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.