NiSi Filters V5-PRO Review
Despite initial skepticism (mine included) NiSi Filters have become, without a doubt, a leader of the world photographic scene when it comes to photographic equipment.
Thanks to the quality of their filters and their V5 holder system, which has established a new standard in the sector, in recent years customers have overcome their prejudices against a Chinese product.
It seems impossible, right? Nevertheless, if you are reading this, it is probably because you are a happy owner of a NiSi Filters V5 holder, and the release of this new V5-PRO interests you very much.
Well, I admit it, it really interests me too. I asked myself: "How is it possible to improve something like the V5 that is already light years ahead of its competitors, that has been adored for years?"
Below you will find my personal response to this question.
Packaging and first impressions of V5-PRO
Like it or not, by now we are used to products that give the user an experience from the moment you pick up the package.
NiSi Filters do not disappoint with the V5-PRO, presenting us with the same compact and neat packaging as the V5.
The contents of the packaging also remains identical to the V5 and therefore superior to the equipment of all other holders in the market. In the V5-PRO kit we find:
- Rigid casing
- V5-PRO Holder
- Adaptor rings from 67mm to 82mm
- Polarizing filter
- Manuals for Usage and Maintenance.
We immediately notice that the same care and detail in the packaging has been applied to the product, in both the choice of materials and the craft.
The holder and the rings are produced in aeronautic aluminum: extremely durable and light. The hard case gives an impression of sturdiness, and is surely the best option to protect our equipment once in a backpack.
The polarizer is the same as the one included in the V5 and is therefore already a better version than the excellent polarizer included in the V3 kit: thanks to Nitto's special polarizing film applied to the Scott optical lens, it is possible to achieve a grade of superior polarization up to 99%!
But what is the hype about this V5-PRO? Let's discover together.
What's new about V5-PRO
If there is one thing that I literally love in a company, it is the capacity to listen to its clients. I have dealt with landscape photography and photographic filters for over 10 years, and spent the first eight years using products from much more famous manufacturers than NiSi before changing to NiSi two years ago.
During the years before NiSi, I sent at least a dozen "technical bulletins" suggesting modifications or new products for which I felt the need. Responses received: zero.
After having used NiSi Filters holders for around one year, I tried to do the same with them, and surprisingly straightaway I received a response. "We'll work on your list, thank you!". An automated response? Perhaps.
However, after pretty much the same requests were sent by the photographic community, after just a year, NiSi Filters has released this upgrade of the V5 kit. If you are wondering what improvements the V5 needed, this is my opinion in brief:
- Insertion of filters: I might have been unlucky, but the insertion of filters in the slot was not the easiest of operations. What contributed to this problem was that it was a new product that, like a new pair of shoes, needs some wearing-in. Also, the slots were made of a non-rigid plastic material, and therefore, during assembly, the fitting screws would compress the slots. (You have a V5 and it is "hard"? Suggestion: lightly unscrew the screws with a screwdriver! Not too much; stop after half a turn.)
- Protection against light leakages: honestly I have never had problems of this sort, not even testing the Black Hole (ND of 20 stops), but the slim profile of the holder could in some cases encourage light leakages.
- Assembly/disassembly of the polarizer: although I always keep it on (because I can't find a reason not to) assembly and disassembly could be rather complicated without leaving some fingerprints and the operation can be quite hard if you are doing it with gloves in the cold.
The V5-PRO holder implements some technical improvements to avoid the above "problems".
Regarding the insertion of filters, the slot system was completed rethought. The slots are longer, and the classic concertina for keeping them in position has been completely removed. Now there is a support system implemented with a three-point guide that make the filter sliding incredibly smooth. The filter is then held in position by a compression system between one guide point and another. It is really ingenious.
The profile of the holder has been lightly increased, and now wraps the filter completely without need of unnecessary added components with difficult installation and doubtful utility (See Formatt…), making any light leakage improbable, even in the more difficult lighting conditions.
Finally, the installation platform of the polarizing filter has been raised a few micrometers, offering a practical outlet point for installation and also removal, even wearing light gloves, and without affecting vignetting which does not occur up to 16mm focal lenses full-frame. Simply fantastic, especially for those like me who use the holder in the cold and frost.
Although at first I did not understand why NiSi Filters had decided to release a V5 and V5-PRO, now everything is clearer. The V5-PRO holder does not in fact represent a total re-vamp or a new product, but an evolution, implementing some improvements for more discerning professional photographers.
The product is of superb quality and its cost is just a little more expensive than the V5, making it a very appealing choice not only to those approaching NiSi Filters holders for the first time, but also for those who feel the need for an upgrade from the V5 version.
NiSi Filters once more show themselves to be a company of photographers for photographers, and the competitors without a doubt have a new product to try to copy.