James Abbott looks at some of the best filter holder options available

If you’re serious about landscape photography, you’ll need some drop-in filters and filter holders.

It’s important that with glass filters being fragile items you’ll need a filter pouch or case, preferably with enough room to fit your holder.

Dust and dirt can also easily build up in the slots of a filter holder. Keep it clean and your filters will slide/fit into the holder effortlessly every time.

Some of the best filter holders come with more than one slot, allowing you to stack filters together. Three slots is the average for most holders.

Amateur Photographer rounds up some of the best holder accessories available.


Formatt-Hitech Firecrest 100mm Holder Kit

Formatt Hitech Firecrest 100mm holder kit

At a glance:

  • Price: £129
  • Website: www.formatt-hitech.com
  • Polariser: Yes
  • Adapter rings: 67, 72 & 77mm
  • Case: Deluxe pouch
  • Material: Aluminium/plastic
  • Filter slots: 2
  • Weight: 229g

Formatt-Hitech is a UK-based filter manufacturer offering a number of products for photographers. The Firecrest 100mm Holder Kit is pretty much everything you need in a filter holder. All you need to get shooting is an ND grad or an ND filter, so at just £129 this kit is excellent value for money.

The aluminium holder features two plastic filter slots with a gasket around the lens opening. The holder attaches to a rotating ring that holds the polarising filter, which can be rotated using a geared wheel on the side. This ring attaches to a smaller step-up ring that fixes to your lens.

In the box you get the holder, polarising filter, rotating adapter ring, three step-up adapter rings, end caps to help eliminate light leakage and a deluxe pouch. The foam gasket around the holder opening is ideal when using Formatt-Hitech ND filters, but may be problematic if using an ND with its own gasket from another manufacturer. It’s worth noting that the back slot is a tight fit for any filter.

If shooting with an ultra wideangle lens, you’ll need to buy a shallower, rotating adapter ring to avoid vignetting, although a tiny amount is visible at 16mm. But even with this additional purchase at £29 it’s still an excellent price for what you get.

SCORE: 4 out of 5


Lee Filters Foundation Kit

Lee Filters Foundation kit

At a glance:

  • Price: £59
  • Website: www.leefilters.com
  • Polariser: No
  • Adapter rings: No
  • Case: Basic pouch
  • Material: Precision injection moulded polymer
  • Filter slots: 3
  • Weight: 135g

There’s no doubt that UK-based Lee Filters is the best-known name in filters, but snapping at its heels are a number of competitors producing filter holders and filters to rival this classic brand. The Lee Filters Foundation Kit is exactly what it says on the tin – the basic holder itself and nothing else. Alongside the kit you’ll also need to purchase a separate adapter ring to fit your lens – the Lee Wide Angle Adaptor Ring (77mm) costs £47, which ultimately takes the price of the filter holder up to £106.

Lee filter holders are a solid piece of kit made from resin and plastic, with a metal spring-loaded clip to attach it firmly to the adapter ring. When the two connect you can be confident they won’t come apart easily, which is reassuring – especially when using glass filters.

In the box you get the holder, a basic material pouch to protect the holder, and an additional filter slot and screws to expand the holder from two to three filter slots. Unfortunately, there’s no polarising filter included as there is in some of the other kits, and the Lee 105mm Front Holder Ring and Lee Circular Polariser 105mm Rotating Glass Filter will set you back a further £249, making this an expensive basic holder. Overall, this is a quality lightweight holder, but you can get a lot more for your money with some of the other options.

SCORE: 3 out of 5


Nisi V5 Pro 100mm Filter Holders

Nisi V5 Pro 100mm filter holder

At a glance:

Nisi filters, and filter holders, are relatively new to the filter market, but have exploded onto the scene with high-quality products at competitive prices. The Nisi offering is actually similar to that of the Firecrest in terms of design, materials and what you get in the kit. However, the Nisi has one extra filter slot, comprising three rather than two, and no foam gasket on the holder to block light so any ND filters can be used with the holder without potential for damage.

The Nisi V5 Pro is an aluminium holder with three plastic filter slots. The holder attaches to a rotating ring that holds the polarising filter, which can be rotated using a geared wheel on the side. This ring attaches to a smaller step-up ring that attaches to your lens.

The polariser works well, but one quirk is that rotating it can tighten it in the adapter ring, making it fiddly to remove later. The designs of the Firecrest and Wine Country polarisers don’t suffer this small problem.

In the box you get the holder, polarising filter, rotating adapter ring and three step-up rings. There’s a deluxe case available too for £50 as illustrated. It’s a compelling offering that works well with any 100mm filters. Nisi filters can be purchased in the UK directly from the UK distributor Phil Norton.

SCORE: 5 out of 5


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Wine Country Camera 100mm Holder Kit

Wine Country Camaera 100mm holder kit

At a glance:

  • Price: £425
  • Website: www.winecountry.camera
  • Polariser: Yes
  • Adapter rings: No
  • Case: Clamshell
  • Material: Aluminium, rosewood, brass and plastic
  • Filter slots: 3
  • Weight: 390g

There are very few times you’ll see filter holders and think ‘Wow!’, but with the Wine Country Camera 100mm Holder Kit you’ll be blown away. With unrivalled craftsmanship and steampunk-esque design, this aluminium, rosewood and brass filter holder is something truly special – although this comes at a high price compared to the competition.

This system is different from the others in that you put 100x100mm or 150x100mm filters in ‘vaults’. These are surrounds that make filters from any manufacturer work with the system. Individual vaults cost £37 each, and adapter rings to attach to the holder to a lens are £55 each.

At 16mm there is vignetting, which doesn’t disappear until you zoom in to 20mm. So if you own a 16mm or 17mm ultra-wideangle you unfortunately won’t be able to shoot at the widest focal length. The holder features a recessed slot specifically for ND filters, and the polariser mechanism is the best of all holders in the test.

The main downsides to the Wine Country Camera filter holder is the prohibitive cost compared to competitors, and the weight. While it’s not going to cause problems when shooting, if you’re trekking to a remote location a few hundred grams saved here and there can make a real difference. That said, it really is a beautiful piece of kit featuring superb craftsmanship and solid handling.

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5


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