Haida M10 – Review by Duncan Cauchi
Author: Duncan Cauchi
During the last quarter of 2018 I was invited to join the ever-growing family of Haida as a brand ambassador. Honestly, I was a little bit skeptical to accept in the beginning because I had a working solution of filters and holders from different brands which I used for more than five years that I was happy with, giving me satisfactory results nearly every time.
Last January I conducted a workshop in the Scottish Isle of Skye where Haida, in their own goodwill, sent me two kits of their new M10 Filter holder system together with two slip-in polarizers, two slip-in 10 stop, and two 1.2 soft grad Red Diamond to test with. The first thing that caught my interest was the overall presentation and delivery of the product. The presentation box and filter hardcase of the M10 instantly gives you an overall feel of high professionalism, attention to detail and well-executed design, keeping the photographer’s true needs.
The M10 adapter ring is good for all lenses and doesn’t create a vignette at all when using the range of lenses fitting the 100mm system, especially when compared to other brands having different adapter rings for different lenses. This is particularly evident when using an ultrawide angle lens such as 15mm lenses, very commonly found inside a Landscape photographer’s bag.
While on the field the first thing that intrigued me is the ease of use of the M10 while wearing thick gloves. The red filter holder release lever can be easily gripped with a pair of mountain gloves and can be mounted and unmounted without having to take the gloves off.
The next thing I was eager to test was the colour cast the filter produces. I used the Haida Drop-in 10stop, and two other 10stop from different brands in order to compare with in terms of Colour levels. The three images below are the result of 130sec f/8 exposures. The first image (far left) was shot with 10stop Drop-in Haida which in my opinion has no colour cast and gives an accurate exposure. The second exposure (middle) from brand ‘X’ has a blue cast and is underexposed with a heavy vignette whereas the third exposure (far right) from brand ‘Y’ delivers a fairly good exposure however casting a slight tint of magenta. What is even more beneficial with Haida is that when compared with other competitor manufacturers labeled as ‘X’ and ‘Y’, Haida drop-in filter system is the cheapest hence making it cost-effective and reachable by everyone in the field.
In my camera bag, I normally keep two different brands of filter holders, one for normal ND use and the other just in case I need to use a Circular Polarizer CPL. It would be ideal if I only required one. The reason is because one brand has a great and easy-to-use filter holder yet suffering from heavy light leakage when installing a polarizer at the front (brand ‘X’) whereas brand ‘Y’ has the CPL on the inside mounted directly on the lens ring. The latter doesn’t have any light leakage issues at all, nonetheless, it has the disadvantage that if I need to remove the polarizer I have to go through the arduous process of removing the filter holder, unscrew the filter ring, removing the polarizer, and then put everything back on, which by then I would have lost my composition and the right moment. The M10 eliminates this problem completely, since the polarizer fits closest to the lens, and is integrated into the filter holder. The Drop-in is the most convenient and the fastest way to change a filter. The M10 Kit also includes an empty Drop-in filter frame together with the Drop-in CPL which can be useful in case the photographer needs to use only the slide in filters like Red Diamond 10stop and/or Soft Grad ND 1.2 eliminating any light leakage issues when not using the CPL or any other drop-in.
Finally, I tested the durability of the red diamond 1.2 ND Soft grad. I dropped it once intentionally on the rocks and two other times unintentionally and it is still intact and unscratched. It can definitely hold up to its reputation.
After this venture to the Isle of Skye together with the Haida M10 System, I can proudly say that I found a filter system that is designed and built to fit all the needs of a landscape photographer in great detail featuring the most innovative engineering and design for us photographers.
Thank you, Haida for designing it and making our passion more enjoyable.