GEAR REVIEW: Haida Filters

I don't often use filters. Most of my final shots are blended from different frames. However, I never leave for a trip without my solid neutral density filters. Specially my 10 stop. This quick review is going to be about my experience with Haida filters. Imagine that you hike into a location for hours and you only have a certain amount of time before you have to hike back down but the lighting isn't ideal. If you have a solid ND, you can easily create something that's interesting with moving elements like clouds or water, even if it's mostly overcast. Photographs shouldn't always pop with colors, it's all about the composition and those streaking lines you create with a wide angle and a solid ND using a long exposure can create some interesting compositions even in the middle of the day. Another type of filter that I usually carry is a polarizer and that's either to add or take away the reflection on water. But let's move onto the review.

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Ease of Use

As a landscape photographer, I can't be wasting time out in the field with the light changing ever so quickly, therefore, I need something that I can slip on and off fast when needed. Haida as been great for that. Going from different brands starting from Lee filters, I found Haida's holding system the quickest one yet. There are two parts to the filter holder; The rear and front adapters join each other to unify as one piece that will host the second part (main universal holder). You can either keep the adapter on at all times (which is what I do), or keep the whole assembly on for the entire shoot and only take out the glass when needed. Works great! If you decide to keep it all on, it comes with a nice elastic band for the original lens cover as well to keep things tidy. Your lens never comes off the camera. I personally use the 150mm system for my Tamron 15-30mm which is my go to lens. I tested filters from other manufacturers on the holder as well and they all fit except that the thickness of the glass may vary so just be careful.

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Quality

Quality of both glass and the holder hardware feels great. No plastic parts what-so-ever. It's all made of metal parts and I have used them in the harsh conditions of Yukon's backcountry and the Canadian west coast with salt and water on them at all times. The glass itself is great and easy to clean thanks to the coating. The NanoPro series cost way less than let's say Lee filters, yet they perform even better in my opinion. Not that it can't be fixed in post, but I used to get a blue cast on my images with Lee filters when I don't get that with Haida glass. I also experienced very minimum to 0 vignetting.I don't think there's anything to complain about at their prices. Best surprise about the Haida filters was that they came with HARD CASES! YES! You don't have to spend more money like with other companies for cases. I broke way too many filters so having a hard case for glass is a must.


Final Thoughts and Tips

I like to purchase the best quality of gear possible and I don't like compromises but at the same time I always try to find the best price out there. Why pay so much when you can get the job done with the same quality for less? I found these systems to be more than capable for what I need them to do. Overall, I'd absolutely recommend these filters to any photographer who is looking for a filter system that does not break the bank. They also have a good selection. In my opinion, the filters that you must always carry with you are solid NDs and a polarizer. Though purists will disagree. I rely heavily on post processing for blending my images so I sometime use a filter for my sky and only blend in the sky by hand in Photoshop onto my main image. The final result is gonna look just like the single long exposure, except that I'm using no filter in front of my lens for the foreground. However, I would not hesitate to use the whole image that's been shot behind Haida glass and I have examples here to prove it.

The before image is the un-edited version of the photograph which i took just before putting the filter on.... you can see what the clouds looked like without the filter. I wasn't able to create those streaks with the clouds which were created with a 1 minute exposure. If you're wondering why the waves aren't as smooth, that was my personal artistic decision to use the waves from my regular shot with a faster shutter speed to add some interest in mid-ground. About the streaks, not only they add to the composition, but they also make the whole image smoother. All the lines create a pleasing scene together. I'll let you slide back and forth and see for yourself :)