While there are dozens of options for filters, covering different effects, sizes, and manufacturers, I’ve found that I only need a few key filters for a landscape shoot. I like to use neutral density filters and circular polarizers, both of which are impactful and less easy to replicate in software. Haida’s NanoPro line has delivered great results in my past experience — can their magnetic filter line deliver the same quality?
Haida sells a number of pieces in their “Magnetic Series”, including UV, ND, variable ND, graduated ND, and polarizing filters, along with their astro-focused clear night filter and adapter rings. In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the 82mm kit, which includes everything necessary for use with 82mm and 77mm lenses, thanks to the included adapter ring. For filters, the kit includes a circular polarizer, a 6 stop ND filter, and a 10 stop ND filter. It also includes a leather carrying case and magnetic lens cap.
Haida’s packaging is clean and functional, with the filters already stored in the included carrying case. Unboxing is simple, requiring just unwrapping the filters, which came pristine from the factory. Beyond that, there’s not much to the question of usability — the filters attach easily to the magnetic ring once you’ve mounted it to your lens. You can stack filters on top of one another, while the thin filter rings reduce the risk of vignetting from the stacked filters.
Attaching and detaching is literally a click, with the filters snapping together firmly, and separating under fingertip pressure. While the filters are secure, it’s possible to drop them if you’re not careful, or even knock them off if something catches the front of the lens just right. The very thin filter rings, while nice for preventing vignetting, don’t offer a ton of grip options. This lack of grip also impacts the case, where you have to fish the filters carefully out of the deeper pockets, otherwise, you'll end up smudging the glass. These issues aren’t unique to these filters, as they affect any filter with a thin ring, but they are more noticeable given the intent of the magnetic design. A filter that makes it this easy to take on and off should also make it easy to manipulate and store.
While the magnetic attachment means you won’t often need to screw them in, the threads are cut very cleanly. This makes it easy to attach the magnetic base, as well as easy to unscrew after use.
Beyond the usability, which is quite good, the biggest question is how do the filters perform? It makes no sense to put a $10 filter with poor performance in front of a $2,000 lens. Fortunately, these filters deliver a great quality image, comparable to the B&W, Breakthrough, and Tiffen filters I use and tested against.
In testing, I found no unusual issues with flare (adding a filter always adds the possibility of flare, as there’s another piece of glass in the way). Neither the packaging nor filter itself indicates whether it’s multicoated, but I did find them easy to clean and flare resistant, potentially indicating that there is some level of coating.
The circular polarizer has a pretty unique design. Since the filters can rotate freely within the magnetic ring, the polarizer is just a fixed ring, relying on the rotation to adjust the degree of polarization. While it’s tough to say whether this translates to a lower degree of vignetting, at least it’s a cool design.
The neutral density filters appear to match the rated reduction in light. With them in place, they matched both the level of reduction provided by similarly rated filters, as well as the mathematically expected change in exposure.
Color casts are a little tricky to judge. I’ve found that every significantly dark ND filter can introduce some sort of color cast and I’ve even had different results per lens. Fortunately, these don’t produce a strong cast.
Evaluating the polarizer’s performance is tricky. In many scenes, the effect itself can be variable and subtle, depending on how the polarizer is set. I didn’t notice any issues in use, and it seemed to perform well against the benchmark filters I was referencing. In the past, I’ve found that as long as a polarizer doesn’t negatively impact image quality, it’s probably fine.
Overall, the kit is well thought out. The choice of included filters is very logical, with it covering all the essentials I would find myself wanting. I’d love to see a version that includes the night sky filter or the black mist filter, as these are the other two filters from Haida’s line that I would definitely include in the bag. The lack of a graduated neutral density filter isn’t a significant loss, as those filters are less necessary with modern camera's dynamic range capabilities.
If you’re looking at this set and have any possibility of getting an 82mm lens now or in the future, definitely consider opting for 82mm over 77mm. It looks like 82mm (or even larger, unfortunately) is increasingly becoming the standard size on lenses. Fortunately, it’s not a big penalty when it comes to carrying filters, and the included 82mm to 77mm adapter works well. On the topic of other inclusions, a direct 82mm to 77mm magnetic adapter would be great, letting you keep one magnet ring on each lens, then just swapping filters between them in use.
Haida’s NanoPro magnetic filter lineup performs quite well. When it comes to filter performance, I have no complaints. The filters performed well and were in line with their rated values, all while remaining quite cost-effective. The magnetic system may be a great fit for some users, while others may prefer the square slot style of adapters, or even just the traditional screw-in filters. Overall, I think this system strikes a good balance between portability, thanks to being smaller than those square filters, speed of operation, and quality of results. Haida's NanoPro kit is available now, and includes the circular polarizer, 6-stop and 10-stop ND, 77mm adapter ring, and a magnetic lens cap.
What I Liked
Included filters are all essential and very useful
Magnetic system works well in the field
Included carrying case makes it a convenient single "kit" for essential landscape filters
Magnetic lens cap is useful, and a smart solution to lens cap incompatibility
What Could Be Improved
Filter rings are very slim, which can make handling them tricky
"Soft" incompatibility with lens caps is disappointing, albeit understandable