Having recently bought the brand new Kase K75 filter system I thought I should share some of my initial thoughts.
I am a professional photographer that has spent the past 12 years living and travelling overseas and have come to expect the best from the kit that I use knowing that it will need to earn it’s keep. For the majority of this time I have been using a variety of digital and analogue bodies and have invested more than I care to think on filter systems. Like all of my kit they are put through their paces and have been used in extreme conditions ranging from below -40C to over +50C. As I use the Nikon 14-24mm lens often I have ended up with the need for two separate systems which can become a chore when travelling. Around three years ago I finally listened to the complaints from my body and questioned the need to travel with so much kit. When you are on and off small planes and boats a 15kg backpack can present many issues. I took the bold decision to use a fixed lens camera for my travels going forward and once I learned to accept those limitations I really started to enjoy my photography and adopted a new way of working with my camera. It clearly worked as I was recognised in a number of major photography awards and all with the same camera. Roll the clock on to today and I recently embarked on a 6 month trip and decided that I needed to look at a filter system to cover some of the locations I would be shooting. In this day and age as end-users we are blessed that we have choices available to us that we didn’t have 10 years ago. There was really one major system manufacturer that dominated the market for years. Now we have plenty to choose from at costs to suit most budgets. I spoke to manufacturers, spent countless hours researching reviews online and spoke to fellow photographers about the systems they used and what they liked and disliked. I narrowed my options down to 2 and eventually plumped for Kase as I heard very few negatives and they seemed to tick the boxes I needed ticking. I spoke in July with Andrew Yu about the soon-to-be-launched K75 system which is designed for the mirrorless and 2/3 cameras that appear to be the way the industry is heading. The only issue we had was that I was starting my trip towards the end of August and it was touch and go whether Kase would have anything available in time for me. I eventually got the call from Andrew when I was in Ireland but we couldn’t get a carrier to delivet to me before I headed off. After much head-scratching and calls to the head office we agreed that we could get the system couriered to my hotel in Singapore. When I arrived at the hotel the manager duly presented me with a lovely box and I felt like Christmas had come early! My first impression as I unpacked was of the quality of everything. The holder puts my Lee systems to shame and the filters are Schott glass with water-repellant coating. The filters fit snugly in the holder and I cannot see a situation where they could work loose. The polariser is magnetic and snaps into the recess in holder and a wheel on the side can be turned to align it as required - very effective and makes life exceptionally easy if you are using the polariser with other filters. One thing I did find strange was that I expected the writing on the polariser to be visible when I mounted it but strangely it was on the magnetised side and therefore hidden when mounted. This caused a bit of confusion when I tried to click it in the first time as it didn’t stay in place that way round. It may be that mine is a pre-production filter and will change - it isn’t an issue and in no way affects the use. My kit comprised the polariser, a 6 stop ND and a 3 stop hard grad - I would have preferred a 2 stop and a medium grad but these were not available so my rationale was that the 3 stop was better than nothing. Photoshop/Lightroom has got so good these days that you can almost get away without a 2 stop anyway but I’m a bit old-fashioned and like to get as much right as possible in camera. The kit came with a small bag that housed everything which takes up very little room and keeps it all in one place. So far on my trip I have used all the filters and can honestly say that it is the best filter system I have used. The quality really stands out - the holder, the tightening screw, rotating wheel and the filters are all beautifully designed and manufactured to the highest standards. The glass filters are a joy to use and hopefully last better than their resin counterparts. I look forward to putting the system through it’s paces over the next 5 months or so and will provide a further update to see if it lives up to my already high expectations. I would like to personally thank Andrew and Kase filters for going the extra mile and giving me the opportunity to get the system out into the wild.
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