Andy Westlake tests Manfrotto Xume magnetic filter adapters

Manfrotto Xume magnetic filter adapters at a glance:

  • Two-part adapter system
  • Available in eight sizes (49mm to 82mm)
  • Price £9.95-£42.90
  • Website www.manfrotto.co.uk

Sometimes an idea comes along that’s so elegant you wonder why nobody thought of it before. But of all such bright ideas, Manfrotto’s Xume magnetic quick release system for circular lens filters has to go right to the top of the list.

The concept is strikingly simple. It’s a two-part adapter system, comprising a magnetised ring that screws onto the front of the lens, and a steel adapter that screws onto the back of the filter. This then allows the filter to be attached and detached instantly by the force of magnetism. If you’ve ever spent a freezing winter morning fumbling around trying to screw a circular polariser or neutral density filter into your lens, the attraction shouldn’t be hard to grasp.

What’s more, it really works. Both lens and filter adapters are nicely made, and the magnets are sufficiently strong to ensure they fix together firmly, while making sure the filter is still easy to remove when required. It’s extremely well thought out.

Xume adapters can be bought either individually or as kits, in eight sizes ranging from 49mm to 82mm. Filter adapters cost around £10-£13 depending on size, while lens adapters range from £25 to £30, and buying them together as a pair brings a small saving. There’s also a magnetic lens cap for £14, but currently only in 77mm.

So what’s the catch? I suspect seasoned filter users will have guessed already; the twin adapters add about 6mm to the overall depth of the set-up, similar to a conventional UV filter. This brings a risk of vignetting with any lens that usually requires a slimline filter, most obviously wideangles. So it’s wise to test this with your lenses first before buying. The easiest way to do this is simply screw a UV filter onto your lens then add your polariser or effects filters, and take some pictures of an evenly-lit wall at a smallish aperture of around f/11 to see whether the combination vignettes. Even then, the Xume system is so convenient that this might be a price worth paying.

SCORE: 5 out of 5