Breakthrough Filters - Magnetic Filter System

For the last week, I have been testing the Breakthrough Filters Magnetic Filter System.  The system uses magnets to attach filters that sit on the end of your lens. The magnetic system means no screwing on and off of filters and no getting filters stuck on adapter rings or on the end of your lens.  You do need to screw on the Magnetic filter holder.

Pros of Breakthrough Filters Magnetic Filter System:

  • Fastest on/off of any filter system

  • Mount securely but remove easily

  • Low profile

  • Sharp/Extremely high quality

  • No color cast

Cons of Breakthrough Filters Magnetic Filter System:

  • Not easily stackable*

  • Cannot use with a lens hood

*Breakthrough Photography solution to the stackable issue - they sell filters that combine two functions - Their Dark CPL filters combine a circular polarizer with a 3 or 6 stop ND. Alternatively, you have the option of buying an additional filter holder that allows you to use add-on square filters.

BreakthroughFiltersMagnetic

BreakthroughFiltersMagnetic

Alternative:

Manfrotto offers a similar system that allows you to bring your own filters - they sell you a holder and adapters for your filter. I hope to bring you a hands-on review soon but if you already have existing filters the cost is much cheaper.

Learn More

Hands-on Nisi Filter System for Long Exposures

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIJnUuIhy-wI have used the Nisi Filter System for over a year now and think this is the best system out there.To start you pick up the V5 Pro kit for $180 - I recommend you purchase from B&H PhotoNisi Filters V5 Pro This includes a nice protective case, high-quality circular polarizer that is integrated into the 82mm ring, the filter holder and adapter rings (that allow the holder to be used with lenses that have 67mm, 72mm, or 77mm front filter threads. Additional rings are available for purchase)I recommend you add:

The 6 stop allows you to easily do long exposures in cloudy conditions or near sunrise/sunset. If you want to achieve long exposures in bright conditions pick up the Nano IRND 3.0 Filter (10 Stop) [Buy from B&H Photo The Nisi V5 Pro holder is their latest edition and it's improved over the original. Earlier models were very difficult to slide the glass plates in/out of and this updated version is much better while still holding them securely in place.Advantages of Nisi over LeeThe NISI system comes in a nice leather carrying case everything is protected and a silent soft magnetic latch makes it easy to access. Downside - it is a little bulkyNisi offers an integrated circular polarizer often times when I'm using these filters I'm photographing water and I do want to use a circular polarizer to control or cut the amount of Reflections and it's so easy to rotate with little dials on the edge of the filter holder.The Nisi system comes with a variety of adapters that allow you to use it with lenses- 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, and 82mm Adapter Rings. Additional adapter rings are available for purchase. Quality - Extremely sharp and no color casts. I found the Lee system to have strong cool or blue color casts in their stronger ND filters. Why do I recommend the NISI system over stacking several circular filters?

  • Flexibility- this system allows me to use graduated filters AND circular polarizers together and easily.
  • no vignetting even on my widest lenses.

Variable ND Filter vs Non-Variable ND

https://youtu.be/lJGmo4cS0s4The Genustech variable neutral density filter or fader lets you easily control the amount of light entering your camera. With a twist of the ring, you can reduce the light from 2 to 8 stops. This can be useful if you want to shoot at slower shutter speeds during the day- like a waterfall, ocean or crowded street or if you are shooting video and want to keep your shutter speed around 1/50 of a second and control your depth of field both lending to a more cinematic look.[himage]02_1-15 sec at f - 2201_25.0 sec at f - 22[/himage]Rollover to see the longer shutter speeds possible with an ND filterThe filter is a glass and aluminum construction, very well made with smooth rotation and the optical quality is excellent. Clear markings on the filter ring indicate the strength of the filter. I have been using the 82mm size for my 24-70 f/2.8 lens. You can stack additional filters with the front threads accepting 86mm filter size - larger to avoid vignette. One downside to the larger size, your lens hoods and lens caps no longer fit. They do offer additional sizes down to 52mm. B&H has the full list of sizes.So this sounds great - one affordable high-quality filter that gives you great versatility in the amount of light you block. There is a drawback and this is true of all variable filters, at certain strengths you can get a very noticeable X pattern in the sky. This makes these filters unusable in some situations.[himage]01_30.0 sec at f - 18I drew the white lines (in case that wasn't clear)[/himage][himage]02_15.0 sec at f - 18I drew the white lines (in case that wasn't clear)[/himage]The alternative is a non-variable ND filter which comes in various strengths. I generally recommend 3 or 6 stop for photographers looking to use in a variety of situations. You can stack ND filters though if you really want the ability to stack you should consider something like the LEE system which has very versatile setups. I have a link below to recommended sizes and strengths and will be talking about the Lee system after my Iceland trip.Recommended 3-stop filters (also labeled ND8 and 0.9)These will allow you to block 3 stops of light i.e 1/250 of a second to 1/30Budget: Tiffen 0.9 ND Filter (link to 77mm, make sure you purchase the correct size for your lenses)Premium: B+W 77mm 0.9 ND 103 FilterRecommended 6-stop filters (also labeled ND64 and 1.8)These will allow you to block 6 stops of light i.e 1/250 of a second to 1/4 of a second.Budget: Hoya 77mm Pro 1 Digital Neutral Density 64x Filter (link to 77mm, make sure you purchase the correct size for your lenses)Premium: B+W 77mm 1.8 ND MRC 106M FilterIf you want seriously long exposures in the middle of the day- the BIG STOPPER 10-stop ND filter is best.B+W 77mm 3.0 ND MRC 110M FilterAnd if you want control without using a variable - the Lee or Hitech filters are the way to go. They offer stacking and provide an easy way adjust graduated ND filters.More about the Lee Filter System at B&H Photo VideoBuy the Genustech Variable ND Filter from B&H Photo VideoScantips has an easy calculator to determine differences in stops. 

