Photographers are spoiled for choice nowadays when it comes to buying filters for lenses. Not counting well-established brands like B+W, Hoya, Cokin, and the like, there are umpteen others on the market. It also seems like at least a couple of new brands come out every year. Each of them make the promises: superior quality of glass, supreme sharpness, and no apparent color shift to the images you take with them. Results vary depending on the type and brand, but pretty much all have one thing in common: the circular filters they make are encased in black metal rings. I can’t recall any existing brands that have colored filter rings. Michael Andrew (Michael The Maven on Youtube) has launched an eponymous line of filters that he says these will solve some of the problems photographers face today.
Ever tried putting a cheap filter in front of your expensive lens? Don’t cry that your photos look soft and smudgy if you try to save some dollars this way. Good photography requires good glass, and that includes any filter(s) you might add to the front of your lenses. I’ve invested in and received/been gifted filters from more than a handful of brands over the last decade. Granted, not all of them have been optically the best available at the time. But they weren’t anything less than premium in terms of quality. UV, ND, CPL – there’s a whole bunch for the various kinds of my photography needs. And for the most part, they’ve all been the circular, screw-on types, which come with their own set of headaches.
Swapping filters is time consuming when using the screw-on kinds. Trying to find out which filter you’re grabbing out of the bag when you quickly need to use one is also a chore. Then there’s the dreaded color shift you often have to deal with when using long-exposure ND filters.
What Led To Michael Designing The Maven Magnetic Filters?
Photographer and YouTube photography educator Michael Andrews, aka Michael The Maven, grew tired of having to deal with the aforementioned issues with various brands of filters. He often questioned why he had to pay hundreds of dollars for high-quality ND filters to then find that they produce color shifts on the images taken with them. Testing most available brands to find out which ones were color neutral, he discovered many weren’t. That’s when he decided to work on creating his own line of filters. But solving one problem alone wasn’t the idea. Michael launched his Maven Magnetic Filters series to help fix a few common issues of filters today.
The Big Picture
You can get a magnetic set of three ND, one CPL, and one UV filter with a base ring and magnetic lens/filter cap on Indiegogo currently. This starts at a relatively affordable price of $149. At the time of writing this article, 1712 Kickstarter backers have helped Maven Magnetic Filters raise $463,426. During my tests, I found absolutely no color shift when using any of the ND filters of the 77mm Maven Magnetic Filters kit I received. Each type of filter is encased in a uniquely colored ring. This makes it a lot easier to correctly select the right one from your filter case. Swapping them out takes a couple of seconds at most, thanks to the magnetic system. These filters aren’t fingerprint magnets. Smudges or water droplets are easily wiped off with a microfibre cloth.
- Made with Japanese AGC Optical Glass
- Magnetic so you can easily attach it to your lens (once the base ring has been screwed onto it)
- Each filter type is encased in uniquely colored metal for easy and quick identification.
- 16 Multi-Resistant Hydrophobic Nano Technology Coatings on the glass. Dust and smudges were easily wiped off during my tests.
- Color-neutral ND. I couldn’t see any noticeable color shift
- Available in 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77, 82, 95, 105, and 112 mm sizes
- Thinner than most circular filters available today.
- Lifetime Manufacturers Warranty
- Magnetic lens cap and adapter rings available as add-ons
- Strong glass. I knocked a couple off a table accidentally and they did not shatter.
- Base ring should have had the option to be bought with either UV or clear glass instead of just a magnetic ring. This could help eliminate vignetting at ultra-wide angles.
- Filter identification markings are currently on the back side and aren’t visible once the filter has been magnetically attached.
After having used so many filter brands over the years, I think I’ve found the perfect match for my lenses. The Maven Magnetic Filters are well constructed and color coded for easy selection. Most importantly, they come with strong magnets that facilitate easy attachment to your lens. Their ND filters also didn’t demonstrate any visible color casts during my tests. If you take advantage of their Indiegogo campaign offers, you can get a sizeable discount on future retail pricing. Various size step-up rings are also currently available. And Michael is also working on a compact hard case as a campaign stretch goal.
For its ease of use, innovative color coding, clean image output, and robust finishing quality and construction, the Maven Magnetic Filters gets five out of five stars and our Editor’s Choice Award.
Colored filters are available in every possible hue, tint, and shade that you could imagine today. But every filter still comes encased in a black (or occasionally silver) colored metal ring. That means identifying your filters in your bag comes down to how you organize them, or looking closely at the text markings on each filter. Realizing how time-consuming this process is, Michael decided to give each type of filter in the Maven Magnetic Filters set a unique color. This eliminates the hassle of finding out which filter you have to pick out of your bag.
I used the 77mm versions (from the Maven Magnetic Filters Large Set). We got to keep this set. I tested them with my Nikon Z6 II on my Nikon Z 24-120mm f4 S lens.
