The Case for Kase filters
Well let me say this right up front, this isn’t going to be a technical document. I do enough technical in my day to day life, and adding more tech isn’t going to make my photography any better.
Starting off I owned an extensive set of Lee filters when I was approached by Kase to check out their system. I was offered to be a brand ambassador, and I thought it as an honour, so I said what the hell let’s give these filters a try. So right up front so if you want to just stop reading and go get a set, the filters are fantastic!
For the past couple of months, I have been “testing” out the filters in all kinds of situations and weather. I haven't spent any time in a raging downpour, it isn’t for lack of trying trust me. I have gone out twice to storm chase and both times the weather got better, maybe there is a theme here.
This weekend I am spending some time in front of some waterfalls I will post links and such when I have images to show off.
Cat Falls Drew May PhotoI spent the day with a good friend hiking in the woods to a small waterfall in the pristine reality of Kananaskis provincial park. It truly is a wonderful site and to be quite honest with you it was a good walk as well. I will return!!
Let start with the whole process here, I have been heavily invested in Lee Filters for about 8 years now. Before that I had stacks of filters all different sizes, I knew there had to be a better way that the stack, enter Lee. I did try out Cokin and I can say with out question they where interesting but quality in the image suffered.
Let me say right up-front image quality and sharpness is paramount to me, and it is far more important as I get even more picky with my final print. In the film days I would be happy with some softness but that is completely dead now. If it isn’t perfect, I am not printing it.
The circular filters where always the best I could afford at the time so there where a mixture of brands, but I did lean toward B&W because I felt they where the best choice for me. Short qualifier here I don’t care what someone recommends until I try them out. The “stack” got bigger every time I got a new lens because I would buy my equipment because of quality of glass and not weather it had the right filter tread.
Enter Lee, I really like the solution they provided me one at of filter and only adapters for each lens, it is just a better way!
Lee makes some truly awesome products and I never regretted having them in the kit. Early on I recognized two small but significant issues with the system. One was super easy to correct the other was something you dealt with and carried on.
Let’s tackle the first issue, colour cast. Lee is very blue with its Little and Big Stoppers; it is easy to correct in post as long as you have firstly shot in RAW and secondly you have a good memory of what the colours where there at the time. This issue is not sufficient to drop Lee filter it is just something to know and deal with. The second issue well that one bugs me with each lens differently, vignette!
Them damn dark corners with this lens at that focal length and it isn’t there with this lens with the same focal length. Drives me nuts but it is something you just deal with, with the new addition to the kit and the most used lens, it gets to be a bur in your side. You see I am a landscape photographer and 24mm is a focal length I love to use; with the Lee system you add the very expensive circular polarizing filter and them comers get dark at @28mm and wider. Put the same set up on your just as expensive TSE 24mm or 17mm and no dark corners. You see I don’t buy lenses to match a filter set I buy lenses for a different reason the filers are just going to have to work with in my kit or be replaced.
Paint Drew May PhotoThe very last moment of light on Storm Mountain as the cloud cover parts to enhance my vision. I truly loved this drive on the first day this road opened. I see many visits returning to the location and many others.
The final issue is very minor and not worth mentioning except for the purpose of this blog and that is softness in the resin filters. The optical glass ones are outstanding, but the resin filters have an ever-so-slight softness.
Enter Kase and an email asking if I would be interested in trying out something different. I can say the little things where dealt with in the perfect way. Offering me an ambassadorship with the testing didn’t hurt my interest.
You see Kase isn’t available in Canada just yet, we can order them though American retailers but if you are Canadian you know what it is like to be subject to exchange rates and just how much it can make your heart sink when the bill is put in front of you. So, I am here to tell you the value is there in this system and it is still cheaper than Lee.
Starting with the adapter rings, each one of them is designed to spin freely after it has been attached to the lens. This makes it possible for the magnetic CPL to just click on and be adjusted after the fact. first getting a CPL close the lens eliminates the vignette, then you add the ability to spin that filter on the adapter and you have a perfect solution to a problem that is very clearly there with the Lee system.
The second issue with Lee is the colour cast. You see Kase does not have a colour cast [some people are seeing a slight warmth in colour I don’t see this] and the filters are coated for every issue. They are super easy to clean. Water droplets just wipe off with out streaking and I am told they are tough to break [if you don’t mind, I am not going to find that one out 😊].
Mt. Amery Drew May PhotoI decided it was time that I spend a little bit of time in Banff, it was a cold Saturday and the clouds or brooding, to there shouldn’t be too many people was my thought. I spent the day looking for a refection that would interest me and standing next to a little soda lake at the foot of this mountain was just the ticket.
All in all, I am very happy with the filters and I will happily recommend them! They aren’t cheap but nothing worth having really is. Right now, you can find them on Amazon in American funds, but let’s hope some one in Canada steps up and brings them into the country and soon…there are a couple more filters I need. 😊
Oh and I will add a little more info from time to time!!
Keywords: 5DSR, Alberta, Banff, Canada, canon, clouds, drew may photography, drewmayphoto, filter, Kase, lake, landscape, Mountains, photographer, rocks, Rocky, sky, storm, sunset, trees, TSE, water, waterfalls
Neil "Fotoman" Young(non-registered)
I definitely see the vignette issue with the Lee system I bought from you since using it. I'm not sure if another lens will eliminate the vignetting but I'm willing to try for my landscapes....
I really like using the lee system, but I do see (Visually...) the huge difference on the Kase setup where the CPF is so close to the lens that there definitely wouldn't be any vignetting.
Great job in design, Kase!
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