When I decided to invest in filters for my Sony a7 III system, I didn’t just want to go with the filters I already had because they were easy and affordable. I wanted some that provided great color accuracy and no obvious image quality degradation.
For my wide-angle, I ultimately decided to go with the Haida Rear Filter System, as it provided perfect color and portability that no square filter system could match.
But when it came to my Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art lens, I knew I had several more options out there. In fact, I already owned 82mm filters by Vu that I had been using when I photographed with Olympus (with a filter ring adapter).
But the Vu filters had seen better days. They were pretty beat up — I am by no means light on my filters. I ended up reaching out to a company by the name of Urth (formerly Gobe) earlier this summer. At the time they were revising their product lineup. So I put my filter decision on hold.
They reached out to me in December though, to see if I wanted to review a filter set. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity.
They thought of everything
When it came to the design of Urth filters, the company thought of everything. Not only were they lightweight and made of great materials, they’re double-threaded and come with an attachable cover. This meant that you didn’t have to deal with plastic cases for each filter — they all stacked together and were neatly enclosed in a metal cover on both sides.
It makes traveling with them super easy, just like with my Haida Rear Filter System.
The filters are made from German B270 SCHOTT optical glass, and they’re covered with a 20-layer nano-coating. Meaning, you have added protection, better sharpness and easier cleaning. The filters also have an ultra-slim magnalium rim to help avoid vignetting and increase durability.
I ended up requesting the Urth Essentials Filter Kit Plus+, which consisted of UV, Circular Polarizing, ND8 (3-stop) and ND1000 (10-stop) filters. While I’m not one who uses UV filters, I knew I wanted a good CPL and a light and dark ND filter. Needless to say this was the perfect kit for my needs.
Oddly enough, I ended up using the CPL before my ND filters, for a client photoshoot. I had a tricky task of photographing parol lanterns that were hung inside an exterior window. And that window had a TON of reflections from the building across the streets and the lights close-by.
I ended up putting the CPL on and rotating it where it would reduce the most amount of reflection in my scene. Before the CPL, the lanterns were tough to see because of the reflection, even after some heavy editing. After, the lanterns were a little easier to see, and didn’t require nearly as much post-processing work.
The CPL also worked like a charm after dark.
When it came to using the two ND filters — something I do frequently with landscapes — the filters performed just as I expected. The ND1000 was certainly my most used, as I used it during daytime scenes.
But I also utilized the ND8, which allowed me to slow down the water but not completely get rid of movement.
Needless to say, I’m extremely with these filters. As someone who often gets fingerprints on their filters, it didn’t seem to be as much of a problem with the Urth brand. Compared to the Vu filters I had previously, the Urth filters seem to not hold on to smudges, dust and other elements quite as easily. Meaning there’s less cleaning the filters, and more shooting.
While not the cheapest brand on the market, Urth filters are certainly driven by quality. They aren’t super expensive — I’d consider them midrange on the pricing scale — and there are more affordable versions by the company, too. Plus, the company plants trees with every item sold … so you feel good about your purchase, too.
If you’re in the market for great, reliable filters, definitely check out Urth. These will certainly become a mainstay on my camera.