Upgrading my Kase K8 holder to the new K9 holder – How has it helped?
I am a landscape and nature photographer based in Perthshire, Scotland. My true passion lies in portraying the unique beauty of trees and woodlands throughout the seasons in addition to capturing the wild and rugged landscapes of Scotland.
I consider photographic filters to be an essential part of my kit, and routinely use them to control the light whilst in the field.
After testing the Kase Wolverine 100mm filter range some years ago I was really impressed. I found the filters to be robust, easy to clean, neutral of any colour casts, and I liked the ease of use of the magnetic polariser. I subsequently made the switch from Lee filters to Kase.
I recently acquired the new Kase K9 100mm holder kit and was asked to give my thoughts. Previously I used the K8 holder, which I liked in many ways….it was tough, lightweight, it attached securely to the lens and gave you peace of mind that once attached, it would not come off accidentally if knocked (unlike the original Lee filter holder) and it was paired with a magnetic polariser, which could be attached instantly (no fiddly screw-on filter to deal with).
However, personally, I found a few minor niggles with the K8 holder.
I often shoot in transient lighting conditions when the light is changing rapidly and setting up quickly is essential in order to ‘catch the light’.
I found when requiring to attach the holder in a hurry, it could sometimes be quite tricky as it requires to be placed at exactly the right angle to the adapter ring in order to allow the securing knob to be tightened. I sometimes struggled to attach it first time (especially in low light) as there were no guides to help with alignment.
Another minor irk was that I found the magnetic polariser (which attaches securely via a magnet to the lens adapter ring) difficult to remove, as it lies flush with the adapter ring, and finding the edge to lift it was quite tricky.
Additionally, it was reported that some users found that when using the holder with extreme wide- angle lenses, such as a 14-35mm (on a full-frame camera) that slight vignetting was occurring.
Following user feedback Kase have addressed this issue and also some of the minor niggles that I found with the K8, and redesigned the holder in the form of the K9 version.
The following adjustments have been made:
1. The polariser has been made larger (from 86mm to 90mm) which now eliminates any vignetting.
2. Two white ‘guide arrows’ have been added to facilitate easier holder attachment.
3. Two notches have been made in the holder to allow easier removal of the polariser.
4. The polariser scroll wheel has been enlarged.
5. The securing knob is now ‘rapid turn’ which now secures/allows removal with fewer turns.
6. The holder is now slightly lighter and more ergonomic.
As with the K8 kit, the K9 kit comes with a magnetic polariser, two geared lens adapter rings, two step rings and two sets of guide rails (so that an extra slot can be added if required).
I have been out shooting quite a few times now with the K9 holder and already I am noticing a difference and benefitting from the improvements over the K8 version.
Firstly, I am finding that it is much quicker to remove/attach than its predecessor, especially during transient lighting when time is of the essence.
The two white guide arrows which are marked on the rear of the holder are really useful, especially when attaching the holder in low light. The adapter is slotted into the holder next to the guides, then placed flush to the adapter ring, the securing knob turned, and voila, quick and simple!
The securing knob now only requires a small turn, whereas before you had to turn it a few times for release/to secure.
Another improvement, which makes use a lot easier, is the two notches that have been added to the holder to facilitate easier removal of the magnetic polariser.
The magnet is quite strong (which gives peace of mind that it will not detach) so the addition of notches on the K9 holder make a welcome adjustment as it is now really easy to find the edge of the polariser to gently lift it from the holder.
I use a polariser for some of my landscape work, especially to help minimise haze, and also for some woodland and waterfall scenes to help remove some of the harsh reflections off the rocks and foliage and intensify the colours.
The magnetic polariser is fantastic, and takes a mere second to attach securely at the rear of the holder.
One point to bear in mind, as the polariser attaches to the rear of the holder it must be attached before any other filters. I normally hold the polariser up to my eye first to see if the scene warrants its use before deciding to attach.
The enlarged polariser scroll wheel also makes a difference when subtle adjustment is required, especially when wearing gloves.
Kase are an up-and-coming company which are run by photographers for photographers are very much customer focussed. Their products have been receiving some excellent reviews online and I find that they offer first-class customer service (another reason for making the switch to use their products).
Following user feedback the vignetting problems with the K8 holder were addressed (along with some of the usability ‘niggles’ that I found) and the K9 version was produced, which for me, is a marked improvement on the K8 and makes a big difference when in the field, especially when the light is changing rapidly and those few seconds make all the difference between capturing or missing the shot.
I normally use only one or two filters in combination, for example an ND and a grad, but on rare occasions when filtering a very tricky lighting scene, or requiring a really long exposure I have found the need use 3 (such as two NDs and a grad) so the ability to adapt the holder to allow an extra slot is welcome.
If you currently use the K8 holder and don’t use any extreme wide-angle lenses and are happy with the usability, then I wouldn’t necessarily upgrade just for the sake of it. The K8 is still a great holder in its own right, but for me, and the way I work, I prefer the K9 version.
Nicky Goodfellow is a Kase UK partner and landscape photographer based in Scotland.
“I love landscape photography, it’s my true passion in life. I enjoy nothing better than being outdoors up a mountain, by the sea, or in the middle of a forest trying to capture the most amazing scenes that mother nature provides. I was born and live in Scotland and the scenery is stunning in all seasons, as is the abundance of wildlife. Never to be taken for granted.”