- Andrew JK Tan
NiSi Explorer Filter Collection - Arguably the most ROBUST filters for your photography needs
I am a huge fan of NiSi filters & of course their Filter holder systems. I had been using the NiSi S5 Pro Filter Holder system with their High Resolution Optical Glass filters with my Nikkor F-mount 14-24mm f/2.8G ultra wide angle zoom & had been loving it since day 1.
Towards the end of last year , I had been using Nikon's new mirrorless cameras & love their much more compact size & performance. For landscapes , one of my most used lens is the fabulous Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4S ultra wide angle zoom lens which is also the only ultra wide zoom lens where you can easily mount a screw-on filter when using the 14mm end of the zoom range.
Check out this blog to understand better (click on link / image below)
Even though I really liked the convenience of NiSi screw-on filters , I wanted an alternative system & thankfully NiSi Singapore kindly provided me with the new NiSi V6 100mm Filter Holder Kit with Enhanced Landscape CPL & also the new 100m EXPLORER Filter collection to try with the Nikon Z Series mirrorless camera system.
The only fear that I had was the vignetting performance of the 100mm filters with the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4S lens. So read on as I summarise what I like while using the system in ICELAND's extreme conditions recently. So here goes :
SMALLER , COMPACT , SUPERB FEATURES & WELL BUILT
The following comparison is clear ..... the new generation V6 vs. the S5 Pro
Size does matter especially when you are photographing for long hours in extreme conditions.
The very much more compact V6 filter holder pouch on the left which is of course used to protect & carry your V6 holder & yours truly using my Nikon Z7 with Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4S with the V6 filter holder mounted with a 3 stops GND EXPLORER filter. Additional images show the ultra slim 86mm Enhanced Landscape CPL , the V6 filter holder and the 100mm black filter pouch which protects the EXPLORER Collection filters.
The pouch can also be easily mounted on a tripod leg or your photography backpack.
HOLDS 4 FILTERS FOR ALL YOUR POSSIBLE PHOTOGRAPHY NEEDS
Actually in my photography style , I normally don't use that many but I am sure many photographers will find that flexible & useful (supports 3 x 100mm filters with the Enhanced CPL).
Made from Aviation Grade Aluminium , the holder is super light but solid , easily released from the 82mm main adaptor ring and it can also be locked from rotating. The Enhanced CPL filter for this new system is easier to fit and remove if compared to the older V5 holder system and of course can be rotated easily.
ROBUST EXPLORER COLLECTION 100mm FILTERS - a CONFIDENCE BUILDER
These new EXPLORER collection was advertised to be made for adventure using the B270 tempered glass & features a special glass hardening process that makes them at least double the strength of the typical glass filter and much more robust or less prone to accidental breakage , as NiSi Singapore kindly provided me with a suite of filters for use in Iceland , I was extremely keen to check them out.
Check out this short video to show you how tough the EXPLORER Filter is with this drop test I did in Iceland. Thanks to fellow photographer Jonathan Chua Yang Kiat who was with me in Iceland & helped me video the drop test done on an EXPLORER Collection 3 stops 100mm ND filter. Oh & how many filters did I drop ? , just ONE ! (the one in the video)
Remark : NEVER intentionally drop your filters , I would never drop mine & would always take good care of the filters just as I would care for my lenses ! There is no guarantee that it will not break , this simulation is to show the robustness potential of the filter.
SUPERB PERFORMANCE FROM THE EXPLORER FILTER
Toughness is a confidence builder but real world filter performance in Iceland was the real measure of whether I would use these EXPLORER filters for the long term.
The result was never really in doubt , the most important measures I was looking for were the Vignetting & Sharpness performances.
No Visual Sharpness loss detected even at 600% magnification .... the following images show the screenshots (I know its not a good scientific measure) when I magnified to 600% (thats the only thing I did when opening the RAW NEF files). The only difference between those two sequential shots were the white balance temperature selected by my Nikon Z 7. Camera's WB setting was set to Natual Light Auto.
No filter , WB Temperature selected by Nikon Z 7 - 4550K
With EXPLORER 100mm 3 stops GND , WB Temperature selected by Nikon Z 7 - 5850K
NO Detectable Vignetting AT 14mm focal length
I was very happy with the no vignetting performance.
You can also see that the camera settings were ALL the same but with the GND inserted the scenery looks much more dramatic and to my eyes much better & much more appealing the the warmer tint which was also because the Nikon Z selected a warmer 5850K WB temperature (actually very close to daylight) with the filter engaged.
Very happy with that overall performance indeed.
My experience with these NEW NiSi products in Iceland was just perfect !
I especially liked & was pleasantly surprised with the EXPLORER Collection Filters made with B270 Tempered Glass & special hardening process. The best way to say this was that I did not at any time miss my proven NiSi 150mm filter collection used with my much larger F-mount Nikkor 14-24mm lens.
Performance & handling was to my liking , so much easier to store & transport around. Inserting & removing the filters were smooth , firm but easy. The robustness test gave me even more confidence with the physical characteristics of the EXPLORER filters. Just one thing to note , I would have preferred a slightly larger soft pouch (thicker) so that it could contain additional filters , right now it can contain the holder , rings , CPL and another filter comfortably.
Recently NiSi has been making some great products & the new V6 Holder system & EXPLORER Filters are a great addition to their product line !
So will I be using this system long term ?
Definitely I will be using this system for the long term & not only that. I AM already using them in parallel with my NiSi circular filters , the flexibility I am getting is just enormous & significantly increases the effectiveness of my photography workflow when using filters on multiple lenses ! It can't get much better than that !
So if you are looking for a great filter product for your photography needs. Do consider them.
If you are Nikon Z Series user especially with that awesome Z 14-30mm f/4s lens then this system will definitely work great.
Will share more in my upcoming blogs with these NiSi products as I share more results from Iceland.