The new NiSi 75mm system is here and we are more excited than we normally are about new products. Several of the major filter manufacturers already make smaller filter systems, including NiSi, which up until now also made a 70mm system. So what kind of difference does 5 millimeters make and why are we making such a big fuss about it?
Before you continue reading, you have to make a mental note to distinguish when I’m referring to the size of filter systems like 75mm, 100mm and 150mm, which is a measurement of the width of the filters which slot into the holder AND when I refer to each system’s compatibility with lens thread sizes like 67mm, 77mm and 82mm. E.g. the maximum lens thread size for the 100mm system (filters that are 100mm wide) is a lens with a filter thread of 82mm.
The reason that NiSi changed from a 70mm system to a 75mm system was to accommodate larger lens threads. The older 70mm system’s maximum lens size that it could be mounted to was 58mm. Unfortunately, there aren’t many wide angle lenses with such a small thread size, so it wasn’t very popular. Add several years of experience in manufacturing filter holders to 5mm of extra filter width and the result is a new 75mm filter system that can accommodate lenses two thread sizes larger – 67mm. This opens up a vast array of wide angle lenses from many different manufacturers that can be used with the new filter system.
It is not just the larger max thread size that is worth getting excited about…The M75 holder is the first in a new generation of holders from NiSi and it was designed from scratch using the customer feedback on their super popular 100mm V5 pro system.
- The new M75 system features a 67mm main adapter ring and the classic gear-operated ultra-thin independently rotating polariser. As with the larger system, the holder kit is now available in the standard or landscape CPL option.
- One of the new features is an additional safety lock above the normal catch-pin. Once locked, it gives you peace of mind knowing that there is no way the holder can detach from the adapter ring. Secondly, it allows you to lock your composition once you have carefully composed your graduated filter on the horizon.
- The guides into which the filters slot used to have a gap in the middle, which caused some irritation – If you inserted a filter while behind the camera, the filter could ‘catch’ the edge of that gap and then refuse to slide further down. You would then have to pause and make sure that you are pushing perfectly downwards. The guides are now continuous from top to bottom, eliminating this issue.
- The holder now features a lower profile rhombus design instead of the usual arching top – this makes it easier to insert the filters as there is less of a blind spot between the top edge of the holder and the filter slots.
These new features, combined with a complete redesign and much more sleek and modern look, means that the bigger 100mm system is now the ugly duckling in the lineup. Many manufacturers struggle to maintain precision and aesthetics when downsizing a system, but NiSi have really performed a stroke of grace in this instance.
Something exciting is coming to the 100mm system in the near future 😉
Still, why all the fuss about smaller filter systems?
The camera industry is hurtling forward at a blinding pace and one of the biggest trends is trying to downsize things in order to offer excellent image quality in a more affordable and portable package. Just look at how Fuji has exploded onto the market – five years ago they were one of the dinosaurs from the film days, now they are robbing Canon and Nikon of customers on a daily basis. Look at the Sony E system, Canon M, all the MFT offerings – people are flocking to the smaller systems en masse.
Many photographers are realising that if the primary utility of their photos is digital display, then the resolution of a crop, M3/4 or even smaller sensor like the Hauwei P20 smartphone is sufficient. Somehow the filter industry has been sort of asleep to this trend. What is the point of getting a more compact camera system if you have to mount the classic 100mm filter system on it? 100mm filter systems are simply too large for most of the new smaller camera systems like Fuji and Olympus.
Some of the manufacturers offer smaller systems, but offer virtually no difference in price compared to the 100mm system. That means that a decent filter set might cost as much as your camera, which seems unfair. That is where the NiSi’s M75 system will drop jaws.
- The M75 system offers Exactly the same H-K9L optical proglass that produces virtually no vignette or colour cast, at 43-48% of the price of its 100mm counterpart. All square filters are priced at R1299, end of story.
- The new M75 holder system is priced at R1699 with the standard CPL or R1999 for the Landscape CPL version. That includes the 67mm main adapter ring, 2-slot holder, a premium CPL AND a soft pouch that accommodates the holder system and up to 4 filters. We encourage you to do some price-shopping and look at competing brands.
- Additional adapter rings are available for just R199.
You can now purchase what is arguably the best filter holder system on the market for compact cameras, 3x premium square filters, a polarizer, storage case and even a spare adapter ring for under R6000. That is what you’ll pay for a 100mm holder system and one filter. R6000 doesn’t even buy a single S5 150mm holder system, nevermind the filters. The pricing of the M75 system comes close to those really crappy plastic magenta-monstrosity filter sets we all started with. You know – the ones gathering dust somewhere in a box in your spare bedroom closet?
NiSi have successfully slashed the price of premium filter systems by more than half for photographers using compact camera systems. This represents quite a monumental shift in the market.
What about size and weight?
As mentioned before, the primary draw with many of the smaller camera systems is greater portability. A decent 100mm kit takes up a sizable spot in a large backpack and clocks the scale at around 1kg. A decent 150mm kit comes close to 2kg’s and easily takes up 30-40% of a large backpack. Where does the new 75mm system fit in? A kit with holder system, CPL and 4 square filters weighs just 400g. The pouch measures about 10cm square, but it isn’t quite square. Basically, it’s just larger than a can of coke.
Which filters are available in the range?
Which wide angle lenses are compatible with the new M75 system?
Why is it not compatible with the Fuji 10-24mm lens?
The technical answer is simply because it has a 72mm filter thread, which puts it squarely in 100mm territory. Some of the manufacturer’s smaller systems do offer 72mm compatibility, but you lose so much focal length to vignetting that it is futile. Sadly, their engineers don’t take filter system compatibility into consideration, made obvious by the fact that their latest wide angle, although optically incredible, requires a 150mm system. While we have purchased stock of NiSi’s S5 system for the fujinon 8-16mm f/2.8, we believe that mounting a 150mm filter system on a Fuji XT camera goes against one of the key elements of why people switch to Fuji.
This problem is certainly not specific to Fuji – most of the manufacturers are disregarding filter system compatibility and designing their new ultra-wides for full frames in the fixed-hood, no-thread, bulbous-front-element format. Similarly, Nikon’s DX wide angle offering requires a 100mm filter system, which is simply too big for a DX size body. While it is our sincere hope that the lens engineers start taking this into consideration, that does not solve anyone’s problems right now. If you’re serious about landscape and seascape photography then you will require a filter system and if so, you always need to think carefully about which wide angle lens you choose. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but it is pointless getting a smaller camera system, but then buying a wide angle that requires an oversized filter system.
Choose your thread size wisely, and for the best 75mm filter system on the market, that size is now 67mm or lower.