The Simplest Solution for a Complex Workflow: We Review the H&Y EVO Series Magnetic Circular Filter System

The Simplest Solution for a Complex Workflow: We Review the H&Y EVO Series Magnetic Circular Filter System

Filters are simple tools, but as our workflow becomes more intent-driven, the use and efficiency of these simple tools become more crucial than expected. Filters are helpful tools, but in a fast-paced situation, they can cause delays or even failures. This simple solution might prevent that.

Using filters for any kind of photography or videography begins as a simple task of screwing a circular piece of glass onto the front of your lens. However, as you begin to use multiple filters, or if you have to make quick changes, how your filters are mounted becomes much more important than originally expected. For many photographers and videographers, the use of filters depends greatly on the situation and the lighting environment. Since these factors can be highly variable, it also means having to remove and replace filters between shots to adapt to what could be a very fast and transient scene.

For landscape photographers, square format filters became popular precisely because of that need. When shooting with two or three filters at a time, it can take a significant amount of time to remove and replace filters, especially if the one that needs to be changed is not the front-most layer in a stack of filters. With traditional circular filters, this would mean having to screw off all the filters in front, replace the one that needs to be replaced, then screw the layers back on. At the same time, using multiple circular filters often results in vignetting when using ultra-wide angle lenses. With how thick the frames of traditional circular filters are, a stack of two layers of filters would usually already have optical artifacts. Square filters with generally bigger dimensions reduced the risk of vignetting and made it easier (depending on how the holders were designed) to remove, switch, and replace individual filters in a stack. However, that also made the filters bigger and required a filter holder that has to be set up prior.

The H&Y EVO Series Filters

H&Y’s EVO series magnetic circular filters were made a little different from most circular filters, but these minor differences contribute a lot to the improvement of the user’s workflow. Each of the filters is about 4mm, which is much thinner than how filters used to be. The filters have the usual screw-on thread just like other circular filters, but the inside of the thin frame has magnets as another mechanism for mounting. For the 82mm variants, each filter only weighs about 18 grams, and of course, the smaller variants weigh less. Each filter is made of glass, which makes it more resistant to scratches (than resin filters) and is supposedly made to have the best color neutrality. Each filter comes with an optional-use screw-on magnetic adapter, which has implications for the efficiency of use depending on the intended setup.

The EVO series has many different variants. The landscape kit comes with an ND8 (3 stops), ND 64 (6 stops), and ND1000 (10 stop) filters plus an adapter and a magnetic lens cap. The video/portrait kit comes with an ND8, an ND16, and an ND32 along with an adapter and magnetic lens cap. Other filters come individually (with adapters) such as the circular graduated neutral density filter (GND16), the circular polarizer, the mist filter, the streak filter, as well as a Variable ND3-1000 + CPL combination filter. Step-up magnetic adapters are also available to fit a larger sized filter onto a smaller sized lens, and these circular filters are also compatible with H&Y’s patented Revoring variable size filter adapter.

Workflow Implications

The EVO series filters have different workflow implications depending on what filters are being used and how fast-paced the workflow is. When using single filters, the user has the option of mounting it with the magnetic screw-on adapter or to mount it directly as a screw-on filter. The difference between the two is that using the adapter makes it very easy to remove the attached filter, and this becomes important in fast-paced situations. Otherwise, using the filter individually as a screw-on would be the same as any other circular filter except that it is thinner in general. Using the filters in combination is where the difference in workflow becomes more apparent. As mentioned above, the first filter can be mounted directly as a screw-on or used with the magnetic adapter, then any other filter that will be stacked on top of that will be attached magnetically.

The magnetic adapter is optional if the use of the filters won’t require a lot of switching in between. However for more versatile requirements the adapter allows all filters to be easily swapped

Using the magnetic adapter would be ideal if the user foresees that the first layer of filters might be removed or changed in the process of shooting so that every single filter in the stack can be removed in a snap. The changing of filters, no matter how many of them are being used, can be done significantly faster. However, if the first layer is something that is foreseen to be used the entire time, the switching of the second layer onwards will be much faster, but the benefit is that the stack will be thinner without the adapter. This could allow photographers using an ultra-wide angle lens to use more filters in combination without getting a vignette.

As a landscape photographer who switched to square filters over a decade ago because of the faster workflow, this has definitely made using square filters fast enough and maybe even faster than most other square filter systems.

Color Performance

Testing for the colors of the ND filters was done at midday to avoid any natural warm cast from the sun (that you would otherwise get during sunrise or sunset) and with a standard color profile with the white balance fixed at 5,600 K.

Using the ND8, ND16, ND32, and ND64 filters showed no shift in color, while the ND1000 (and in combination with any of the above-mentioned filters) had a very minimal shift to magenta that can easily be adjusted back through the WB shift in-camera or through the tint slider in post-processing. Compared to the image that had no filters used, there was no observable color cast on any individual filter or when used in combination.

Stacking filters was also tested on an ultra-wide angle lens (Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM), which showed that the 82mm filters can be used in a stack of 2 plus the adapter at 16mm with no vignette artifacts noted. Using three filters as a stack would give a slight vignette at 16mm but is cropped out of the frame as you zoom in around 18-20mm. These findings would of course vary on what lens and what filter size are being used but in general only apply and are only significant with ultra-wide angle lenses.

Practical Applications and Combinations

For landscape photographers and any similar workflow, the Landscape ND filter kit offers up to 19 stops when the three filters are combined. More realistically, combinations of two of the three filters can yield 13 and 16 stops in addition to how they would be used individually. Having the three filter variants in one kit is definitely sufficient for most landscape photographers. This kit can be further expanded with the circular GND filter and the CPL to complete a full landscape photography filter kit.

For portrait photographers, sports photographers, and videographers, the portrait/video kit would be an option if they prefer individual ND filters. Otherwise, the ND3-1000 VND+CPL is an all-in-one alternative. For added effects, these can be used in combination with the mist, streak, or star filters that are available separately.

Streak filter in combination with ND16

The H&Y EVO series filters at first seemed like just another set of magnetic circular filters. However, with the hybrid mounting (magnetic and screw-on), they actually had much bigger implications for the workflow when using more than one filter at a time. Moreover, despite the budget-friendly price tag, they come with great glass that maintains colors properly. Overall, this is a good way to have a complete set of filters without complicating the process.

What I Liked

  • Simple, easy-to-use filters
  • Hybrid mounting options
  • Good color performance

What Can Be Improved

  • More combination kit options
Nicco Valenzuela's picture

Nicco Valenzuela is a photographer from Quezon City, Philippines. Nicco shoots skyscrapers and cityscapes professionally as an architectural photographer and Landscape and travel photographs as a hobby.

Log in or register to post comments