|NiSi Filter Holder on the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens|
In August of 2015 I was contacted by NiSi, a Chinese company that makes camera filters. They offered me a filter holder for the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens and a couple filters in return for sending them photos and writing reviews. They are fairly new to the market so I hadn’t really heard of them, but a quick look at some product information that I was sent and a Google search made me interested because the holder appeared to be a single piece that went on easier than the Fotodiox system I have, and the filters looked to be smaller than the monstrous Fotodiox rectangular grad filters I had tried (they were so big I never even used them). So in November of 2015 NiSi sent me the holder for the Nikon 14-24mm lens, a 10-stop 150mm square filter, and a 150x170mm rectangular 3-stop soft graduated neutral density filter.
This review is primarily just about the NiSi filter holder for the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. I will publish another article that reviews the NiSi filters themselves.
If you aren’t familiar with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, it has an integrated and unremovable flower petal type lens hood. So using a standard filter system is not possible. Many companies have produced filter holders and filters for the Nikon 14-24mm lens, including Lee, HiTech, Progrey USA, and Fotodiox, and I’m sure there are others. The only other one I own is the Fotodiox system, so that is the only one I’m really familiar with and can compare with the NiSi system.
The products arrived in nice packaging but without any instructions at all, but it was easy to figure out how the filter holder went on the lens. The filters come in very nice leather-like padded pouches that close with magnets, which I think is a nice touch, you won’t have to worry about any velcro wearing out and they’re very easy to open.
The filter holder easily slides onto the Nikon 14-24mm lens but you have to make sure you put it on the right way. There are metal pins in the holder and they need to line up with the edges of the petals of the lens hood. Once you get the hang of it it’s easy. The holder clamps onto the lens with two thumb screws that tighten two half-circle hard rubber pieces inside the holder onto the body of the lens just below the lens hood petals. The filter holder is pretty snug with the thumb screws tightened down but I would certainly not trust it to stay on the lens while you’re carrying your camera around.
|Close up of the pins that need to be aligned with the edges of the petals of the lens hood on the Nikon 14-24mm lens.|
For me the moment of truth with the NiSi holder and filters was whether or not the holder would cause vignetting at 14mm, and I was happy to see that it didn’t. Some other holders have vignetting problems at 14mm because the holder isn’t wide enough so the edges show up in the corners of the frame at 14mm. The Fotodiox holder is one such holder that has vignetting issues at 14mm.
The square filters are 150x150mm in size, about 5.9×5.9 inches, and the rectangular grads are 150x170mm, about 5.9×6.7 inches. They are large but they have to be large to cover the angle of view at 14mm, but they are also quite a bit smaller than the enormous 6.6×8.5 inch window panes that Fotodiox uses for filters. When I got my Fotodiox WonderPana FreeArc 66 I took out the grad filter and laughed at how huge it was, knowing that I would never be able to fit that in my bag safely, so I put it back with all the protective paper still on it and never used it. I think I returned it but I don’t remember, maybe it’s hiding in my house. But I still have and use the WonderPana threaded filter holder and the Fotodiox polarizer filter.
So lets compare the pros and cons of the NiSi filter holder for the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens.
- Easy on/off with the thumbscrews.
- One piece, doesn’t require a separate adapter piece.
- Has 3 filter slots, the Lee SW150 mk2 only has 2 slots (but maybe you can add more).
- Doesn’t vignette.
- Filters aren’t ridiculously huge compared to the Fotodiox filters, and are the same size as the Lee 150mm filters.
- Large, takes up a lot of space in a camera bag, but so does every other large filter system, so if you want a large filter system you just have to deal with the large size.
- Can only be used on the Nikon 14-24mm lens (and maybe other lenses that happen to have the same shape). If you have multiple lenses that used the NiSi 150mm system you’d have to have multiple filter holders. With the Lee SW150 mk2 filter holder you just have one holder and multiple adapters.
- The NiSi holder is limited to using square filters, which means you can’t use a round CPL (circular polarizer, but the term “circular” is about the type of polarization and not the shape of the filter). Round CPLs are rotating two-piece filters that allow stronger polarization and greater variation of the polarization, whereas a square CPL doesn’t have a separate piece that can rotate, and has weaker polarization. You can rotate the filter holder with a square CPL to change the amount of polarization but if you’re using grads with the CPL then you can’t rotate it much at all because you need the grads to line up with the light/dark transition in the frame, usually the horizon.
I’ve only used the NiSi system about half a dozen or so times so far, but I’m pretty happy with it. It is large but I have managed to fit it and the two filters in my bag, but I know it likely won’t always fit in my bag. But when it can it’s nice to have an easy to use non-vignetting filter system for the 14-24mm lens.