Every landscape photographer loves a good set of filters. I have been using the Kase Wolverine Series Circular Magnetic Filters for several months now and am now comfortable recommending them to our readers.
I have long recommended the filters from Luzid, as you can see from my review. I still recommend Luzid for many people, mainly those that are not willing or able to spend a little extra on the Kase filters and those that like to put a filter on and leave it on, as I will explain below. For others though, I now recommend the Kase filters because I feel the quality and performance is even better and the ease of the magnetic system is perfect for the photographer that uses multiple filters. I explain the reasons behind these recommendations below.
When Kase reached out to me about testing their new line of magnetic filters, I thought they were a new player in the filter game. After doing some research, Kase is not just another new face. While they are definitely an up and comer in the global industry, they have a long track record of extensive research and production in Asia.
Kase has a filter for about everything, from the traditional rectangle filters, to the magnetic circular filters I use to even filters for your drone. Kase prides itself on high-quality glass, precision-manufactured aluminum mounts and anti-shock technology to prevent the filters from breaking when dropped.
The Kase Gear I Use
I started with the Kase entry level set, which includes the magnetic base, a UV filter, a CPL and an ND64. To this set, I added the ND1000. The set comes with a really nice leather carrying case. The case is compact and compares to the Filter Nest Mini I have been recommending forever.
The UV filter doesn’t mean much to me. I wouldn’t buy it if it didn’t come as part of the set. I know a lot of photographers like to use a UV filter to protect their lens, but I am not one of them. Since I had the UV filter though, I put it through the testing.
The CPL stands for circular polarizer/linear. It is designed to cut down on unwanted light and reflection, which can also saturate colors. A CPL filter can be twisted to increase or decrease the impact.
Some of the most beneficial uses of the CPL filter are to darken blue skies, reduce glare when shooting through glass, and to reduce reflection when shooting water.
The ND64 filter is a six-stop neutral density filter. This is an essential filter because it is the perfect balance of slowing down the shutter a good amount without going full-on long exposure. The ND64 is perfect for moving water, light trails and cloud movement where you want to keep just a little definition in the movement.
The ND1000 is my personal favorite of all the filters. It is a ten-stop neutral density filter. This filter is how you create the mystical and whimsical in a scene. When used on water, you get that misty look with no definition. When used on clouds, you get complete motion in the sky. It is a really fun filter that requires a lot of patience as each exposure is typically in the minutes whenever this filter is used.
Let’s just get the bad out of the way first. Even though I have really enjoyed using my Kase filters and highly recommend them, there were a couple negatives I experienced.
Magnet isn’t as strong as I would like
The magnetic connection is a huge plus, as I will discuss below, but I wanted it to be a bit stronger of a connection. I was in Oregon shooting different waterfalls so I left my CPL on while hiking from one waterfall to another and every bump my camera took knocked the filter off the lens. I should have learned and taken it off after the first time it fell, but I put the filter back on and it fell as I was climbing down a rope. It must have hit the dirt and rocks just right because a gash went across the lens removing the coating. I continue to use the filter and it works fine in most scenarios, except the one I will discuss below.
Magnet leads to more separation from the lens
My second complaint also deals with the magnetic attachment. The way it works is the base screws on around the thread of your lens and the filter magnetically attaches to the base. The downside to this method is it takes the lens further away from the front of your lens, which caused some problems for me when I used my CPL (with the scratched coating) in direct sunlight.
As you can see in the image below, I got all kinds of reflections coming of the lens due to the sun hitting the filter before the lens. I tried rotating the CPL filter and it helped at certain points, but I couldn’t completely get rid of the problem. Again, this only happened shooting into direct sunlight, other than that I never experienced a problem.
Why I recommend these kase filters
While I had those couple issues with the Kase system, they can easily be avoided by just not hiking with your filter attached. The benefits of the filter quality and the ease of the magnetic system make the Kase filters an easy recommendation for me.
Performance and image quality
As you will see in the images below, there is absolutely no drop off in image quality when using the Kase filters. In addition to great image quality, I have not dealt with any color cast issues at all, even with the ND1000 filters. ND filters are notorious for causing color casting, even with the most expensive filters. The Luzid filters I used for a long time had a slight warming cast to them, which I don’t mind, but many other filters can cause a blueish cast or other problems that need to be corrected in post. I tested all these filters multiple times in all kinds of conditions and did not experience any color casting at all.
The magnetic attachment
The magnetic attaching mechanism did cause me some problems as I addressed above, but the benefits outweigh those issues in my opinion. I hardly ever leave a filter on my lens so it isn’t a big deal for me to not do that. On the other hand, I will often work a scene with different filters to see which effect I like the best. Having the ability to switch filters on and off so easily is big. Besides working one scene with different filters, it is a super convenient way to move from scene to scene where different filters are needed without having to twist on and off filters between each scene.
If used correctly with the right approach, not just leaving a CPL or UV on all the time, the magnetic attachment saves a lot of time and works flawlessly.
I love the Kase filter system. I have been using them for over 6 months and they have been flawless except for the minor mishaps I discussed above. This is the system for someone who doesn’t just leave a filter on their lens, but wants to be able to seamlessly transition between filters at a scene or easily attach their desired filter at any given scene, all without affecting the image quality or dealing with any color casting.
You can check the current prices on some of my favorite set ups from Kase on Amazon using the following links. You can search for the filter size you want, but I prefer getting 82 mm filters and using step-up rings to fit all my lenses so I don’t have to buy multiple filters for each lens:
The ND Pro set includes the CPL, the ND1000 (10 stops) and the ND0.9 (3 stops).
The Entry set includes the UV, the CPL and the ND64 (6 stops).
The ND1000 is the perfect addition to any other set you get.
The below images were shot using the different filters to show the differences. They were all shot at the same time under the same conditions with the exact same edits applied.
This first set comes from a late morning trip to Upper Rock Creek Falls in Oregon. This first image was shot with no filter at f/16 and 1/60 sec.
The second image below was shot with the Kase UV filter. It was shot at f/16 and 1/60 sec.
This next image was shot at the same time with the Kase CPL filter. It was exposed at f/16 for 1/30 sec.
The final image of this set was shot the the Kase ND1000 at f/16 for 15 secs.
This next set of images comes from an early morning shoot at Sweeny Falls in Washington. The light filtering through the trees was pretty awful so I thought it would be fun to test these filters in bad light.
This first image was shot without a filter at f/16 and 1/8 sec.
The second image below was taken with the Kase CPL filter at f/16 and 1/8 sec.
The image below was shot with the Kase CPL filter at f/16 and 1/4 sec.
The image below was shot with the Kase N64 filter at f/16 and 10 seconds.
The final image below was shot with the Kase ND1000 at f/16 and 110 seconds.