Following on from my reviews of the Nisi V3 filter system and filters, I've got my hands on a few more Nisi goodies to test...
Nisi 100mm filter holder system V5 (pictured centre)
The new Nisi V5 filter system follows hot on the heels of the V3 system which I reviewed here a few months ago. I'm not sure what happened to the V4 but the new system is very much an update of the last one so, if it's ok with you, rather than repeat myself by reviewing the whole system again I'll just deal with the updates and send those of you who are new to this system to read the original reviews here and here.
Ok, all caught up? Both parts? excellent let's begin. In actual fact the contents of the V5 are virtually identical to the V3; the same 82mm adaptor, same excellent polariser, same set of adaptor rings and you've guessed it, the filter holder is... different. Taking on board comments from photographers who tested the original, holder, Nisi have moved the release pin from the awful position at the top, to a more convenient one at the side. A small change which makes a big difference in use. It's now much easier to take the holder on and off the adaptor ring. The holder also seems to be a more solid construction with the foam insert present on the V3 becoming a single piece of aluminium on the V5.
In use I found the 82mm adaptor screwed on to the adaptor rings far more freely than previously but whether that has been improved or it was just my imagination I'm not sure. I still find the need for two adaptor rings a bit fiddly but I suspect it could be possible to leave the step-up adaptor ring on the lens and use an 82mm lens cap, then it would just be a case of swapping the main 82mm adaptor between lenses which would be a definite improvement. Unfortunately I don't have one to hand to test that theory but I'll keep you posted.
The V5 however is a step in the right direction and although the hardware itself has only minor changes I'm impressed with Nisi's desire to keep improving their product by listening to our comments.
They have been busy in other areas as well. The packaging has been improved with a quality feel to replace the vacuum formed plastic used previously. This new system also comes in a very nice leather effect case, embossed with the Nisi logo on the magnetically secured front flap. The contents are easily accessible from the 3 padded compartments in which they are neatly organised and round the back is a belt loop. It's perhaps a little bulky for my crammed camera bag but it's very well made and compliments the quality of the product inside.
Nisi 100mm filter case (pictured left)
FInished to match the holder case, in a retro tan coloured leather effect with the Nisi logo embossed in the bottom corner, this is certainly a smart looking filter case and beneath the leather look, the holder is a hard plastic case with a felt lining inside the lid and is clearly designed to give your filters plenty of protection.
Open the magnetic catch, flip up the lid and inside there are slots to hold six 100mm wide filters. The case is designed so that with the lid open 100x150mm filters stick out about 15mm, just enough to get hold of so the filters can be easily slid in and out. However that would obviously mean that 100mm square filters would be difficult to reach. To over come that problem the case is supplied with six plastic inserts that slide in before the 100mm filter to raise it to the same heigh as a 150mm filter.
So, having established that this thing looks good and offers a good level of protection, how is it in use?
Well first impressions aren't great because the first thing you notice after filling the case with filters is that they rattle noisily in the plastic slots, not the end of the world but a bit annoying. In use the filters slide easily in and out of the slots which is great but as they are all the same height, the filters in the middle slots are rather fiddly to get hold off. Similarly the filters in the rear couple of slots can be tricky to get in and out without hitting them on the lid or catch unless you push the lid all the way back which could weaken the plastic hinge.
I should point out that when I'm out shooting landscapes and the light is at it's best I'm often frantically changing lenses and switching filters as I move between different compositions to make the most of the conditions so it's handy to be able to have my hands free to be able to use both hands to access my filter wallet. I usually have mine hanging by a strap over my shoulder and across my body. Unfortunately the Nisi case doesn't have any provision for a strap or even a belt loop like the case for the filter holder itself has and being a hard finish case it wouldn't be easy to DIY fit one.
Not a glowing review so far, not in practical terms anyway but it's not all bad. While it may not be well suited to my needs for a landscape filter case, not least because it's too smart for the muddy environments I often find myself in, that doesn't mean it won't suit everybody and indeed it's ideal for my travel kit which doesn't get such heavy use. For travelling I carry a Fuji X-Pro1 and a couple of prime lenses in a small Think Tank Retro bag and both physically and aesthetically the Nisi fits perfectly.
Nisi filter cleaner system
This is clever. It's clearly more clever than me because with the packaging entirely in Chinese it took me a while to figure out quite what to do with it but it turned out to be a brilliant little gadget. Tucked away inside this white plastic case small enough to fit in the palm of your hand is a filter cleaning system and very effective it is too.
Remove the lid and out pops a square cleaning pad made of what looks like the same kind of carbon stuff used on a lens pen. Using the remaining half of the case as a handle, wipe the pad over the filter and it removes everything from fingerprints to sea spray. Stubborn marks take a bit of rubbing but it quickly gets filters clean and smear free. The cleaning pad is on a sprung swivel arm so it stays flat on the filter as you wipe and when you're done folds neatly back into the case. Each pad lasts about 150 uses and the kit comes with a spare.