The Kase Wolverine Magnetic filter series is designed to save space compared to conventional square filter holders which take up more room in your kit bag. They work by screwing a magnetic base ring onto the front filter thread of your lens and then the circular polariser or ND filters can be snapped into place using magnets making them much easier to take off and attach each time you want to use them. We got our hands on a sample to put them to the test and see if they should be the latest addition to your photography kit wish list.
The filters come in a well made case with individual compartments for each of the five filter accessories. There's the circular magnetic ring that is threaded onto the front of your lens - this is determined by which size filter set you buy as this will be specific to the lens filter thread you want to use. We'd suggest getting the largest option you can afford and then use Kase magnetic step rings to use them with your other lenses that have smaller filter threads.
With the magnetic ring screwed into the front filter thread of your lens you can then attach the circular polariser, ND8, ND64, or lens cap on to it which snap into place magnetically and allow for them to be used quickly without the faff of having to unscrew the whole filter each time you want to take them off or put them on.
Although belonging to the ‘Wolverine’ series the filters sadly aren’t made from the fictional material 'Adamantium', but an anodised steel and aluminium alloy. The edges of the metal ring have a cross-cut pattern that give them a rugged feel and lots of purchase even when a bit wet from shooting in the rain or near waterfalls.
One small detail we love is that the filters have white text on them to show which filter is which - but this is cleverly printed on the front of the base filter, and on the back of the filters that sit on top of it so they butt up together and don't cause any odd flare or reflections.
The filters have an ‘easy clean’ design implementing nano coatings which repel water, dust and dirt. They're scratch resistant and anti-reflective too!
Using the filters
Arguably you need to whip filters on and off the most when using strong ND filters, such as a 10-stop or 15-stop ND which makes the viewfinder and LCD totally black. In this kit you get a 3-stop ND8 and a 6-stop ND64 neutral density filter so it's still pretty easy to compose and see what you're doing with them in place as it's not too dark.
This being said, you can stack the two filters together to block out a more substantial 9-stops of light. This is still half as a strong as a 10-stop ND, like a Lee Big Stopper, but is still useful for when you want to create a little more motion in moving water or moving clouds.
There is also a five-piece Professional version of the Woolverine Magnetic kit available from Kase that adds a 10-stop ND1000 filter to the four-piece Entry kit that we reviewed here.
The filters are said to be color neutral though we found a very slight warming effect on all of the filters, though this was easily fixed with the Temperature and Tint sliders in Adobe Camera Raw so not an issue.
There was pretty much no sign of any decreased amount of sharpness with any of the filters in place and chromatic aberration levels stayed identical to our base results - impressive stuff!
Obviously there will be times when you need to stack filters. With the two ND filters stacked together the image quality remained very impressive and we didn’t see any notable detrimental effects, though there was a small amount of vignetting in the corners caused by the filter rings creeping into the corners of the shot.
We used the 82mm filter kit on a lens with a 77mm filter thread with stepping rings, so vignetting could potentially be more of an issue when using filters the same size as your lens' filter thread and also when going super-wide. We only went as wide as 24mm on our full frame test camera.
Kase get top marks for presentation, the filter set comes in a beautifully packaged box with a leather case that has a fitting magnetic seal and five dividers for each bit of kit, a microfibre cloth is also included for cleaning. Though we wouldn’t expect anything less given the high price tag that put it amongst the top-end filters on the market. The Entry kits vary in price depending on the filter diameter you choose, with the 77mm kit being the cheapest. We'd suggest buying the kit that fits your largest lens and then use the magnetic step-up rings to fit your other lenses - these are much more affordable (from $19.95 each) and save you buying a kit for every lens’ filter thread in your bag.
We found the image quality to be very impressive and held up well even when stacking the filters together. The overall design and concept is innovative and could mean you're more likely to use filters if you find the conventional circular filters too much of a hassle.
For the high price tag we'd have loved to have seen a graduated ND filter included too as this would have been really useful with the magnetic design and could be turned easily to line up with the horizon.
We also had a slight gripe that the magnetic lens cap didn't fit when other filters were attached to the base ring, meaning you'd have to remove these and put them back in the case each time you want to move location, however this is just a minor niggle.
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