Helix MagLock is PolarPro’s take on a magnetic filter system

Jul 13, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Helix MagLock is PolarPro’s take on a magnetic filter system

Jul 13, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Every company seems to have jumped on the magnetic filters thing over the last few years. We’ve seen magnetic systems from K&F, Irix, H&Y, along with a number of others, all hoping to lock you into their filter systems.

Now, it’s the turn of PolarPro with their its Helix MagLock (buy here) magnetic filter system. These aren’t the first magnetic filters the company has released, having produced them before for small cameras like the DJI Osmo Action, but this is their first for DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

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PolarPro Helix MagLock – Tougher and Faster

Following on from the company’s original variable ND filters for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, the new PolarPro Helix MagLock system is part of the Peter McKinnon series. PolarPro says that Helix was were designed to be tougher and faster to use than traditional threaded filters. They also eliminate the potential issues of cross-threading and stuck filters that can’t easily be removed.

All of the filters are the same size. The system contains different filter thread diameter mounts to be able to attach each of those filters to all of your lenses. So, there’s no more need for step-up rings. Well, as long as all your lenses have a filter diameter of 67mm, 72mm, 77mm or 82mm. If they’re smaller than that, you’ll still need those step-up rings to attach the mount.

The PolarPro Helix filters magnetically attach to the mount and then twist to lock into place. This helps to ensure that a little rough handling or rolling around in your camera bag isn’t going to make them easily fall off. When you do need to remove or attach them, rubber grips around the filter help you get a good grip on them.

The system includes a variety of Variable ND filters in 2-5 and 6-9 stop ranges, with some in Mist flavour, along with regular Mist filters and BlueMorphic and GoldMorphic filters that emulate the look of anamorphic lenses.

Yet another proprietary filter system

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of proprietary filter mounting systems. They force you to go back to that company for future filters and limit you to the range of filters they offer. That being said, the addition of rubber grips around the filter is a fantastic idea. This is something that screw-on filters – filters that systems like this are designed to replace – desperately need.

Despite my general dislike for them, proprietary systems like these certainly do offer advantages over more traditional accepted standards such as screw-on filters. The ability to quickly swap filters between multiple lenses, less chance of stumbling and dropping them as you unspin them from your lens, and no risk of cross-threading… They’re quite tempting and are going to be of benefit to countless photographers out there.

Price and Availability

If you’re one of those countless photographers and want to get your hands on some, the PolarPro Helix MagLock filter system is available to buy now on the PolarPro website, with individual filters and kits starting at $200. Individual items, mounts, defender covers and filters are also available to pre-order now from B&H.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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