Are Haida Filters any good?
This review compares Haida ND Filters and B+W ND Filters.
Haida vs. B+W Test
The test compares Haida an B+W filters, more precisely the 10-stop ND filters available from both brands.
Haida Pro II MC ND 3.0 Filter Test
This is the normal version of the Haida filter frame.
Haida Slim Pro II MC ND 3.0 Filter Test
This Haida filter is the same multi-coated version, but with a slim filter frame.
Haida Slim ND 3.0 x1000 Filter Test
This is the first version Haida filter, with a slim filter frame and no coating.
Test B+W 110 ND 3.0 F-Pro MRC Filter
Are B+W Filters really the best?
I’m a big fan of cheap stuff that does a good job. Yeah, who isn’t. While there are many people who believe that a cheaper product is always worse quality, and, even worse, people who believe that an expensive product is always expensive because it costs more to make it better quality, there are always exceptions.
Recently, I came across the Haida Filter brand and became interested if they are one of those exceptions.
I have this rule that anything that I put in the optical path of my image should be best possible quality. So when I mount a filter onto my Tigmaron 28-300mm f/4.5-7.1 all-in-one zoom lens – nah, just kidding.
Haida filters are made in China, and they claim that they use Schott glass, suggesting good quality despite the lower price. The first versions weren’t even coated, meanwhile there’s a multi-coated version available, too, and they make slim and non-slim versions. Their 1000x ND filter that I was looking for costs around 30 Euros for the 77mm Slim version. There are a couple of people who got one and are totally content (if you understand German, check out this article by Gunther Wegener and this one by Stephan Uhlmann). But so far, I haven’t found anyone who compared those filters thoroughly. So, let’s do this.
I have a B+W F-Pro ND filter in the density of 3.0, meaning x1000 (actually x1024) or 10 f-stops. That’s the darkest you can get. (With filters, I mean.) It’s actually so dark that you can barely see anything through it. In the viewfinder, you can’t see anything, so you have to set the camera first, focus, and then screw on the filter.
How do the Haidas compare to the multi-coated B+W? Or do you need the coating at all?
As with many Chinese brands, the best, very best about them is their slogan: “Haida – Believe. We can.” This is even better than the slogan of Jinbei, who make studio monolights (“Create fantastic imaging world”).
But not so easy, Haida. Before we believe that you can, let’s first see what it is that you can believe in. Or something.
What is compared?
- Sharpness reduction: Does the filter take away any perceived sharpness?
- Vignetting, part 1: How does the filter glass produce vignetting?
- Vignetting, part 2: Does the mount ring get in the way?
- Color cast: You can easily remove this, though, if you pack gray card into your bag (see below).
- Flare resistance: Well… flare resistance
- Transmission: The actual density – is it really 10 stops?
- Cleaning: How well does it follow your instructions when you tell it to clean the kitchen?
- Build quality: Does it feel good when you hold it in your hand? And when you screw it… into that lens thread?