Joseph Linaschke (from PhotoJoseph) recently had a chance to try the Freewell Magnetic Filter System introduced last year. This is a simple yet surprisingly functional magnetic filter system with a number of options.
One of the most annoying things about filters is the need to put them on a lens and remove them which is typically done by screwing them in or out. This can lead to many problems if you fail to align the threads the filter might get stuck or not fit and changes in temperature can – in some cases make it difficult to remove the filter (it happened to us a few times – our suggestion never over tighten a filter).
Magnetic filter systems like the one Freewell made, work by having two basic parts – one is the unit which you screw into the threads of your lens and it stays there permanently (you can remove it of course like a normal filter but you don’t have to) which has magnets inside and the filters themselves which are only magnetic and attach to the lens.
The Freewell system (officially called the MAGNETIC QUICK-SWAP FILTER SYSTEM) currently seems to have a number of options including UV, Circular Polarizer, ND8, ND8/PL, ND16, ND16/PL, ND32, ND32/PL, ND64, ND64/PL, ND1000, ND1000/PL, GND 0.9, GND0.9/PL, GND1.2, GND1.2/PL, and a Light Pollution filter.
According to each filter is made using High Definition Premium Optical glass double-side multicoated Zero chromatic aberration and each side of the glass element is coated with Waterproof, Dustproof, Scratchproof, Oilproof coating.
What we still need Freewell to add to the system are Variable ND filters and step-up/down rings (currently there are only 4 filter sizes available – 67mm, 72mm, 77mm and 82mm (so if you are shooting with lenses that have smaller filter sizes you might have a problem). On the upside – unlike the Manfrotto magnetic filter system – this one seems to work better and not fall (which is a main feature that you are looking for in a system like that).
Besides the filter itself, you will be getting a nice magnetic lens cap, microfiber cleaning cloth, and magnetic hard case. As for pricing depends on the specific filter (Freewell has quite a few options) but these range from around $100-$130. We would like to see a VND option as well as it is much more relevant for video work.
In the past, we have looked at the H&Y Magnetic Filter Holder which is quite a bit more complex and more expensive.
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