I’m not sure how popular (or not) Pop Pan spring onion crackers are in the USA, but growing up in Dubai I used to love eating them. When I first saw the thin and lightweight ND1000 filter in the Maven Magnetic Filters set provided to us, that’s what I was reminded of. The filters are of varying thicknesses, with the ND filters being the thinnest (a little over 3mm) and the UV the thickest (visibly).
You can easily hold them without fear of dropping them since the edges are knurled. The filters I dropped didn’t slip out of my hand, they were accidentally knocked off the side of a table.
Also, each filter has a unique groove design. The CPL filter has one groove/notch around the filter. The 3-stop ND 8 filter has three grooves, the 6-stop ND 64 has six grooves, and the 10-stop ND 1000 filter has ten.
Butter-fingered as I am, camera accessories always find themselves slipping out of my hands. The Maven Magnetic Filters didn’t though, thanks to the easy grip sides. A couple did, however, fall off a table. The UV and CPL were stuck together for a photograph that I was setting up when my hands accidentally brushed against them. After falling about three feet to the ground, I was fairly sure there would be some damage, if not a crack, some scuffs, or at least coating scratches. But what I initially thought was a deep scratch turned out to be some dust on the rear side of the CPL. A quick polish with a microfibre cloth and the filter looked sparkling clean again. Michael does not make any explicit claims about the strength of the glass, but I’m pleased to say it survived a fall.
Ease Of Use
Minimizing the time spent in selecting, attaching, changing, and using filters is one of the key things Michael wanted to archive with the Maven Magnetic Filters. The first step in doing this was to give each of the five filters a different colored ring.
CPL / Polarizing filter
As the main aim of polarizing filters is to make skies bluer and also to eliminate reflections in water, it makes sense that the CPL filter had a blue ring. It does not have any markings to indicate how much you have rotated the filter to achieve a level of polarization.
Preferring to call the Splash Guards, Michael designated a silver-colored ring for the UV filters (because there’s almost no light filtration). He recommends using a traditional threaded filter if weather sealing is a concern.
ND 8 Filter
This is an interesting choice of color, and Michael explains his reasoning for picking red as the ring color for the 3-stop ND 8 filter. “Many do not know they should be using an ND filter when shooting video outside to maintain the 180-degree shutter rule. Red made the most sense for the 3 Stop ND Filter,” he says.
ND 64 Filter
If you’re fortunate enough to get purple skies towards the end of the day (which we rarely do here in Dubai), then you know how beautiful they look. Michael’s choice of filter for this time of the day is a 6-stop ND 64 filter, hence the decision to use a purple ring for this item in the Maven Magnetic Filters set.
ND 1000 filter
“The sun is Gold,” clarifies Michael on his choice of ring color for the 10-stop ND 1000 filter, “and if I am doing extra long exposures in the daytime, I would use a 10-stop filter.”
Base Ring and Lens Cap
The base ring is a hollow, glassless screw-on filter which goes onto your lens and acts as the base for any Maven Magnetic filters you want to easily attach or switch out from your lens. This is black in color, as is the magnetic lens cap provided. Honestly, after using this system for a few days, I wish all my lens caps were magnetic. It’s just so much easier when a strong magnetic system takes care of the filter attaching and changing out. The only minor gripe I have is that I wish the base ring were a UV filter so it could remain on the lens all the time. When stacking two filters, I observed vignetting as wide as 27mm.
A creatively designed filter case is available as an option. This case contains dividers and can hold up to five Maven filters. The spacing between the dividers is custom fit to hold the three ND filters in the center three slots. The CPL and UV filters can be on either side.
There is also a divider-less filter case available where you can just hold all the filters together. No doubt they will stick to one another magnetically. For this purpose, a rear filter cap will also be soon available for purchase.
As fun as the experience of using them was, the first time I used the ND, I did wonder if the color neutrality claims of the filters would hold up. Every filter manufacturer claims their filters produce no color shift but, more often than not, I’ve seen strong blue casts when doing long exposures. Using the three ND filters in the 77mm Maven Magnetic Filters kit that I received, I could not observe any shift whatsoever. It was as color neutral (visibly to the naked eye at least) as you could hope for.
These filters stand up to the claims they make, whether it be in the image quality or in the build quality.
Who should buy the Maven Magnetic Filters?
If square filters aren’t your cup of tea because you’re too worried about their expensive prices and the possibility of breakage, then you should take a look at the Maven Magnetic Filters. If you don’t want to deal with the hassles of screwing and unscrewing filters, then this is a great option. Color neutrality is key for everyone, and if durability backed by a lifetime warranty sounds good to you, it’s time to think of buying these. Michael is also currently working on making hard filter cases available to backers soon. If you’re interested in getting these filters for yourself, head over to the Indiegogo page now.