so securely on my lens at all times. The clarity of the optical glass is spot on and the neutrality of the filters themselves is absolutely superb. It's on a par with Haida which I had previously used, and post processing is a joy as there's absolutely no colour adjustment needed. This isn't only found in their graduated neutral density filters, but also in their full ND's too. Since testing the filters I have now used both the 6 and 10 stoppers and they really are superb with no cast at all! I believe the 16 stop, which I've not tested myself, is also absolutely colour neutral too. There is a scratch resistant coating which resists unwanted things like sea spray and this also makes the filters really very easy to clean without smudges or smears. I mentioned at the start of this post about the shock resistant factor of these filters. Something we're all very aware of is that when we're spending out a small fortune on glass filters for our beloved landscape photography, the very last thing that any of us want to do is break them whilst out in the field! Many of us have been almost reduced to tears by that awful sound as one hits the deck. Now although Kase cannot guarantee that their filters won't break, they can assure you that they are tougher than the average filter and should withstand the odd fall. Now that's got to be worth the money in my book! Not bad hey! Another point to make is that I used to be a resin filter user in the past, and it wasn't until I tried out optical glass filters that I really began to appreciate the differences. Although resin is a fairly tough substance, it scratches really quite easily and sometimes quite badly, I have also dropped one in the past and it chipped awfully. But when using the Kase Wolverine filters this is something that's not quite so much of a concern due to the anti scratch coating and the sheer toughness of them. Clarity is something else that has struck me too. Now although the resin filters aren't bad at all there is certainly an element of softening the image to them. Again I could only see this properly when I compared images taken with both types of filters side by side, and obviously clarity is something that is important to us all with our shots. So overall, not only do you have an excellent quality, excellent clarity, truly neutral filter to play with with Kase, but you also have the added security and peace of mind that you don't get with other makes. Not bad hey!
The Filter Bag. I prefer to call this item a box because it's far more solid than any bag I've used before, bag just doesn't seem the right description for it. Sometimes this is an item that's a little overlooked, but for myself I think it's an important part of the equipment and Kase have got it bang on here. This lovely looking sturdy little PU leather coated box can hold up to five Kase Wolverine filters, both the square and the 100x150mm designs, has a separate slot for your polariser, and on the front a little pocket for your filter holder. There is also space next to the filter slots for a cloth or perhaps the shoulder strap that comes with the box when you're not using it. The box is lightweight yet there's absolutely no concern that your equipment will get damaged whilst inside of it, it really is protected very well indeed. There is one little feature about it that I love, and that's the little D-ring on the back. This enables me to attach a carabiner to it and to hook the whole thing onto my tripod meaning that I don't have to keep diving in and out of my camera bag every time I wish to change filters. As I use a large rucksack a lot of the time for comfort too I've found that I can clip the box on the strap of this also, meaning I can walk around with it on my person which is sometimes more practical than attaching it to my tripod. It's a nice handy little addition.
In summary, this is a set up that I like very much indeed. I have tried hard to find something that might niggle me, but I can honestly say that I can't! As Kase state on their website, it's 'By Photographers, For Photographers'. The people who have developed these things know exactly what's needed and how it should work, and so therefore have produced something that is quite spot on. One other thing that I haven't yet mentioned but feel that I should, is their excellent customer service. Polite, informative, and they genuinely care whether you are happy about the product or not, and if not do their utmost to make things right. Customer care is such an important aspect of any company and Kase seem to do very well at this.
I would like to point out that this review is based solely on my findings as of when I first used Kase Filters equipment, however since then I have in fact purchased and now use my own set as I was that impressed with it. I was also offered the opportunity to represent the company by becoming an official Kase Filters UK Reseller which I have agreed to because I believe in the equipment and the company itself. Maybe that tells you something about quite how impressed by it all I was!
If you would like any more information about Kase Filters UK please visit their website www.kaseuk.com and if you're in the market for any new gear please visit www.philstarkeyphotography.co.uk/store/c41/KaseFiltersandEquipment. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are a few examples of images I've taken using Kase Filters polariser, K8 filter holder and Wolverine filters.
Haida Filter Review