When I started using slot-in filters for landscape photography, there were very few alternatives. Many like me certainly started using Cokin holders and filters, but soon they realized the bad quality and so they saved to buy Lee holders and filters, particularly expensive despite the low quality (but at the time it was the only real alternative) and that today represent an outdated technology. Fortunately with time the technology advances and some companies have had the courage to present themselves on a market that seemed reserved for a few. Among these we can certainly mention NiSi that over time has introduced on the market innovative products for this industry, with filters and filter holders of unexpectedly high quality since the first version and introducing for the first time the concept of optical quality in a world dominated by plastic, resin filters, loss of sharpness and color casts.
By focusing on the world of filter holders, NiSi has really changed the system: it was first introduced the use of aeronautical aluminum as a base material to replace the plastic offered by all other manufacturers. It also placed the polarizer before the holder: this was a real revolution. This in fact allowed to say goodbye to the very expensive 105mm polarizers, making the overall system of higher quality, more compact and less expensive.
The idea was so brilliant that at least three or four other companies began to offer products trying to emulate NiSi, but as always there are always those who trace the way and those who follow it late.
For this reason, at a time when everyone is trying to chase the success of the V5PRO holder, NiSi introduces the new V6 filter holder on the market.
Packaging and unboxing the new NiSi V6 holder
NiSi has spoiled us: since the moment we take the packaging of a NiSi product into our hands, we have immediately had a perception of quality and attention to details. The NiSi filter holder makes no difference: a beautiful package that anticipates a very rich equipment.
In fact, as soon as we remove from the box the content we are in front of:
- Filter Holder
- 82mm Main Adapter Ring
- 77mm, 72mm and 67mm adapter rings
- Landscape Polarizer filter
- Filter bag
- Use and maintenance manual
This is not a real novelty, as NiSi has accustomed us to this kind of equipment since the V5 version. Considering the sale price, it really makes me smile to think of when I paid the same amount to Lee to have only the holder and one ring.
When we take each element in hand, the first thought goes to the build quality. In particular, the main holder and all the rings are made once again in aeronautical aluminum: light but giving an incredible sense of solidity.
Included in the package we find the Landscape Polarizer. Although very thin and with a diameter of only 86mm, we have already seen it in THIS review its potential that certainly do not make us regret the expensive 105mm polarizers that we were used to mounting on the old Lee holders.
The real revolution of NiSi was in fact to design a system in which the polarizer could be mounted on the adapter ring just after the lens, and not on the holder right after the filter slots. This means that the system can be more compact, cheaper and safer in its use (because the last element exposed to damage will no longer be a 105mm polarizer costing several hundred euros …)
As we can see, the rich equipment includes a set of adapter rings that allow installing the NiSi V6 on all threaded lenses from 82mm to 67mm included, with the possibility to buy additional adapter rings to allow the installation of the filter holder on lenses with smaller diameters. (For larger diameters, remember that there is the NiSi S5 holder).
Comfortable and of high quality also the included bag, that allows carrying safely our Holder and all the accessories included. I prefer to use the new soft bag but when I have to put my equipment in the luggage that maybe ends up in the hold of an airplane, the hard bag included is really priceless. (I also remind you that if you want a hard carrying solution for filters and holders together, you will find the NiSi All-In-One case).
Also nice is the included manual that shows us not only how to mount everything correctly, but also how to use it and how to maintain it. Of course, with the information that can be found on the Internet may seem superfluous, but it is always good to have a handy guide because as we know in many of our photographic destinations the connection to the Internet is the last thing we can expect to find.
So far for many of you nothing new, because these will seem new to you only if you are new to the world of slot-in filters or if you were using filter systems from other manufacturers.
So let’s go and see the new features introduced by the NiSi V6 compared to the “old” V5PRO.
New features of the new NiSi V6
NiSi has already been a leader in the world of slot-in filters and holders for years and the innovations introduced in its V5 PRO holder place it well over a step ahead of the competition’s products. So why improve an already great product?
One thing I love about NiSi is the ability to listen to its photographers and not to sit on their laurels, and for this reason, in recent years NiSi has collected and evaluated the many feedbacks received to offer us the new V6 holder.
The main improvements introduced by the new NiSi V6 can be summarized as follows:
- New holder shape: the V5PRO holder had taken a step forward in protecting against light infiltration compared to the V5 version. The result in this aspect was excellent. Nevertheless, several photographers have complained about the difficulty of inserting (and above all removing) an ND filter once a GND filter has been installed. For this reason, NiSi has redesigned the filter holder, appropriately shaping the corners to allow the same protection against light infiltration but allowing the insertion and removal of ND filters without complications. Honestly, only this feature is worth the purchase to me as I am long exposures lover.
