Snap Verdict

The Benro Filter system is quick to fit, easy to use and most importantly is of exceptional quality. A quality that directly challenges the filter market leaders.

That’s no mean feat for an all-new system. Available in resin or glass with basic or advanced holder the system arrives fully formed and accessible for any budget.

The basic holder with resin filter is the access point and follow the traditional design principles; screw-in lens adapter and slot in filters. The resin filters come in grads of varying densities.

The Advanced system features a metal holder with geared filter adjuster for the accurate positioning of grads.

Before being slotted into the holder the glass filters, or resin, need to be popped into a carrier.

Options for the glass filters are again ND grads, and full ND’s, there’s a full list of availability further on in the review.

What makes both the resin and glass filters stand out is the optical clarity, they’re incredible, ensuring maximum quality for your images.

The advanced holder is a thing of beauty, maybe slightly over-designed, but who cares it has anodised bits and gears.

The quality throughout is exceptional, and the optical quality of the filters themselves are as good as it gets.

If you’re about to invest in a filter system, then the Benro option is well worth considering.

Intro

Benro is new to the filter market and has gone all out. Essentially there’s two system’s running side-by-side.

Benro Filter System Review

The Basic with the basic holder designed for the resin filters and with a price point that will appeal to those purchasing their first filter set.

Then there’s the Advanced with a fancy all metal filter holder and glass filters.

Both systems are well priced with a range of 100mm, 150mm or 170mm sizes depending on your lenses and system.

The filter types vary depending on the size and type, but you have all the usual core filters such as hard and soft grad. ND’s and reverse grads are only available in the glass options.

If you’re new to using filter systems, then the approach of the basic and advanced follow the usual lines.

An adapter screws into the front of your lens, then the holder clips in and the filter slots in the front. In the case of the advanced, there’s an extra step in as far as the filter needs to be dropped into a holder before being slotted in so you can use the gearing system.

An excellent standard starter selection would consist of 1 x lens adapter (A 77mm and 82mm are included with the holders), 1 x holder, 1 x 3-stop hard grad 1 x 6-stop soft grad. Here’s a break down of the cost, so you know where you are before proceeding.

Benro Filters 100mm starter set – Basic

  • 1 x lens adapter = £11 (For step down ring if required)
  • 1 x holder = £45
  • 1 x 3-stop hard grad = £45
  • 1 x 6stop soft grad = £45
  • Total = £135 (+£11 if adapter required)

Benro Filters 100mm starter set – Advanced

  • 1 x lens adapter = £11 (For step down ring if required)
  • 1 x holder = £140
  • 1 x 3-stop hard grad = £130
  • 1 x 6-stop soft grad = £130
  • Total = £400 (+£11 if adapter required)

Quite a difference in price. Looking through the list of available filters and again looking at the 100mm size you’ll see that not all filter types are available in the resin option.

However, if you invest in the basic system and then want to purchase the glass 6-stop ND, then everything has been designed to be cross-compatible. All resin filters will fit in the Advanced holder, and likewise, all glass filters will fit in the basic holder.

Just looking at the 100mm system you have the following options:

Benro Filters 100mm resin filter range

  • ND Hard Grad 2-Stop
  • ND Hard Grad 3-Stop
  • ND Soft Grad 2-Stop
  • ND Soft Grad 3-Stop
  • ND Soft Grad 4-Stop

Benro Filters 100mm glass filter range

  • ND Hard Grad 2-Stop
  • ND Hard Grad 3-Stop
  • ND Hard Grad 4-Stop
  • ND 6-Stop
  • ND 10-Stop
  • Reverse Grad 2-Stop
  • Reverse Grad 3-Stop
  • ND Soft Grad 2-Stop
  • ND Soft Grad 3-Stop
  • ND Soft Grad 4-Stop
  • ND Soft Grad 5-Stop

Build Quality and Handling

Starting with the filters.

Available in both resin and glass the design of each material is much the same. Each grad arrives in a protective case with a material sleeve to help keep the filter safe.

Benro Filter System Review

Slipping the filter out and a visual inspection shows both resin and glass filters are well finished with clean edges and slightly rounded corners to assist with slipping into a holder.

Along the base of each filter is printed the filter model, so it’s easy enough to tell where you are when it comes to selecting the right one to use.

Or, you feel compelled to organise your filter holder into filter strength order, do Full ND’s go before or after the Hard ND Grads when you’re organising them?

The two holders have a far more significant difference visually than the resin and glass filters. The basic looks much like any other filter system holder, but even with the basic holder, it feels a level up on quality compared with many other systems I’ve used in the past.

Benro Basic Filter Holder FG100

The holder arrives with a 77mm and 82mm adapter and stepdown rings of various sizes are available for smaller lens diameters, these cost £11 each so relatively cheap.

The construction of the holder is solid, and the lens adapter clips easily into the back of the holder. It is then held in place by a brass screw that ensures a firm grip.

