We Review the Kase Armour Magnetic Filter System for Landscape Photography

Another magnetic filter holder system option for landscape photographers. Let’s see how it can improve your shooting process in the field.

The game of landscape photography is constantly evolving. As new methods and approaches to photographing landscapes emerge, new innovations in the important accessories we use are also being developed. The goal is either to make new approaches possible or simply to make old approaches easier, more practical and more effective.

Filter technology is not spared from this constant evolution. Not so long ago, filter choices were much more limited, both in variety and quality. Ten years ago resin filters were the staple and unwanted color casts were only part of the challenges we faced. Most filter brands on the market these days use a more neutral colored glass material which is also much more durable. With this as a major development, the only thing left to improve was how we mount and use filters.

The Kase Armor Magnetic Filter System

The Kase Armor Magnetic Filter System is one of the newest responses to the challenge of improving the user experience in using filters. The purpose of this innovation is to allow landscape photographers to easily configure their desired filter combinations in a much faster and more secure way. This is of course achieved with the use of magnets.

Build and design

The Kase Armor magnetic portafilter system is made up of different layers made entirely of metal. This metal construction is an immediate improvement in durability and protection over older portafilters that use plastic parts.

To mount the bracket on the lens, an adapter layer is required. For most lenses with traditional screw threads, the adapter is a simple thin layer of metal that will attach to the main filter holder magnets, similar to traditional square filter holders. For lenses with special construction such as lenses with a protruding bulbous front glass element like the Sony 14mm f/1.8 G Master and similar lenses, there are custom adapter rings available which friction mount to the barrel of the lens instead.

The all-metal filter holder accommodates up to two circular filters in addition to square filters that can be stacked in as many layers as the high-powered magnets can hold. The first circular filter mounts on the back of the filter holder. It can take either a circular ND filter or a circular polarizer. This first slot is accompanied by a side gear or dial that can be used to rotate the circular polarizer without having to reach the slot itself. On the other side of the holder is another circular indentation that can accommodate another filter. Just like the first, this one can accept both an ND filter and a CPL. However, this slot doesn’t have a spinning gear, so using a powerline on this slot would mean there would be no way to rotate it as you go.

On the most forward part is the slot dedicated to square and rectangular filters. This part can be used for both neutral density filters and graduated neutral density filters. Multiple filters can be stacked together without being limited by physical slots since the magnetic filter frames connect to each other. However, I couldn’t test how many filter frames can be mounted with the snap force because I only had two layers to try.

However, mounting and stacking filters requires observing the polarity indicated by a magnet icon on the surface of the filter holder and magnetic frames. The U-shaped magnet symbol on the filter holder should face the U-shaped symbol on one of the filters. This means that the symbol on the holder actually has the opposite polarity to that on the filter since they actually match. Placing the filter the other way around will cause the magnets to repel each other and as the magnets are quite strong there is a tendency to knock the filter off if placed incorrectly.

Efficiency and Ergonomics

Using magnets definitely increases the efficiency of setting up a specific plan and perhaps the most efficient part of the process is installing the square filters. The use of both sides of the main filter holder for magnetic circular filters is unique compared to other magnetic filter systems and although this technically saves space, it can affect efficiency and flare tendency.

Although the installation of the two magnetic circular filters is quite simple, they would have to be removed or replaced, which would take time and a lot of hand movements. If a filter configuration with circular and square filters is used, the square filters would have to be removed to access the front circular filter. On the other hand, removing or replacing the rear filter means removing the entire configuration. Compared to drop-in style circular filters that can be swapped out without touching the other layers, this double-sided magnetic circular filter mount can be a bit less efficient.

Optics and flares

This review mainly talks about the filter holder system as it still uses the same glass from Kase’s Wolverine filter system that we reviewed previously. Nevertheless, the filters exhibit considerable color neutrality and do not significantly degrade image quality and sharpness. Using the filter holder system with ultra wide angle lenses (at least with two square filters in front) has no visible vignette thanks to the relatively narrow width of the filter holder and the filters themselves.

When the portafilter slots are fully occupied, there is hardly any space left between the layers of glass. This, along with the firm grip of the magnetic frames, leaves little to no room for light leaks and glare. However, in a setup where square filters are used with none of the circular filter slots occupied, there is a lot of free space between the front lens element and the outermost glass filter layer. close, and when shooting toward the sun or anything else directly hitting a hard light source, light reflection back and forth between that gap can result in a more pronounced flare.

Conclusion

The Kase Armor Magnetic Filter System provides a convenient way to mount multiple filters, both circular and square. Magnetic filter frames not only provide efficiency, but also provide additional impact protection should filters be dropped on edges. While some aspects of the overall ergonomics and modularity of the system could still be improved, this is a faster and more convenient way to use filters compared to traditional plug-and-screw-on filter holders .

What I liked :

  • Magnetic attachment
  • Metal protection frames for filters
  • Relatively thin configuration

What can be improved:

  • More prone to flares
  • Difficult to access circular slots when using square filters
  • Non-modular layers

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