Our regular readers may remember a recent traumatic video for Fstoppers’ founders Lee and Patrick, where Lee’s D850 spent some intimate time with a wave and didn’t come out the same. Today, we’re going to look at the filter system he was testing on the day, the Haida M10.
Haida recently reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in taking a look at their M10 system while Lee’s camera was in for repair. Most of my work is in portraiture. But from time to time, I break out my filters and head down to the ocean for some long exposure work, and any excuse to participate in this meditative activity is a good one. So, I told them I’d take a look.
We’ll go into details below, but in short: I’ve been ready to replace my current circular filters and Lee Seven5 holder for a while now, so I’ll be filling out my Haida kit shortly. This is a really great system with a couple of unique values if you’re looking to get into the high end of things.
The Haida M10 holder is made from aluminum and as such, is extremely light while remaining quite sturdy. The brushed finish looks and feels premium to boot.
The holders for the 100mm filters also feel sturdy and well attached. On the M10 holder itself, there is a thin ring of felt that should help prevent scratches when inserting and removing filters. Just don’t let it get wet! It creates streaks all down the filters and needs to be dried again before you can continue using the holder.
The quick-release clip for the holder feels sturdy and like it will last as long as you need it to. It has a good amount of tension, so you won’t knock the holder off by accident. More on this clip below.
The Haida M10 has a similar feature set to many filter holders on the market, but with some different implementations that help it to stand out and possibly be a better solution for many photographers. Let’s take a look at how the holder operates and how well the features work.
Mounting the Holder
After screwing in an appropriate adapter ring (available in 37-82 mm diameters), the holder can simply be clipped on using the spring-loaded tab on the right-hand side of the holder. This tab clips into a groove on the adapter ring that clamps the holder in place. At first, this was a little difficult to trust, as it wasn’t easy to feel that I’d aligned the tab with the groove in the adapter ring. After a few practice runs, though, it became second nature, and attaching or removing the holder now takes less than a second.
I also thought it might be easy to knock the tab and send the rather expensive collection of filters mounted to my lens toppling to the ground. However, the tab does require quite a bit of pressure to activate, so that doesn’t seem to be an issue.
Once the ring is attached, it spins freely. This allows you to precisely align graduated filters. One feature I feel would benefit users of graduated filters would be some sort of lock to stop the ring spinning. It can be all too easy to knock the ring while setting focus or sliding other filters in and out. This may be a minor issue for most, but potentially makes it very difficult for those stacking dark filters.
The Drop-in Filter
The M10 uses a dual drop-in system to allow the mounting of round filters as well as square filters. If you purchase the holder kit, you’ll be provided with a circular polarizer and light barrier drop-in. These can be dropped in and released from the side of the filter closest to the lens. If you’re not using the polarizer, you can drop in the light barrier, which is simply an empty filter ring that seals the rear of the holder to light. To switch these filters, you just need to pinch the two red tabs at the top and lift the filter.
Haida offers several filters to fit this section of the holder including ND, Grad ND, CPL, and their Clear-Night filter. These are much quicker to drop in and release than their 100mm companions, so if you’re looking to quickly and easily make use of an ND or CPL filter, it may be worth investing in these and going for 100mm filters for your graduated options.
The Included CPL
If you purchase the basic kit (I recommend starting here), Haida includes their M10 Drop-In CPL. This filter is encased in a light-sealed holder and has a simple dial on top to rotate the CPL without moving the rest of the holder and potentially having to re-align your graduated filters. As someone who has always used less-developed systems, this is a feature I really appreciate.
The 100mm Slots
On the front side of the holder, you’ll find two slots for 100mm filters. Haida also includes a third set of these in case you need to really stack some filters. When I inserted my first filter into the holder, I found that it was a little stiff, and I had to force it somewhat. However, after a few insertions, that became slightly looser, and I can now get the filters in without too much pressure.
I can only foresee one small issue with these slots, and it would only appear in extreme situations. There is a small (perhaps half-millimeter?) gap between the two filters mounted on the front. In extremely bright or side-lit situations, there may be potential for reflections to occur. So far, I haven’t seen anything of the sort. Of course, you could cover that gap with a piece of gaffer’s tape or simply shield it with your hand if it becomes a problem.
I have tested this holder with everything out to my XF 10-24mm (around 15mm equivalent) using the included adapter rings and have not seen any vignetting at all. This is a great feature, as even LEE require a special wide-angle adapter ring to prevent vignetting. I am currently waiting for my 82mm adapter ring and 86mm-82mm step-down ring to arrive so I can test this with the Laowa 17mm f/4 for Fujifilm GFX (review coming soon!) and will update you if that one vignettes.
The M10 is not the cheapest option on the market and naturally is going to be compared to the LEE100 for its value proposition. At its base configuration (just the holder, no adapter ring, no filters), it comes in at a few dollars more than the LEE100 and of course, significantly more than entry-level options like the Cokin P system. Which one you go for is going to be down to your use case and the filters you want to buy.
If you want to get the best deal on the M10, I recommend going for the basic kit, which comes with the drop-in CPL and an adapter ring of your choice. From here, you can start adding 100mm filters to the kit. Haida also offers an Enthusiast Kit and a Master Kit if you're looking to go all in and want to save a few extra dollars.
Overall, this is a great kit that sits well and truly at the premium end of the market. The M10 holder itself makes quickly setting up for a shot and then changing filters on the fly an absolute breeze. Haida’s filters (we’ll take a look at some of those in the coming weeks) are also of exceptional quality.
What I Liked
- Durable construction
- Drop-in circular filters as well as square filters
- Ease of use
- The drop-in CPL
- No vignetting, even on my XF 10-24mm f/4
What I Feel Could Be Improved
- Light-sealing for 100mm filter section (perhaps a clip-on cover?)
- A lock to stop the holder spinning if required