On the front, there are three slots for the filters enabling you to stack; each slot offers a balanced amount of friction; just enough to hold the filter but not so much that it’s a battle to slot one in or pull one out.

As is typical with this style of the holder four screws hold the module slot system in place. If you want to add more, then longer screws can be attached to enable the placement of additional slots if needed to hold more filters.

Using the Benro Filter system with Baxter Bradford

In the field, the basic holder used in combination with the soft resin grads worked well. There was enough friction to hold the filter in place, and the holder was good and solid.

One aspect the stood out in use was just how accurate the moulding of the holder is, there’s no plastic flashing and the filters slot in smoothly.

The brass screw that holds the holder in place does mean that it’s not especially quick release, but all it takes to remove is a quick twist.

This also means that once it’s in place, it does hold firm and the gap between the filter holder and filter is minimal so unlikely to get much if any light leak.

Benro Advanced Filter Holder FH100M2B

The advanced filter holder is quite different with its full metal construction. Only the Kase Wolverine system follows a similar design that enables the gear adjustment for the position of the filters.

Again the holder comes with two lens adapters a 77mm and 82mm and step down rings can be used to fit other lens diameters.

On this holder, however, a neat spring-loaded anodised lever is used to clip on and off the holder from the adapter quickly.

On the front of the holder there are just two slots for filters, but again these slots are held in place by screws so in the future there may be the option to extend to three filters if required.

As well as the two slots there is also a thread for the 95mm CPL to be screwed into the front which is a nice addition. Adjustment for the CPL can be made through the rotating ring on the back of the system.

What makes this system different is the use of the caddies that hold the filters before them being slotted into the holder.

These clip over the filter and once in place in the holder the red anodised knob at the back of the holder can be used to accurately lower or raise the filter. This is useful when using grads.

The gear system is designed to work for both front, and back slot filters so can be engaged and disengaged by just pulling it back and forth.

Testing the advanced filter system with the glass filters initially took a little getting used to, but once the filters were set into the plastic caddies, I could instantly see the benefits.

In the end, I stuck to a couple of ND grads and a 6-Stop and had to say I was impressed with the ease of use.

Using grads the ability to accurately move the filters up and down was a nice touch and removed much of the cold fingered faff that I’m used too with filters.

Using the ND filter, there’s no need for the gears and in this situation pushing the knob all the way in completely disengages the mechanism from the caddy.

What did take a while to get used to was the engage and disengaging of the simple gear system when placing and removing the filters, but that small learning curve is well worth it for the end convenience.

Performance

The main reason for using a filter system is the effect it will have on your photography, and both the resin and glass filter produce excellent results.

Benro is keen to highlight the clarity of their filters, but it’s only in use that you see just how good they are.

Benro Filter System Review

The resin filters are good, but the glass ones are incredible. There’s no softening of detail, and any signs of the colour cast is minimal.

I’ve been using these filters over the summer of 2018 and have been impressed by the ease of use and quality.

One aspect that has become very evident especially on wet mornings or when shooting at the coast is the quality of the coatings used.

The water repellant surface is water repellant and even when the filters have been sprayed by sea water or a dog shaking itself dry the water pools easily and runs off. A quick wipe with a lens cloth and the filter cleans up nicely.

Verdict

I’ve been impressed with the Benro filter systems, both the basic and advanced.

The basic system is easy to use, and the filter holder is one of the best in its class, if not the best that I have come across. It will also hold other 100mm filters if you so wish, so from that point, the basic filter holder is a no-brainer for this system or any other you wish to buy.

Benro Filter System Review

The resin filters are likewise impressive and for anyone setting out the selection of grads should suit everyone’s needs.

If you have the basic holder and want an ND grad, then the glass ND 6-Stop or ND-10 Stop are both available and will fit perfectly into the system. At £100 each they’re not a bad price either.

The advanced system appeals to me due to the full metal construction and annodising, but part of me feels it’s all been slightly over-engineered.

On the basic holder when you clip and bolt down the lens adapter, it’s held tight, no wobble, no rattle when you clip in the Advanced theres a rattle from the holder against the adapter. This is due to the need for the CPL to be rotatable.

What you need to photograph winter

I can’t think of a situation where this is a problem, but it irritates very slightly.

The whole filter caddy system is also a bit of a faff, and the gear system can be a bit hit and miss. I like the way it works, but it’s not as accurate and precise as you think it should be.

However, when it comes to using and once you’ve got used to the system it works really well. The clarity of the images is fantastic, and there’s no doubt that it all looks great on the front of the camera.

Would I use the Benro filter system? Definately the quality of the glass has made it my go-to set of the moment. If I were buying though, I’d go for the basic holder and combine it with the quality of the glass filters. I say this but I do love the metal holder and anodising of the Advanced.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Benro Filter System
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