- Holder rotation lock: as you know, the filter holder of the V5PRO and any previous model is free to rotate on the adaptor ring. This is absolutely necessary as it allows us to adapt the angle of the GND filter according to the landscape in front of us. As it may have happened to you, however, during the phases of insertion or removal of a filter, it takes very little to lose the position we selected. For this reason, NiSi has inserted a second knob just below the one that engages/disengages the holder on the adaptor ring. Screwing it on will lock the angle of the holder in the position in which it’s set. Really great if like me you replace quite often filters during the shooting, especially the NDs!
- Adaptor ring profile: another small improvement has been made to the 82mm main adapter ring. In the V5PRO version, a small protrusion had already been inserted where you screw in the polarizer. In the NiSi V6 this detail has been further modified and shaped to allow easier installation and removal of the polarizer even when wearing gloves or when the environmental conditions are not the easiest.
- Holder screws: in the previous holder models screws had a corrosion-resistant coating. However, using the holder in very humid environments or with salty atmosphere could cause this coating to deteriorate, exposing the screws to corrosion. Thanks to the materials of the new screws, there is no longer any risk of deterioration of the screws.
- Holder slots: last but not least is the modification of the slot system of the holder, in other words, the part of the filter holder where the filters are physically inserted. While in the V5PRO version a big step forward had been made with the new materials and the radial thrust blocking system, in the NiSi V6 the slides in which the filter slides have been improved, and in particular the discontinuities (that could create problems when we tried to insert the filters in particularly uncomfortable positions) have been removed. In practice now there is no possibility that the filter will get stuck during insertion.
As we immediately understand, NiSi has made significant changes, without unnecessarily distorting a valid project and without giving in to the fashions of the moment that other manufacturers tried to introduce in an attempt to differentiate themselves from NiSi after taking “too much inspiration”. An example are the magnetic filter frame systems that, as practical as they may seem, they become unreliable in adverse environmental conditions (such as snow, water, wind or sand), or to the holders with the polarizer drop-in system, which introduce unnecessary constructive complications and plastic materials, compromising reliability and performances.
The new NiSi V6 in the field
Although it has just been introduced in the market, I can give you my impressions of use in the field as NiSi has allowed me to thoroughly test the new holder V6 since the first prototypes. This not only allows me to write my opinions to you after months and months of real-life use but has also allowed me to contribute to the development thanks to their desire to listen to my feedback from the field.
Having said that, I have to say that the final result is really great and I really believe that the NiSi V6 represents probably the holder that everyone was waiting for.
The main feature remains unchanged: no vignetting up to 16mm (Full Frame equivalent) with three filters installed and a polarizer!
Thanks to the new shape of the holder finally the insertion and the removal ND filters with a GND already mounted it’s child’s play. If before in the most complicated situations you might have had to remove first the GND filter to remove the ND, now you can just push the ND filter on the corners and the filters will come out in a second, even at very low temperatures where the holder tends to compress the filter radially.
If the new shape of the main adaptor ring helps in the installation and removal of the polarizing filter at low temperatures, the rotation block of the holder is a real godsend.
We know how easy it is to accidentally rotate the holder in the ecstasy of the moment and find yourself with the GND line poorly positioned only after the perfect shot. From today we can safely forget this problem: once screwed the block the system becomes rigid. This also has another safety advantage: once the lock is inserted, if we accidentally bump into the holder’s release mechanism on the adapter ring there is no danger that our holder with all the precious filters installed could fall!
If like me you love difficult compositions you may have found yourself installing the filters from the edge of a cliff where you can’t access to the front of the holder. Thanks to the new V6 holder’s slots the problems of stitching due to a not correct alignment between filter and holder disappears completely, and so you minimize the possibility of leaving the filter installed in an incorrect position and therefore unsafe.
Finally, during the months of use, no problem of deterioration to the NiSi V6 holder screws.
If the perfect filter holder does not exist by definition, I think the new NiSi V6 really comes close.
While not overturning a successful design, the new NiSi V6 is a substantial upgrade from previous versions, maintaining the solid foundation built over the years.
Cutting-edge materials, attention to detail and implementation of what many photographers have requested are just some of the features that you will find in the new NiSi V6. As for quality/price ratio, I think there is nothing comparable on the market, especially if we evaluate the rich equipment included.
In short: the NiSi V6 is the filter holder I’ve been waiting for, and I’m sure that as soon as you have it in your hands you’ll be looking forward to running in the field to use it!