I just wanted to take a note of the box art. I find it rather pleasing. Possibly as they remind me of the various Sigma boxes, I’ve had over the years. But we are not here to look at boxes, so let’s get onto what’s inside.
After opening the filter holder box, this is what you will find inside.
Inside, you get a nice carry pouch, a filter holder with a rear CPL installed, a blanking plate to use without the CPL filter, and four adaptor rings. They are 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, and 82mm, allowing the kit to fits a wide range of lenses.
The holder itself is made of metal, feels solid, and is designed to use magnetic filters. As such, there’s no need for the normal two or three groves protruding groves to hold the filters in place. This gives it a nice smooth look from the front, while the velvet material around the top and bottom helps block any stray light and reflections from attached filters.
Around the side, there is a small locking screw designed to intersect the slightly ridged edges on the filters (more on those later) to hold one of them in place.
Flip the filter holder around, and you’ll find the locking mechanism for the adaptor rings.
H&Y uses two screws here. One on either side with a rubber washer to hold the adaptor ring in place, while this works well and is easy to use. I personally feel that these add a lot of depth to the otherwise slim holder.
Lastly, looking at the top rear of the filter, we can find the CPL section.
This features a nice rotating dial to adjust the rear CPL. Given the size of the dial, it should be easy to use with gloves.
To remove the rear CPL, you pull it up and out. There is no mechanical lock for the rear CPL, but it is held securely in place with two ball bearings.
Both the 100mm and 150mm filters come with a soft neoprene case to keep the filters safe and a nice lens cleaning cloth (not shown in the image).
Unlike traditional 100mm filters, H&Y has a magnetic frame around their filters used to attach the filters to the holder. The frame also adds some extra protection as it would absorb some of the impact should the filter fall. The magnetic frame can be purchased separately for about $35 to make any filter you already own compatible with the system.
Applying the filter to the holder feels odd at first as you place it over the holder and it pulls into place.
After sliding glass filters into plastic groves for years, using a magnetic system feels very odd. It is, however, much easier and faster to place/swap filters this way. Adding a second filter is as easy as the first by simply holding it close enough that the magnets attract. Be careful, though, as magnets can also repel each other, so the filters must be facing the right direction.
In the field, setting up the filters and creating images is very pleasing. I took them with me to the Loup of Fintry and using all three filters along with my Sigma sdQ-H with 18-35mm f1.8 Art. I captured this image.
Why use filters? Scene 1 – Kirkintilloch Marina
I created a series of images at a local marina using my Sigma fp and 24-70 f2.8 Dg Dn Art to demonstrate the benefits and why I use ND filters. First up is a shot with no filters at 24mm 1/250, f6.3, and iso100.
While the boats and buildings are nicely exposed, I’m starting to lose some detail in the sky. I then add the CPL filter, which takes 1 stop of light. I’m now at At 1/125, f6.3, and iso100.
This helps control some of the reflections, but the sky is still losing some detail. Next, I used the 3stop soft grad and adjusted it. I’m now at At 1/60, f6.3, and iso100.
Now the sky is much nicer, and I’m not losing any detail, but also, this enables me to expose the darker bit of the image a bit longer, helping to pull out some shadow detail. I then add the 10stop ND. This brings my settings to a whopping 15seconds exposure at f6.3 and iso100.
As you can see, this setup enables really smoothes out the water, making it look more like a mirror. I know it’s not for everyone, but I quite like the effect at times.
Lastly, as I’m shooting on the Sigma fp, I go down to ISO6, another 4 stops of light reduction, giving me a 500-second exposure at f10.
Even the sky starts to smooth out, so if you like that sort of look, this is one way to achieve it.
Scene 2 – Luggie Water
While graduated filters are mostly used to reduce sky exposure, they can also be useful in other situations. Take this scene of the Luggie water for example. First up the shot with no filters on the Sigma fp with 24-70 f2.8 Dg Dn Art at 70mm f2.8, 1/800, iso100
It’s a nice sharp image with some nice bokeh. Although the water looks a little busy, let’s add the CPL. Now we are at f2.8, 1/400 iso100.
The CPL removed a lot of the reflections from the water. This gives a totally different-looking shot, although the water is still a bit busy. I find the left side slightly brighter than the left, though, so let’s add in the 3stop graduated filter.
It’s a subtle thing but putting the darker side of the ND grad filter to the left of the frame helped balance the light in the scene better. This also allowed for a longer exposure, given the water some nice movement at f2.8, 1/250 iso100.
Lastly, I added the 10stop ND. This brought my final exposure to f2.8, 3.8seconds, iso100.
Now we have some lovely flowing white lines in the water, and I’m rather happy with the shot overall.
Having filters to help control the light coming into your camera is nice. No one would use them, though, if they hurt image quality. Let’s look at a crop of the above scene.
For this, I grabbed my trusty sdQ-H and 70-200 f2.8 Sport and shot the local shop as usual.
I shot several images direct to JPG from the camera, and here are what the crops look like at 128mm f8 on the 1.3 x crop ASPH sensor that can resolve detail similar to a 50mp Bayer sensor.
There’s no difference really between using the filters or not in terms of sharpness. The image on the far right required a 30second exposure which the sigma adds some extra noise reduction when shooting in jpg mode, which is the only reason it looks a little softer in parts.
Overall I feel H&Y has a solid and unique filer holder. The controls are large or stick out a bit, making the kit glove-friendly, and it’s genuinely a joy to use in the field once you get used to slapping filters on instead of sliding them into groves.
The filters themselves are of high quality and very durable. It’s not just the glass used. The magnetic housing helps reduce damage in a fall and avoid fingerprints as you don’t have to touch the glass.
H&Y also has a nice range of filter types to pick from, but you can buy the magnetic casing separately so you can adapt other filters you might have to work with the system.