It’s been six months since I purchased a set of NiSi Filters and I think it is a good time to write a small summary to explain my experiences using the NiSi filter system and filters.
So, why did I choose NiSi Filters in the first place?
The filters I had been using (old Cokin) were not that great and I really needed a good set of filters. For years I had believed that LEE Filters were the best, but I am kind of person that likes to do some research before purchasing. It didn’t take long to find out that there are many very positive opinions about NiSi Filters. Tempted with the apparent high quality products I ordered the NiSi Advanced kit with the V5 holder.
From the first moment of opening the package I knew that I had made a good decision. You can feel the quality of that filters right away. Everything is made with great precision and attention to detail.
The V5 Holder
The V5 holder is the skeleton of the filter system, so of course it is a very important piece of equipment. Luckily NiSi have here a lot of things to be proud of. First, the most exciting innovation, the inbuilt polarizer.
Polarizer filters are very important in landscape photography, but using them in combination with other filters is a bit problematic. We must place and adjust the polarizer before mounting other filters, which can be rather annoying. Also, when adding polarizers, we can get the issue of vignetting on wide angle lenses.
NiSi has solved this problem by moving the polarizer into the holder itself. It is very clever solution because we can turn polarizer with small wheels on the side of the holder while other filters are mounted in place. Plus, there is not any vignetting at all, even with wide angle lenses. For me that innovation was one of the reasons I bought the NiSi Filters system.
At first, screwing in the circular polarizing filter (CPL) felt a bit not comfortable. After a few times, it became second nature and now I have no problem with it. The new version of the Nisi V5 holder, the ‘V5 Pro’, mounting of the CPL filter is redesigned and the user experience is much better. In the V5 PRO version there is also a new mounting system for the filters. I personally never had any issues with this and my filters are sliding nice and easy into the slots. Apparently, some people have had issues with this so NiSi designed the new system, which is better to use. Overall a big plus for NiSi for listening to all the opinions and making sure that customers are happy.
Another thing which I really like is the build quality. The V5 holder is made from very strong aluminium. It feels very durable and I know that it will work for many years and in any weather condition. I read that some people are a bit sceptical about small locking knob on the holder. I assure you that this thing is strong and there is no chance that filters will fall from the holder. In fact, it is much stronger than the Lee system. Together with Bryn Perret we tested this and you can watch his video of this test here.
ND and GND Filters
This is where NiSi Filters really shine. The problem with the majority of filters available on the market is that they have blue or magenta colour casts. This is very frustrating because we have to adjust for this in post processing.
This was very much the case with my old filters. I had a few instances because of strong colour cast that I lost my picture, it was unfixable in post process.
With NiSi Filters, there is no colour cast at all! Not even on the10 stop ND filter. This is a huge deal and an extremely big advantage over other brands. You can stack filters together and still achieve natural colours on your pictures. For me this is an amazing feature and I think the biggest reason why I use NiSi products.
Other advantages are that the filters are made from glass and they have an extremely high optical quality. They have a Nano coating which makes them very durable against water and dust. The Nano coating works very well and many times when shooting seascapes, I have had splashes of sea water on my filters and in most cases the water just falls off in one big drop, just like on feathers.
They are also very easy to clean and very scratch resistant. After 6 months of using I don’t even have the smallest of scratches on my filters, they look like new.
Circular Polarizing Filter
For me the circular polarizer is the most important filter. You can’t simulate polarization effects in post processing, so it is essential for good results to have a high quality CPL.
I explained in the beginning how good it is and how much I like the mounting system for the NiSi CPL filter, but it is the quality of the filter itself that is equally exciting.
At this point in time NiSi offers two circular polarizer filter choices, the Pro CPL and landscape CPL. I have been using both for a while now and have to say they both are of amazing quality. The difference between these filters is the Landscape CPL has a stronger polarization effect (99,95%) which is amazing. It also adds a small boost of saturation to the picture. All that extra aspects are more than welcome in landscape photography and that’s why I use this filter when taking most of my pictures.
The Landscape CPL also has Nano coating which makes it more resistant to water and dust. Even though the Landscape CPL is better, I would still be happy with using PRO version. Both are very good and soon I will be making a separate review with detailed comparisons between them and maybe my old Hoya super pro1 CPL which I used prior to owning the NiSi equivalent.
When thinking about filters, often we pay less attention on how to store and protect them. This is another aspect NiSi is very serious about. You will find a big range of filter cases on offer. They have pouches, filter cases, holder cases, all-in-one cases. All of them are made with this same brown leather finish and all of them do a great job of keeping your filters safe.
The all-in-one case is the strongest and is made from hard plastic. You can step on it and nothing will happen.
It is very good to have this level of protection but all this adds a bit of weight to your backpack and for longer trips it can be a slight disadvantage. However, with such a big range of different cases everyone will surely find something for their needs.
It is very hard not to like Nisi Filters. They have great filter holder, great quality filters without colour cast, they are innovative, constantly expanding their range of products. They listen to their customers and adjust for photographer’s needs.
All this makes them a very strong company with a great future in the photography industry. I think this quote from Milton Hershey summarises perfectly why NiSi Filters are getting so much attention amongst photographers, “Give them quality. That’s the best kind of advertising.”