Photography News Issue 53

Photography News | Issue 53 | photographynews.co.uk

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First tests

SRB Elite Lite filter holder £19.95

Specs

Using filters is a huge part of creative photography; there are two ways to add them to your lens, either screwing them on or slotting square filters into a holder. SRB’s newElite lite filter holder is for the latter and billed as easy to use, adaptable and lightweight, hence the name. The Elite lite filter holder takes 85mm (Cokin P size) square filters, and there are two filter slots, but by using the included wide-angle kit you can remove one of them; the benefit being that you can use shorter focal lengths without the filter creeping into the edge of the frame. Made of lightweight aluminium and plastic, the holder is only 65g, so it definitely lives up to that part of its name. That said, I’ve never noticed the weight of a filter holder in use, whether itwas a beginners’ plastic kit, or a large, metal, professional version. Have you? SRB’s regular Elite filter holder weighs a little more, at 90g, and the saving seems to be made on the Lite version by not having a rotating mechanism for a screw-in polarising filter. You can still rotate the whole set-up of course, sliding it around the adapter ring that mounts it onto your lens. The holder is very easy to fit. After screwing in the adapter ring for your lens’s filter size, which you need to buy separately, the holder clips on neatly and turns quite freely, but without slipping, so you can set graduate filters to any angle you need. The holder is held inplace by a brass clip and spring mechanism, which is certainly strong enough to prevent accidental release, but light enough to be operate easily. It also provides enough purchase for use with gloves. Filters are easy to slot in and well gripped, if anything a little toowell; out of the box the hold is quite stiff which means applying quite a lot of pressure

Price £19.99

In the box SRB Elite Lite filter holder,

wide-angle conversion kit (1x screwdriver and 4x shorter screws). Filter size 85mm (P size) Filter blades 2 Widest shooting (full frame) 18mm (one blade) 22mm (two blades) Material Anodised aluminium and plastic, brass clip Dimensions (HxW) 113x120mm Weight 65g Contact srb-photographic.co.uk

to the filter tomove it. A little loosening of the retaining screws remedied this. Talking of modification, it’s here the wide-angle kit comes in; amusingly it’s actually just a crosshead screwdriver, and four short screws. You simply unscrew the retaining screws to remove the front clip, freeing the two blades from the main ring; take away one pair of blades and reassemble using the shorter screws. This is pretty quick to do and works fine, but it’s not without fiddly moments, and is therefore best attempted at home, in a bright room, on a clean desk and with no sidewind; try it on a hillside in the dark and it gets a lot more complicated. It’d help if the screwdriver had a magnetised tip. Come to think of it, while there’s nothing wrong with the system– other makers use it too – there must be an easier way to modify a holder like this? In its two-slot set-up, SRB claims the holder ‘willworkdown to a focal length of 20mm until vignetting appears and down to a focal length of 16mm until vignetting appears’ when using only one blade, although ‘working focal lengths may vary depending on the optical design of the lens.’ I tested this on a Nikon D810 and 16-35mm lens, shooting at f/11, so any physical vignetting wouldn’t be confused with that from the lens. True enough, vignetting was visible in both arrangements at 16mm and 20mm respectively; at 18mm with one blade I still noted a very small amount in the corners, gone by 20mm; similarly, at 22mm, using both blades, it was visible, but only just. In either case, the most minor processing would take care of it. Obviously, vignetting is based on using the holder horizontally; you can shoot wider with it vertically. The holder also has lines on the front, which are for lining up grads with the centre of the holder and get a straight line in the scene. I didn’t find it

Images The above image was shot using a 16-35mmNikon zoom on a Nikon D810, set at 18mm. You can see on the left that with two filter blades there’s lots of vignetting visible; but with one removed it’s almost free of vignetting.

all that useful, but it might be a help for some; equally you’d also need to make sure the holder itself was level. Are two blades enough? It depends how many filters you want to stack; a full ND and grad is often sufficient and adding extra filters can mean lowering image quality anyway. Adding blades also means the holder is more likely to vignette. I didn’t feel like I was missing options here, and if I was I’d have added a screw-inNDbehind the holder although that could create vignetting issues, too. In terms of durability, the unit seemed pretty tough. The anodised aluminium parts should certainly wear better than plastic, but then I’ve got plastic holders I’ve had for 20 years that are still fine, so the benefit is debatable; I suppose the metal would fare better if crushed. There’s notmuch to break and repeated slotting in and out of filters didn’t seem to loosen the blades. How well the screws will wear with repeated use, it’s tough to say. Most interesting really is the price. Of course, as with almost all filter holders, you do need to add adapter rings at £5.95 a pop. It’s still a very affordable package though. KS

Verdict

The Elite lite filter holder would be a fine addition to any kit. It’s very affordable, so great for beginners or those on a budget. Handling is good bar some fiddliness in adapting the blades, but that’s common to all designs. There is some vignetting, so if you want to shoot wider than 18mmwith one, or 22mmwith two filters, you’ll need a bigger holder.

Pros Great value, adaptable, mounts and handles well Cons Some fiddliness; can’t shoot wider than 18mm (on full-frame)

Images For shooting at very wide angles without vignetting, the supplied screwdriver and four shorter screws means you can take off one filter slot. The process is best done in the calm of the indoors though.

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