*Full disclosure: I am a NiSi Ambassador and have had an ongoing professional relationship since 2016. I have not been paid for writing this article, although was provided with the V6 holder prior to the public release of the product for testing and my honest feedback. All words and opinions within this NiSi V6 100mm filter holder review are entirely my own.*
When I first started using the NiSi V5 filter holder when it was released in 2016, the first feature I noticed and really liked was the integrated circular polariser which was designed to fit inside the 82mm adaptor ring behind the filters and able to be rotated using the built-in cog-wheels. No other neutral density filter holder I had used up until this point offered this feature. The polariser generally needed to fit on the front of the holder, sitting in front of the other filters, and with some brands couldn’t be rotated independently of the other neutral density filters. There was no vignetting when using the V5 at even the widest focal length on my trusty 16-35mm Canon lens when using the maximum of three 100mm ND filters that can be stacked together, plus the polariser.
After the V5 holder came the V5 Pro, with the new Enhanced CPL and redesigned filter holder slots to make inserting and removing neutral density filters smoother. New designs to the cases and pouches for both the holder and 100mm filters have been periodically released after much testing and feedback from the team of Brand Ambassadors and the greater photography community.
On March 12th 2019 the highly anticipated successor to the V5, the NiSi V6 100mm filter holder was released worldwide. At first, I was wondering just what sort of upgrades or updates could have offered on the already excellent filter holder? I mean, it’s just a filter folder, right? I have been using the V6 Filter Holder extensively for just over 3 months now and the new features make me feel like I did when I first started using NiSi filter holders – it makes me wonder why other brands and competing products have not thought of some of the new design filters up until now.
Lets take a look good look at the NiSi V6 filters holder while I give my thoughts, impressions and long term review of this great new product.
What is included in the NiSi V6 filter holder retail box?
Unlike some other filter brands on the market who make you purchase standard sized adaptor rings separately to use their holders, NiSi offers everything you need to use the V6 filter holder with a variety of standard lens thread sizes from 67mm to 82mm. In the retail box for the V6 holder you will get –
* 1 x V6 100mm filter holder
* 1 x 82mm adaptor ring
* 1 x 77mm adaptor ting
* 1 x 72mm adaptor ring
* 1 x 67mm adaptor ring
* 1 x Soft holder pouch
* 1 x Enhanced Circular Polariser
* 1 x V6 Lens Cap
How much does the NiSi V6 Filter Holder cost?
The NiSi V6 100mm Filter Holder kit retails for AU$319 and is available here. This is $20 more than the V5 Pro kit sold for at its launch. The V6 holder comes with the lens cap included (previously AU$12 retail price) and a soft pouch rather than the bulkier hard case that comes with the V5 Pro.
NiSi V6 Filter Holder Features
When I think of NiSi products one of the first things they come to mind is the extremely high-quality build. And this is very clear when using NiSi V6 filter holder. Durability is a key feature of all NiSi products, and not only is the NiSi V6 designed to extremely high standards, but some of the new key features also help to ensure the longevity and safety of any neutral density filters in use. Let’s take a look at the key design features which have been updated in the V6.
Screw Locking Pin
One of the new features of the NiSi V6 filter holder is the screw locking pin which performs two functions. Firstly it is designed to securely lock the filter holder to the front of the lens, preventing any detachment and keeping your expensive filters firmly attached to the front of your lens. The screw lock also helps to prevent rotation of the filter holder and ensures your graduated and other neutral density filters stay lined up exactly where you have placed them.
The raised circular polariser within the 82mm adaptor ring of the V6 holder helps make insertion and removal of the circular polariser easier by elevating it slightly above the ring, allowing your finger to grip it easier than with the previous V5 and V5 Pro. I have dropped the circular polariser many times in the past when trying to get it in and out of the adaptor ring. The new design of the V6 parts helps to prevent this.
The new “corner-less” design of the V6 filter holder will make insertion and removal of the 100mm and 100mm x 150mm neutral density filters far easier than the V5 and V5 Pro. When any of the filters are properly inserted with their tops level with the holder, the lack of corners means you can still easily grab them, slide them up or down and remove any of the 3 neutral density filters you can use with the V6.
