Reviews |Haida Interchangeable NanoPro Magnetic Variable ND Filter

Haida Interchangeable NanoPro Magnetic Variable ND Filter Review

Haida Interchangeable NanoPro Magnetic Variable ND Filter Review
Review

Price when reviewed

£219

$198

Our Verdict

Magnetic filter systems are steadily growing in popularity, and after spending some time with the Haida Variable ND2 – 5 and 6-9 Stop it’s easy to see why. Magnetic filters are convenient, but I’ve never come across this type of filter with a variable element. The filter works in the same way as any other VND, but then you can pop off the ND2-5 Stop filter and exchange for the 6-9 stop in seconds. It’s all incredibly easy. Of course, optical quality is a key, and the Haida 2 – 5 and 6-9 Stop do not disappoint. As a variable ND solution, the Hadia Interchangeable NanoPro Magnetic Variable ND is exceptional.

For

  • Fast to fit
  • Excellent optical quality
  • Feature end stops

Against

  • No adjustment peg
  • Slight colour cast
  • 6 to 9 Stop, end stops still enable the start of Black X

What is the Haida Interchangable NanoPro Variable ND Filter?

A short time ago, I looked at the Haida NanoPro Variable ND filter and was instantly struck by the quality of the optics. The Haida filter presented a reasonably priced option with outstanding optical and built quality. Since that review, I’ve gone on to use that filter as a permanent addition to my kit bag. It’s rare for me to be on a shoot without it in use.

Now Haida has developed the format and produced the Haida Interchangeable NanoPro Variable ND filter.

Haida Interchangeable NanoPro Magnetic Variable ND Filter Review

In the past, I’ve seen quite a few magnetic screw-in filters and from the ones I’ve seen so far, I have to say I’m impressed.

Now Haida has produced a magnetic variable ND; it’s along the same lines as other magnetic filters but with the ability to adjust the density. It’s clever and not something that I have used or seen before.

In theory, it all sounds like a good idea, screw in the streamline filter holder and then pop on the variable ND that you want. When you want to change, pull off the filter and pop the new one on, all very simple.

Now when you use standard magnetic filters, you pop them on, and then they stay in place, no additional fiddling or rotating. However, as this is a variable ND, you will, of course, need to rotate it to adjust the effect.

To me this instantly sounds a little precarious, won’t that rotating action mean that it’s easier for you to dislodge the filter accidentally? Will the fit be that good? And won’t the effect of the magnets mean that rotation will be rough?

Only one way to find out and that’s to put the 2-5 and 6-9 Stop interchangeable NanoPro Variable ND Filter to the test.

Specification

  • Variable ND: 2 to 5 Stop or 6 to 9 Stop
  • Diameter: 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm and 82mm

Features

Before checking over the filter and holder, let’s take a look at the feature set. Firstly the filter comes in two parts, the filter holder that screws to the front of the lens, like any other screw-in filter, and then the front element.

Like other variable NDs, this magnetic version is constructed with two circular polarisers, as the element is rotated the density is increased or decreased affecting the amount of light that falls through the lens and onto the sensor.

Haida Interchangeable NanoPro Magnetic Variable ND Filter Review

The holder features one polariser, and the front element the other polariser. At present, there are two front element filters available a 2-5 stop and 6-9 stop, which gives a good range of densities.

The magnet is built into the frame of the filter, so a quick alignment and the two parts clip together.

This makes it ideal for all sorts of photography where you want to extend exposure, and is, of course, ideal for video. The nice feature is that if you need to increase the density beyond the 2-5 stop, you can quickly clip off and clip back on the next filter, no unscrewing involved.

A nice touch is that stops have been placed into the frame, so it’s impossible to push the ND effect to far with either filter. This means that you won’t suffer from the infuriating X pattern that can blight some variable NDs.

As with the Variable ND we looked at a while ago from Haida the surfaces of both filters are Nano coated, this helps to stop water, dust and dirt from sticking to the element and makes the surface easy to clean.

The filters have been designed to keep vignetting, and colour casts in check.

A nice feature on both front elements is the marking of the Stops; this helps guide you as you adjust the intensities.

As previously mentioned there are two versions of the filters a 2 to 5 Stop and a 6 to 9 Stop, we’ll look at both in this review.

 

Build and Handling

Variable NDs can suffer from a surprising range of build issues, foremost of which is the smoothness of the rotation. While I was not expecting the smoothest of movement, due to the magnets, I was surprised by how smooth it was.

You can feel the friction through the rotation, but the two elements move relatively smoothly. To be honest, although these two elements are only held together with the use of magnets you’d be hard pushed to tell unless someone told you.

Haida Interchangeable NanoPro Magnetic Variable ND Filter Review

Before I started the test, my biggest fear was that connection between the two elements created by the magnets. In truth through the month that I used these that connection never failed.

After a while, the additional care you take when rotating the elements, knowing that there is nothing more than magnetic power holding the two together, falls away. It doesn’t take long before you’re using this variable ND in the same way you would any other.

Both 2-5 and 6-9 stop filters feature identical designs with the only difference being the numbers etched into the side and the densities they offer.

In use, the numbers on the frame act as a nice guide to the density and exposure reduction, it’s a feature that I’m glad Haida included.

What is surprising is just how slim Haida has managed to make these filters. The screw-in element is textured around the outer, which makes screwing it safely into your lens easy, and the front element is smooth with a fine texture on the very edge of the filter.

This edge texture enables you to get easy purchase on the element when it comes to rotating.

Overall the build quality is exceptional, and the ease of use separates these filters from other variable NDs.

My only observation from a user point of view is that there is no option to add an adjustment peg as we saw with the larger 95mm Variable ND, which is useful for filmmakers but not so much of an issue for photographers.

Performance

In this test, I use the 77mm versions on a lens with a 67mm diameter using a step-up ring. Fitting the filter to the ring and then onto the lens was as easy as anyfilter, and the addition of the shaping and texture around the holder’s edge enabled easy purchase.

What set this filter apart from other variable NDs was the ability to quickly stop and change the front element, change from the 2-5 to the 6-9 takes seconds rather than a minute or two. This may seem a small amount of time, but it makes a huge difference.

Haida Interchangeable NanoPro Magnetic Variable ND Filter Review

When it comes to fitting and use, the biggest takeaway is the convenience of using magnetic over standard screw-ins. The time saving may be small, but it enough to reduce the hassle I usually feel when having to swap from one filter to another.

This meant that I swapped between the two more frequently, and got results that I would have otherwise dismissed.

In use both filters performed exceptionally well, the optical quality was as good as the previous variable ND that I looked at from Haida, and there were no obvious signs that the difference in design affected the quality of the image.

The images showed good definition and tonal range with no signs of vignetting. However, there is the faintest hint of a blue colour cast which is to be expected and is easily corrected.

Verdict

Variable NDs are in vogue at the moment, they’re a kit bag essential and rightly so. Like a zoom lens, they’re convenient and one of the most fun accessories that you can buy for your camera.

Pop an ND filter on, and you can extend your exposure times and capture stunning smooth water and cloud effects.

Haida Interchangeable NanoPro Magnetic Variable ND Filter Review

One of the side effects of using long exposures is that image imperfections start to shine through, so you need to ensure that the optical kit you’re using, including filter, are as a good as your budget, will allow,

The Haida Intercahngable Variable ND is of excellent quality, and with two density ranges, 2-5 and 6-9 Stop to choose from you have everything covered.

There are plenty of Variable ND options out there, but not all come close to the convenience of the Haida offerings.

As variable NDs go there’s little to fault with the optical performance, but what’s apparent is just how good an idea magnetic variable NDs are.

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