Haida m10 drop in filter holder kit vs. Lee deluxe 100 filter kit

Started 9 months ago | Questions thread
yuchuan Junior Member • Posts: 28
Re: Haida m10 drop in filter holder kit vs. Lee deluxe 100 filter kit

Thank you so much for the detailed comments and recommendations, Bing!

I bought the HAIDA M10 system with 0.9, 1.8, 3 ND, and a 0.9 GND all red-diamond version and the drop in CPL last night. I cannot wait to try them on.



Bing Chow wrote:

I have both the Haida M10 and the Nisi V5 Mk i. I would classify both as adequate, functional systems with just enough material and build to get the job done. Neither are jewel-like in feel or build quality but that doesn’t affect performance. I’ve done long exposures with both and both are light-sealed but in different ways. In contrast, systems like PolarPro and Wine Country Camera (WCC) appear to be a step up. I have no experience with either one beyond web browsing. Because you are starting from scratch, just be aware that systems that use proprietary frames around their ND and GND filters might lock you into that system. WCC’s holder require that you mount the glass filter inside their proprietary frames called “Filter Vaults.” They claim it “protects the filter during transit and use, and increase image quality by eliminating internal reflections and filter-flex caused by inferior holder systems.” Really!? But at least you don’t have to use their house brand Blackstone filters. Lee and Nisi holders accept bare filters of the industry standard 100mm width and 2mm thick so you can mix and match filters from various manufacturers. However, please check if their stronger NDs rely on gaskets for light sealing against the holder. There’s nothing wrong with gaskets, but you can’t use filters with gaskets on the Haida M10. None of this matters if you end up with the Haida M10 and use their Red Diamond line of filters. More on this later.

Haida M10 has their signature drop in round filters housed in a plastic frame. The kit comes with the drop-in CPL, and that CPL is coated so water beads up on it nicely. Haida also sells drop-in NDs so you have options. So the M10 works like this:

lens——adapter ring for your front thread diameter——M10 holder

It’s important to recognize that the M10 holder carries BOTH the drop-in CPL and the slots for the rectangular filters. Why might you care? Because of work flow.

Let’s say you want only CPL. Drop in the CPL, spin wheel to dial in the effect, and shoot. But then you decide you want an unfiltered shot. Ok… either spin the dial to cancel it, or pull it out. It’s fast, unlike systems that requires you to unthread the CPL off the holder or off the adapter ring. That’s where the Nisi V5 was annoying. The CPL was thin and fiddly. So that’s where the M10 wins.

But now let’s say you want combine CPL + ND, which is common. Ok….drop in the CPL, slide in the desired ND, shoot. But if suddenly you want to go back to using only the CPL, then you have to slide out the ND or grads. There is no fast way to separate or install the rectangular filters independently of the CPL. In contrast, Nisi’s CPL is threaded onto the adapter ring, which is entirely separate from the slots. So you can quickly separate the ND and grads from the CPL. This is useful for experimenting with different filters.

The light seal on the M10 is in the form of a velvety ring that is permanent on the holder. The filter closest to the lens comes very close to the holder, so much so that scratching is possible if you don’t slide the filters straight up or down. I typically mount my rectangular or square filters with holder in my hands anyway and not while mounted on the lens. I just feel more secure that way. If you don’t want the CPL, there is a light seal frame that you install in the same slot. Think of it as a drop-in filter but without glass in it. Just an empty ring. Lee and Nisi rely on a foam gasket that is adhered onto the stronger ND filters for light seal. The gasket is about 1mm thick. Whether or not that extra clearance means less likely to scratch the filters is up to you.

Out of the box, the M10 was fitted with 2 slots. Included are longer screws and 3rd plastic shim to build a 3rd slot if you so choose. I’ve never needed a 3rd slot. There is no vignetting with 2 slots on 20mm full frame.

Finally, Haida’s Red Diamond filters fit perfectly in the slots. Neither too tight nor too loose. My old Nisi V5 was so tight with Haida and Lee filters, that I had to modify the plastic rails with a Dremel. Red Diamonds are very neutral and like the NanoPros before it, the coatings are absolutely awesome. You can blow raindrops off of it. My old uncoated Haidas and Lee grads are dust and streak magnets. Red Diamonds are also said to be more shockproof and scratch-resistant than older glass filter. I’ll just take their word on that. They come out of the box without the gasket taped on, for use with the M10. But a gasket is included for use with other holders. Companies like Breakthrough and PolarPro publishes fancy looking graphs to claim that their filters are more neutral than its competitors. My gut feeling is that unless you have lab-grade equipment or you’re a Hollywood cinematographer who must have the last word on neutrality, all of the latest generation of glass filters from reputable companies like Haida, Nisi, Wine Country, BT, Formatt HiTech, and others, are all neutral and transparent enough that it doesn’t degrade image quality to any practical degree. I haven’t stayed on top of Lee Filters, but if they are still using their Big Stopper from 5+ yr ago and still making resin filters, I think they’re behind the curve. The Big Stopper was notorious for a blue color cast. People like the resin because they weigh less and are more forgiving if you drop it but it scratches far more easily. I do know Lee has a line of glass filters but you might need to donate a non-essential organ for them. I’ve also read internet chatter about Lee resins holding their dyes better than glass filters that rely on films because of peeling/aging. I’m a light user and I’ve never encountered any peeling on any of my filters.

My advice is to see consider how each holder works and see if the workflow make sense to you. Consider how many filters you might use simultaneously. PolarPro might only allow a max of 2. (couldn’t find on their website) See what restrictions each holder has and if that matters to your style of photography. Then consider filters that offer modern coatings that are hydro and oleophobic and perhaps scratch resistant. WCC’s holder is beautifully crafted but perhaps over-engineered. It’s bulky and $$$. Lee might be dated and selling on legacy. Haida M10 feels a little cheap and the plastic frame has some play in the slot, but still lightproof. But I love, love, love the Red Diamonds.

Sorry for the long post. Hope it helps.

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