For any landscape photographer, the design of the filter holders we use can have such a significant effect on our workflow. This Vietnamese made carbon fiber filter holder might just be the simplest and lightest one yet.
Filter holders have been getting quite diverse in terms of design in the past few years. Just last year, we reviewed a filter by H&Y that uses an all-magnetic mounting system. Lee Filters also launched a filter holder that allows you to tilt different slots individually. This Vietnamese manufacturer, Bombofoto, took an entirely different route with this filter holder that they call the Zorro Filter Holder which might just be the most minimalist design we’ve ever seen, but at the same time rugged in style.
Build and Design
The main filter holder has an assembly of one aluminum frame with 2 layers of very thin carbon fiber layers for the front and back plates, and a much thinner middle carbon fiber layer that separates the two filter slots. On the sides, between the two layers are retracting plastic pieces that apply pressure onto the sides of the filters for added traction. The aluminum frame comes in different colors (Silver, Black Stone, Blue Sea, Gold, Ruby, and Titanium). There seems to be no option of adding additional layers for more filters which may simply be part of its minimalist design.
The filter holder itself weighs only 81 grams which is less than half of what most filter holders weigh (the Firecrest Filter holder weighs 200 grams while the Nisi V6 weighs 386 grams). The entire filter holder has a width of just 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) which matters when using ultra-wide angle lenses. As consequence, however, the slots for the filters are limited to the 2mm width of the glass only. Using filters with rubber gaskets (for reducing light leaks) are only possible if you are only using just one filter. This is because of the moving middle carbon fiber layer. Using both slots won’t allow for a gasket on either slot. On the other hand, the use of gaskets is unnecessary because of the construction of the filter holder frame that is virtually light leak proof due to the solid gap-less construction.
Mounting the filter holder requires a dedicated adapter ring much like any other filter holder. What’s unique with this filter holder is that it also makes use of the retracting hard plastic pieces to apply friction to the adapter ring. This means that it makes use of absolutely no screws, knobs, or gears. The retracting sides are convex shaped which allows the adapter ring to snap into place and would require just the right amount of pulling force to remove it. There may be more complex mounting designs in the market but there is significant value in this uniquely simple yet sturdy mechanism.
While many landscape photographers choose to use 3 or 4 layers of filters in the field and often requires a complicated setup, there are also many photographers who choose to use a minimal number of filters by using a single ND filter (a 16-stop, for example) instead of stacking 2 filters for the same effect. Some also have veered away from using Graduate Neutral Density (GND) filters altogether because they mainly use multiple image blending in their workflow instead. This filter holder is definitely for the latter.
What I Liked:
- Unique carbon fiber aesthetic
- Thin and lightweight
- Simple mounting mechanism
- Anti-Light-leak construction
- Screw/Gear/Knob-free design
What I Didn’t Like
- No dedicated CPL slot/thread
- Limited to 2 filter slots