One of the best features of mirrorless cameras is the ability to use DSLR lenses. But when using DSLR lenses you immediately fall into one of the flaws of the DSLR lens system: filter design. The mix of filter thread sizes, ‘regular’, thin and extra thin filters and lenshood interaction makes you with there was a better solution.
Owl, “The World First Drop-in filter Adapter” aims to solve the filter problem for mirrorless once and for all with their new indiegogo. Most DSLR to mirrorless adapters are simply a hollow tube pushing the lens away from the camera. They are strong enough to carry a lens, while moving the electric contacts needed for focusing and feedback from the camera bayonet to the adapter bayonet. Owl simply makes a clever use of that space, adding a drop-in filter slot.
What is a drop-in filter?
The basic idea is that the filter has the same optical qualities weather it is in the front of the lens (where the lens cap goes) or at the back of the lens, right between the camera and the lens. And this assumption is the drive behind Owl. (you may know this feature from fish-eye or long tele lenses)
Here is what it looks like:
The system is made from a ‘regular’ mirrorless to DSLR adapter equipped with a tripod collar. the adapter has a small slot where you can drop in and lock filters. The immediate benefits are pretty clear:
- You can use a single filter for all lenses.
- Filter thread is small – 52mm, and with CPL and variable ND filters this has huge cost benefits.
- The workflow of filter exchange gets quicker (OWL measured 1 minute vs 3 seconds – I think it is not as brutal :) )
- you get instant fisheye and wide lenses filters.
The owl makes also claims that the owl can protect a lens’s rear end as well as a rear cap, or a camera as well as a front cap I am not sure I would ever put this to the test, but they did and I cringed…
I can think of two:
- CPL and VND filters will be obstructed by the drop in cap. so you are limited to the OWL system bran for those. If they are good, this is of course not an issue, but time and sample photos/footage will tell.
- Crappy filters that we OKish on the front element will probably be horrendous if positioned on the back of the lens, so you need to get a set of the better (and slightly costlier) filters.
You can get the system starting at $99 over at the OWL indiegogo page.