Smoother filter slots
When you are using graduated neutral density filters, positioning them is really important to prevent any issues with horizon lines or protruding elements above or below them. The newly designed filter slots allow for much smoother insertion and removal of the filters ensuring those fine adjustments can be made very easily.
Filter compatibility with the V6 Filter Holder
Any of the current range of NiSi 100mm neutral density filters such as the 6 stop, 10 stop, 15 stop and Natural Night Filter will fit perfectly into the V6 filter holder. The full range of 100mm x 150mm graduated neutral density filters will also fit perfectly. I cannot guarantee 100mm filters from other brands will sit perfectly as occasionally there can be differences in thickness of ND filters, particularly those that are not made from glass as some brands are.
Size and weight of the V6 filter holder
The actual physically size of the V6 feels smaller than the previous V5 and V5 Pro, with a reduction of about 20 grams in weight over the V5 Pro. The V6 is thinner, and the newly designed corners accentuate the feeling of an overall size reduction. If you use the new soft pouch, the weight and size savings are even more considerable compared to the older filter holder box of the V5 Pro.
NiSi V5 vs V6
As I mentioned in the start of this article, I was hesitant to believe that the V6 would offer anything more than what the V5 Pro already did. Filter holders are designed to do one job well – securely keep your expensive neutral density filters attached to the front of your lens. And this is something I believe NiSi have offered in all of their filter holders.
But if you use neutral density filters regularly, the V6 holder definitely offers quite a lot more than what the V5 did. The corner-less design will make life easier when inserting, removing or adjusting the position of any of the 3 filters (plus circular polariser) it can hold. When you are stacking filters, quite often the ones that sit towards the back of the holder are harder to adjust than those in front. With the V5 and V5 Pro I would typically use another filter to “push” the one closest to the back of the holder into place, or even to slide it out of the holder completely. There is no need for this now as all of the filters can be accessed very easily.
The screw lock may seem like a very simple thing, but when you have upwards of $750 worth of filters sitting on the front of your lens, the peace of mind in knowing they are securely attached is very nice. By twisting the screw lock into place, I have not at any stage felt like the holder would come detached from my lens. I can pick my tripod and camera up, or make adjustments to the position of the ballhead and feel confident my expensive glass filters will not fall off and smash.
Making smaller adjustments to the position of any graduated ND filters feels much easier with the V6 when compared to the V5. The filters glide through the slots with ease, while staying nice and secure within the holder. The V5 feels a little “jerky” in comparison to the V6 in this regard.
The V6 is noticeably thinner and feels smaller than the V5 especially around the corners of the holder. For those that are conscious of the weight of their gear (overnight and multi day camping trips etc), what is offered within the entire V6 filter holder retail pack including the holder itself, and the new soft pouch definitely weighs less and will take up less space that the V5 Pro retail pack.
Should I upgrade to the NiSi V6?
I am very aware that filter holders and neutral density filters can add up to quite a considerable expense when purchasing camera gear. My question to you when thinking about whether you should upgrade to the NiSi V6 filter holder is this – how much do you use them? I use my neutral density filters nearly every time I take my camera out on a landscape photography adventure. I am reliant on them to produce the type of imagery I do. It might not seem like much to some, but filter holders play an important role in this as well. I mentioned in the beginning of this article that when I first started using NiSi products, having the circular polariser integrated into the filter holder was very beneficial and almost “revolutionary” when compared to other brands on the market. When I speak to photographers who use NiSi gear this is a very common theme.
The NiSi V6 takes the already awesome design of the V5 to the next level. Until you use the extra features like the screw lock, the raised CPL and the new design of the corners it may be hard to understand how these can help when you are out shooting. I quite often get myself into very “precarious” positions – for example I tend to get waist or chest deep into water more often that I probably should. I have dropped filters. I have come very close to losing circular polarisers in fast flowing water. I have seen filter holders detach and fall down rock faces, causing neutral density filters to shatter. All of the changes to the V6 filter holder are designed to help photographers get their job done easier, therefore focusing on the scene in front of you rather than worrying about your gear. And this to me is a very, very good thing when I think about some of the places and positions I get myself into when I am out producing images.
The NiSi V6 filter holder is a worthy upgrade to anyone reliant on using their neutral density filters. Just like with the integrated CPL of the V5, you will notice, appreciate and enjoy the improvements in functionality of the V6.
5 images captured using the NiSi V6 filter holder