Don't be a LAZY photographer

Many photographers want ND filters to get those more dreamy looking waterfalls or smooth water beach photos and if you find yourself at your location and you still can’t get long enough shutter speeds to get the look you desired you are probably being lazy and trying to photograph during the middle of the day when you have massive amount of light and the quality of the light is harsh and flat. Don’t be lazy - get up earlier when the light levels are lower and the quality is softer and more directional. Or just stay out till evening. For many years, I photographed loads of longer exposure waterfall photos without an ND filter.Learn more about circular polarizers - sometimes useful as an ND filter too.

Recommended Hoods and Polarizers for Common Lenses

Don't waste money on UV FiltersIn general I am not a fan of UV filters, they offer little protection from a fall and the glass at the end of your lens is pretty tough, it's not going to get scratched unless you are very careless. I prefer lens hoods as they do offer some protection from falls and nicely protect the end of the lens from coming into contact with  random objects without degrading image quality.   I do prefer camera brand lens hoods, I have tried a few of the third party and they often fit just a bit awkwardly making the putting on and taking off just a bit slower. Some of the very cheap 3rd party lens hoods actually use the filter threads to attach, this is bad as it blocks you from adding a filter and is very cumbersome to put on take off.Circular Polarizer Filters are usefulThe one filter I do recommend landscape photographers own (or anyone taking scenic view photos) is a circular polarizer (CP Filter). Some benefits of a CP filter include:

  • CP filters reduce reflections and glare
  • Reduces Haze and blue cast in landscapes
  • Adds saturation to your sky and greenery

More about CP filters. There are other specialized filters worth owning for some situations but a CP is one that many don't know they need and gives you a look that is not reproducible with post processing. The brands I list I find to be safe choices at each of those price points, there are certainly other brands/choices at each price point.Roll your mouse over the image to see the effects of using a circular polarizer ( no other changes were made - I simply rotated the circular polarizer from what I call zero effect to maximum effect)[himage]Polarizer OFFPolarizer ON[/himage]Scroll to the bottom for a plan to save on filters.  Don't see your lens listed? Check the list at the bottom for all current Canon and Nikon lens sizes.77mm CP Filters

72mm CP Filters

67mm includes Canon Lenses 18-135mm EF-S STM, 10-18 STM and Nikon 18-140 

Recommended lens hood for 18-135 STM58mm 18-55 EF-S, 18-55 STM, 75-300, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, 100mm f/2.8 macro 

Recommended lens hood for 75-300 & (Kit Lens)18-55 EF-S52mm includes Canon lenses 60 EF-S, 50mm f/1.8, 35mm f/2,  Nikon Lenses 18-55(kit), 55-200

Recommended lens hood for 60 EF-SRecommended lens hood for 40 f/2.8 STMInstead of buying a filter or filters for each sized lens you can but this set of step UP adapters and then buy the largest filter(s) you need and use the adapter(s) to fit to each of your smaller mm lenses. So in this example you would buy filters in the 67mm size and use the 67-62 + the 62-58 adapters to use that filter on your 58mm lens. And throw on the 58-55 and the 55-52 to step down to the smallest lens in this example. Truthfully I have never used more than one at a time but there isn't any reason why it shouldn't work and these adapters are glassless, so nothing extra between you and your filters.Fotodiox 7 Metal Step UP Ring Set, Anodized Black Metal. 77-72mm, 72-67mm, 67-62mm, 62-58mm, 58-55mm, 55-52mm, 52-49mmReady to get more serious about your filter system? I recommend the NiSi SystemComplete List of Nikon and Canon Lenses/Filter Sizes

