Photography News 90 Newsletter

First test

PRICE: £209


With a graduated neutral density area at each end, the innovative Kase Double GND filter could save you money and bulk, without any compromise on creativity Kase Double GND0.9S&H

A TRADITIONAL GRADUATE filter is half-toned, half-transparent, with a gradual or sudden tonal change. A gradual transition is called soft, while a sharp tonal charge is hard, with medium offered by a few filter brands. Take a ruler to a typical 100x150mm grad filter, measuring from the base of the clear area, and tonality starts around 75-80mm, roughly halfway, with the same amount of clear area. In use, this means you can slide the filter up and down in the holder to position the graduated area where needed, typically over the brighter sky, leaving the darker foreground unaffected. Most of the time, not a great deal of adjustment is required, unless you’re going for a composition with a very dominant sky, or a deep, expansive foreground. If you’re a regular filter user, none of this will be news to you. However, the Kase Double GND is different. It does

what it says on the tin: you get a toned area at both ends of the filter. For this test, we had a Double GND that was a 3EV (0.9) hard grad at one end, and a 3EV soft ND grad at the other. You just use the end that’s needed. The Double GND 0.9M&R is 3EV medium and 3EV reverse, so if you bought both, you’d have a full set of 3EV grad NDs in two filters, not four, saving weight and cash. Buy individual Kase 0.9EV hard ND and 0.9EV soft ND filters, and they cost £292. With this filter costing £209, the saving is £83. Currently, double grads are 3EV, but 2EV versions are possible future arrivals. You might think there would be the risk of a conflict, with both toned areas impinging on the picture, especially shooting vertical composition. For example, you’d position the toned area over the sky as usual, and the opposing toned area would darken some foreground, giving an unwanted uneven effect. This is unlikely to be an issue with standard or telephoto lenses, but there is a risk with wide-angles when shooting vertical format shots. Of course, there are variables at play. The wider and/ or faster the lens, the greater the risk, as well as the composition itself. When going for a big foreground and a tiny slither of bright sky, moving the filter up in the holder to control the sky might bring the lower toned area into frame. All that said, I didn't have any issues. I used it with wide-angles, including Fujifilm X Series and GFX medium format lenses, and Nikon and Laowa full-frame lenses. If you want a double grad with a fast ultra-wide, check compatibility on Kase’s website before

COLOUR-NEUTRAL, FLARE-FREE RESULTSARE DELIVERED buying. I thought the most likely lens to give me problems would have been the medium format GF23mm f/4, which is an equivalent 18mm in the 35mm format and has an 82mm filter thread. In the event, it was fine for vertical compositions, even when the horizon was aligned to the top third. Go beyond that and I could see the bottom grad area creeping into shot, but that’s quite an unusual composition. Kase uses Wolverine B270 toughened glass for its filters. In a previous test, we dropped a Kase filter from standing height on to concrete with no ill effects. Colour-neutral, flare-free results are delivered, thanks to Kase’s nano coatings, which are dirt- and water- repellent, and scratch-resistant. WC

THE CASE FORKASE A selection of ND grad filters (below) showing how the Kase differs. (From left to right) Lee Filters 0.9ND medium; Kase Double GND 0.9S&H with hard grad at the top; Benro 0.9ND; and Lee Filters 0.9ND very hard. The Kase Double GND design means you can use either end and still attain grad filter results

SPECS ›  Price £209 ›  Availability

Double GND 0.9S&H: 3EV soft ND and 3EV hard ND Double GND 0.9M&R: 3EV medium ND and 3EV reverse ND ›  Size 100x150mm ›  Thickness 2mm ›  Glass Kase Wolverine – B270 toughened glass ›  Coating Kase nano coating › Contact

INTHE FIELD This is the Kase Double GND held in a Lee Filters holder, attached to a medium format Fujifilm 23mm f/4 lens – this lens gives a 35mm format equivalent of 18mm. In this case, the filter’s working area is positioned to tone down the sky – and the bottom toned area is not affecting the foreground. The metallic reflective look is due to the filter’s nano coating

Verdict Kase has hit on a great idea with its two-filters-in-one double grad, which could potentially save money and a little weight. The Double GND 0.9S&H worked very well with the lenses I tried, and the filter is undoubtedly a very fine optical performer. It’s super tough, too, so should deliver long, sterling service. PROS Money-saving, convenient, optical quality, suits wide-angle lenses CONS Nothing



DELICATE TOUCH Showing the Kase Double GND 0.9S&H in action. On the left, it’s the soft-toned area positioned to darken the sky, while on the right, it is the hard area in use. In both instances, you can see that the bottom toned area is out of shot

34 Photography News | Issue 90

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