Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash
I’ve been a filter fan since the days I cut my teeth on B&W film photography and we never left the house without a set of filters for changing contrast.
If you remember using screw-in red, yellow, orange, and light green filters, let me know. Drop-in filters for ND, GND, and Polarizers are in my current gear bag for serious photography.
What Is A Drop-In Filter?
We’re using the term to describe a set of filters that fits into a filter holder system. A filter holder system consists of the holder, which often holds 2 or 3 filters at a time, lens adapters to attach to each size lens, and then the filters themselves, round, square, and rectangular.
Above, you can see an example of the H&Y K-Series Holder.
(To avoid confusion, there is another type of drop-in filter that is part of the mechanism of certain super telephoto lenses, but they only work on those giant lenses that cost more than some cars.)
In this photo, you see one way how H&Y drop-in filters filters drop into the filter holder:
So then, what are the advantages of drop-in filters?
One of the benefits of drop-in filters is the convenience of only needing one of each type of specialty filters for all of your lenses. With multiple lens adapters, you can quickly change the filter holder from one lens to the other.
The H&Y K-Series Holder has lens adapters in sizes from 67mm to 82mm. The holder and many of the filters are magnetic, making attaching the filters an extremely simple and rapid process.
Since the only part that actually needs duplication is the lens adapter, the filters for the filter holder system are also convenient to store properly to avoid scratches and be easy to get out of your bag.
High quality filters are an investment, but since you don’t need to duplicate any filters, you can choose to invest in different types of filters instead. With the H&Y Filter Holder system, for instance, there are around 18 different filter types currently available including graduated neutral density (GND) filters.
In addition to the fine optical quality of these filters, the materials used for the frames and for the holder itself are heavy duty and quite durable, adding to the value of these drop-in filters for photography.
One of the two greatest advantages of drop-in filters is the ability to stack filters in order to use multiple filters at once.
First off, a filter holder system makes it simple to add filters together since all you do is slide them in or attach magnetically as in the H&Y K-Series filters.
Secondly, since you are using a wide filter holder with large filters, you avoid the problem of vignetting that occurs when stacking screw-in filters.
Precise Filter Positioning
The other major advantage of filter holders and drop-in filters is the ability to place the transition area of GND filters in the exact position needed for the image you’re making. While looking through the viewfinder on the viewscreen, simply move the GND in the holder until you see the desired effect.
Above, you can see what that looks like in action.
The magnetic system of the H&Y K-Series makes this an exceptionally simple operation, but it also works well with non magnetic filters that fit the filter holder.
Since the drop-in filter holder system is a convenient and cost effective filtration method, this allows you to try out different specialty filters.
A couple of excellent specialty filters from H&Y are the 5-Stop ND & Polarizer filter combination and their center graduated neutral density filters.These two filters solve specific problems of tricky exposure situations in a unique way. With the drop-in filter system system, use of these filters is simple and convenient.
I can’t wait to see what else they introduce for the H&Y K-Series magnetic filter holder system.