Over the past couple years, I’ve realized more and more just how many filter options there are out there. Whether you’re looking for Neural Density (ND) filters, polarizers or creative filters … the options are limitless.
But rarely does a filter product come to market that changes the game. That’s what Kolari Vision sought to do with its magnetic clip-in filters.
The idea here is simple. Instead of putting the filters on the front of a lens — or even on the back of the lens — they attach to the sensor area of your camera magnetically. Doing this means you can change lenses without having to worry about changing filters … lessening the chance that you’ll get dust on your sensor when changing lenses at a place like the beach. It also means quicker setup time.
While the idea here is great, I did have a few concerns. But after my tests, I’m convinced that this system is the future of filter systems.
Note: Kolari Vision sent us a magnetic clip-in filter kit to review and keep. However, this is an independent review. All thoughts about this product are our own. We have not been influenced in any way. We tell you this as we always want to be transparent with you.
How they work
With most cameras, you simply let the filter kind of fall in to the sensor area. In my experience, the top part of the filter magnetically snaps into place easily and then you have to push the bottom part softly in. This works rather well.
On cameras that don’t have this ability, Kolari has a mounting plate that can be attached to the area around your camera’s sensor. This is done using 3M sticky tape, and not magnets. This was my first concern. After all, did I really want to take the risk of installing a filter adapter and then have it stuck there forever? I decided to ultimately skip the adapter (needed for my Sony a1) and instead use the filters on my Sony a7 IV, which did not need the adapter.
To remove, Kolari includes a removal tool. You put this under the filter — not in the slot on the frame — and lift up. I initially used this on the slot on the frame, thinking that it would “push out” the filter. This actually pushed the filter in more, resulting in it getting stuck. It took some force to get the filter out after I did this, so I strongly recommend you don’t get it stuck.
The biggest plus for me with the Kolari filters was that these had a frame around the actual filter. Several rear filters I’ve used don’t have this, meaning they’re prone to fingerprint smudges. The frame, which also acts as the magnetic attachment to your camera, is built well.
Even if you do get fingerprints on it, the filters are very easy to clean, and any smudges came off with a standard lens cloth.
Needless to say, the build quality of these filters is top-notch.
Accuracy and results
A lot of filters can adjust color, clarity and contrast if you go with cheap options. But the Kolari magnetic clip-in filters are built to be premium. Color accuracy, contrast and clarity were all excellent. There seemed to be no color adjustment while using the 6-stop and 10-stop ND filters.
And while using the 1/4 Mist filter, I was able to get a soft glow look on highlights, which created somewhat of a fantasy-like scene. I had my doubts on this one, but it’s actually wonderful to use on close-up subjects. This filter has quite a few specks on it, which helps to create the diffusion effect for light that is present.
In addition to Kolari’s ND and Mist filters, they offer Iridium (color enhancing), Light Pollution, IR Chrome Lite, Infrared and other filters. They’re available for full-frame Sony E mount, Nikon Z mount and Canon RF mount.
Kolari has a winner here, and I’m excited to use these filters more. Stay tuned for detailed reviews of their ND filters and Mist filter.