1
NIkon LENS Filter Size
2
3
DX Lenses
4
10.5mm f/2.8G AF DX Fish
5
12-24mm f/4.06 AF-S DX 77MM
6
16-85mm f/3.5G AF-S DX 77MM
7
17-55mm f/2.8G AF-S DX 52MM
8
18-55mm f/3.5-56 II AF-S DX 52MM
9
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR AFS DX 52MM
10
18.70mm f/3.5-4.56 AF-S DX 67MM
11
18-135mm f13.5-5.66 AF-S DX 67MM
12
18-200mm 1/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX 72MM
13
55.200mm f/4.0-5.66 AF-S DX 52MM
14
55-200mm f14.0-5.66 ED AF-S VR DX 52MM
15
AP-D NIKKOR LENS (For Digital & 35MM)
16
14mm f/2.8D
17
16mm f/2.8D AF Fish
18
20mm f/2.8D AF 62MM
19
24nim f/2.8D AF 52MM
20
24mm f/3.5D ED PCE Manual 77MM
21
28mm f/2.8D AF 52MM
22
35mm f/2.00 AF 52MM
23
45mm 1/2.80 ED PCE Manual 77MM
24
50mm f/1.8D AF 52MM
25
50mm f/1.4D AF 52MM
26
60mm f/2.8D AF Micro 62MM
27
60mm f/2.8D ED Micro 62MM
28
85mm f/2.8D PC Micro PCE Manual 77MM
29
85mm f/1.80 AF 62MM
30
85mm f/1.40 AF 77MM
31
105mm f/2.86 AF-S VR Micro 62MM
32
105mm f/2.0D AF DC 72MM
33
135mm f/2.00 AF DC 72MM
34
180mm 1/2.80 AF (720) 72MM
35
200mm f/4.00 AF Micro 62MM
36
200mm f/2.0G AF-S VR 52MM rear
37
300mm f/4.0D AF-S 77MM
38
300mm f/2.86 AF-S VR 52MM rear
39
400mm f/2.8G AF-S ED VR L
40
500mm f/46 AF-S ED VR L
41
600mm f/4G AF-S ED VR L
42
AF ZOOM NIKKOR LENS (For Digital & 35MM)
43
14.24mm f/2.8G AF-S
44
17-35mm f/2.8D 77MM
45
24-70mm f/2.8G AF-S
46
24.85mm f12.8-4
47
24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR 72MM
48
70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR 77MM
49
70-300mm f/4-5.6G 62MM
50
70.300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR 67MM
51
80-200mm f/2.80 77MM
52
80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR 77MM
53
200-400mm f/4.0G AF-S VR 52MM rear
54
MANUAL FOCUS AIS NIKKOR LENSES
55
20mm f/2.8 62MM
56
28mm f/2.8 AIS MF 52MM
57
35mm f/1.4 AIS MF 52MM
58
50mm f/1.2 AIS MF 52MM
59
50mm f/1.4 AIS MF 52MM
60
55mm f/2.8 Micro 52MM
61
135mm f/2.8 Series E 52MM
62
TC-201 2x Teleconver
63
TC-301 2x Teleconver
1
LENS Filter Size
2
3
14mm f/2.8L11USM Super Wide-Angle (Rear 8e1)...
4
15mm f/2.8 Fisheye (
Rear
5
24mm f/1.4L USM AF.
77MM
6
24mm f/2.8 58MM
7
TS-E 24mm f/3.5L MF Tilt Shift
72MM
8
35mm f/1.4L USM AF
72MM
9
45mm f/2.8 TS-E (Manual Focus)
72MM
10
50mrn f/1.2L USM AF Normal..
72MM
11
50mm f/1.4 USM .
58MM
12
50mm f/2.5 Macro (1:2) 5
52MM
13
65mm f/2.8 MP-E Macro 1x-5x (MF) 5
58MM
14
85mm f/1.2L II USM AF 7
72MM
15
85mm f/1.8 USM 5
58MM
16
90mm f/2.8 TS-E (Manual Focus) 5
58MM
17
100mm f/2.0 USM 5
58MM
18
100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
58MM
19
135mm f/2.0L USM Lens..
72MM
20
135mm f/2.8 Soft
52MM
21
180mm f/3.5L Macro USM
72MM
22
200mm f/2.8L II USM .
72MM
23
200mm /2 EF IS U
24
25
300mm f/2.8L IS USM . 52MM
rear
26
300mm f/4.0L IS USM
77MM
27
400mm f/4.0 DO IS USM.. 52MM
rear
28
500mm f/4.0L IS USM AF... 52MM
rear
29
600mm f/4.0L IS IS USM AF.. 52MM
rear
30
800mm f/5.6L IS USM 52MM
rear
31
2x EF Extender
32
16-35mm f/2.8L II USM AF
77MM
33
17-40mm f/4L USM AF.
77MM
34
24.70mm f/2.8L USM AF
77MM
35
24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM AF
67MM
36
24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF..
77MM
37
28-90mm f/4-5.6111
58MM
38
28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM
58MM
39
28-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
72MM
40
28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM
72MM
41
28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM
77MM
42
70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
77MM
43
70-200mm f/2.8L
44
67MM
45
70.200mm f/4.0L
46
70-200mm f/4L IS USM
67MM
47
70.300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM
58MM
48
70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
58MM
49
75-300mm f/4-5.6111
58MM
50
75.300mm f/4-5.6 III USM
58MM
51
100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM5
58MM
52
100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM AF 7
77MM
53
EF-S LENSES
54
10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM 7
77MM
55
17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
77MM
56
17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS
67MM
57
18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 13 ..
72MM
58
f/2.8 USM Macro Lens ..
52MM
59
55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS AF
58MM