November 17, 2021
Kase Armour Filter System
Just out this week from Kase is a brand-new innovation in filter holders that will make using filters faster and more secure
A few weeks ago, I explained the differences between square and circular filter systems and the situations where they worked best. With the launch of the new Kase Armour 100mm filter system, that explanation is no longer valid. I have been using Kase filters since 2019 after seeing a demo at the Photography Show in Birmingham. I have often been impressed by the innovation in developing products that look at where problems occur for photographers and fixing them with clever design. This week’s launch of the Kase Armour filter holder enhances that reputation further.
In the olden days (last week), a photographer chose to use a square filter system or round. Mixing and matching rarely worked as circular filters behind a square system holder caused vignetting, particularly with wide-angle lenses. The clever people at Kase have re-imagined how to attach different filters, and at the same time, make them a whole lot more secure.
As with any filter system, it starts with a ring that screws onto the lens. Those familiar with the K8 and K9 systems know that a magnetic circular polariser (CPL) easily attaches to the ring. The effect of the CPL is controlled from the holder. That changes with the Kase Armour system, and the CPL attaches to the holder magnetically. The first innovation is that a 95mm circular ND filter can also connect using the same magnetic process into the holder. Having a magnetic attachment feels so much more secure.
As I explained in the square v round filter blog, round filters aren’t great for graduated filters as you will probably want to decide where the graduation ‘line’ takes effect. That’s where the second innovation in the Kase Armour system comes in. Instead of sliding graduated filters down slots in the holder, Kase has developed a metal frame to hold the existing 150 x 100mm and 100 x 100mm filters inside. They attach to the holder magnetically, making it a much faster process than trying to slide the filter into tight gaps. They look pretty secure using the magnet, but there is also a twist knob that can tighten the frames even more.
The 150 x100mm filters are already pretty strong using Kase’s Wolverine glass, but these frames add even more protection to your precious filters. The filters insert into the frames by loosening two screws, sliding the filter in, and tightening up.
The addition of two circular filters in the holder might make you think the system will be pretty thick so that the vignetting problem will become evident. Kase has tested the system using the Nikon 14-30mm f/4 and the Canon RF 15-25mm f/2.8 lenses and has no sign of vignetting – that’s pretty impressive!
Is the Kase Armour system for you?
If you are brand new to using filter systems, then absolutely splash out, and you’ll never need to buy another one again. If you already use the Kase K8 or K9 system, then it becomes a financial question. Is the cost of the new holder and frames worth the benefit of a far more secure and faster filter system? I can see lots of reasons why that might be the case. I sometimes use three filters, two graduated filters and an ND filter, so I would need to think about replacing my 150x100mm ND filters with circular ND’s to replicate the set-up.
That brings us to the cost of the Kase Armour system. The entry-level kit contains the holder, a circular polariser, 6-stop Armour circular ND filter, 3-stop graduated 150 x100mm filter, two filter frames, a plastic lens cap and carry case, as well as the rings to attach to your lenses. It retails at £509. If you are an existing filter system user, a cheaper option at £269 is to buy just the holder system with a CPL included, two frames and rings. A circular 10-stop ND filter will cost an additional £125, and extra frames are £40 each. You can click through for more information here.
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About the author
As well as running Edinburgh Photography Workshop, Rich Dyson is a professional photographer. His photographs are regularly used in newspapers such as The Times, Guardian and Daily Telegraph. He also had two solo exhibitions as well as being featured in a members sponsored exhibition in the Scottish Parliament. You can see and buy his photography at richdysonphotography.com