[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you’re like me, you have a love/hate relationship with filters. On one hand, I love the fact that they help me boost my images; on the other, it’s so frustrating to screw them on and off all the time that I end up not using them as much as I’d like. Picture yourself using a 9- or 10- stop ND filter and having to remove it every time you reframe or focus…and then put it back on again. It takes discipline that I lack.
Well, I’m about to start using filters much more often, thanks to Xume. They came up with a great solution to the on-and-off-again filter frustration: a quick-release adapter and filter holder that are magnetically attracted to each other. You screw the lens adapter to your lens and the filter holder to your filter and voilà! Now every time you’re in need of a filter, you put it in front of your lens and it automatically snaps into place. That’s it! So simple that you wonder why nobody thought of this before.
Do you have a lot of lenses and filters? No worries, you can buy the adapters individually or as a package. Believe me, if you’re using filters on a regular basis, you’ll want one of these permanently in front of every single lens and filter in your collection.
Xume does not just have a great concept; they walk the talk as well. The adapters are superbly made, and, once installed, you’ll barely notice that they are there. They come in filter sizes between 49 mm and 82 mm. The price varies accordingly. To give you an idea, a 77-mm kit containing 2 lens adapters and 4 filter holders sells for US$105 and will last a lifetime. They are made with neodymium magnets, which lose only about 1% of their strength per decade and are the strongest type of permanent magnet commercially available.
So, are they perfect?
Well, almost. First, a lens cap won’t fit on the lens adapters, so you’ll need to install your lens cap in a filter holder to clip it on your lens. Xume plans to offer a proprietary lens cap before the end of the year. Second, however thin these adapters are, you will experience vignetting when using the shortest end of an ultra wide-angle lens. For example, on an APS-C sensor, I experienced vignetting at 12 mm but as soon as I went to 15 mm and above it was okay. Deal breaker? Not at all! It’s a small price to pay for all the benefits that you gain.
As Sir William Golding once said, “The greatest ideas are the simplest.”