Welcome to my test review of the Haida Red-diamond Reverse Graduated neutral density 0.6 (2stops) filter. Using a Canon 5d mark iv ( full frame camera), Canon 16-35 mm USM L lens, Haida M10 filter holder, Gitzo tripod and ball head.
Over the past three weeks I’ve really put this filter through its paces especially on the beach with sand blowing around & enjoyed every single minute with it. My first shoot was on the remote Scottish island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides & then finally back on the mainland in the northern county of Caithness. I really wanted to spend time to see how versatile this filter really is. Both these locations were ideal as the island has countless seascapes & Caithness is very flat which suits the filter as nothing to break the horizon line, ie ..mountains, trees etc.
The filter was presented in a sturdy metal tin with foam insert for protection & lovely chunky cut out which makes it easy to open even with gloves on. One thing I must not forget to mention is how every piece of equipment from Haida, whether its a glass filter or simple adapter ring that I own is always first class, thoughtfully designed & perfect partner for the discerning photographer. Even the smallest of detail, having the particular filter type etched on the top so when their all in your filter case it’s easy to see which filter you wish to select.
What’s the difference between a graduated neutral density filter & a reverse graduated neutral density filter?
A graduated neutral density filter is dark at the top where you would place over the sky & gradually reduces its density towards the bottom. Whereas a reverse graduated neutral density filter works on the principle when shooting sunrise/sunset, the highest luminance is near the horizon line. Therefore, the filter needs to be the darkest in the centre region resulting in more detail of the highlights & providing excellent exposure control.
As you can see in the image below, the bottom of the filter is totally clear and the top of the filter comes with a smooth/ gentle transition between the dark & clear areas of the filter which gives a natural balanced exposure & better quality/cleaner image. This would be difficult to replicate in Lightroom with the use of a gradient filter as you need it to be graduated in both directions. I could bracket my shots but it’s much nicer achieving it as near perfect in camera than having to sit at my computer all day.
Where to position the filter?
Positioning the filter is imperative, you need to be quite precise by placing it just over the most highlighted areas around the horizon line. Thankfully having it sized 150mm on its longest edge gives more scope & easy to use as you can move it up or down very smoothly till your satisfied with the correct position, as shown in the video below.
One major potential problem when using the Reverse graduated ND filter is anything that seriously breaks the horizon, be it some headland, mountain, building or tree is going to get very dark quickly, because the darkest part of the filter is right on the horizon transition area. However for many seascape purposes where the horizon is often flat out to sea this is perfect harmony & a feast for the eyes.
The Red Diamond series is my favourite of all Haida filters, the quality is second to none, not that the other Haida series aren’t, it’s just something about Red-diamond that I favour & suits my style. This particular filter I’ve tested is a Reverse graduated ND filter, made from K9 optical glass which is double the strength of normal glass, including an ultra-thin Nano multi coating for extra protection. Along with being shock/scratch resistant, waterproof, oil and fingerprint proof. This made my job at the beach with sand blowing all over the filter very easy to wipe off with a microfiber cloth.
Oftentimes with some filter brands you can get strange colour transitions whereas with this filter there was absolutely no evidence, revealing nothing but true colour & neautraly. You may think with all these features within the glass that optically the sharpness will be compromised, let me assure you and see for yourself from the raw files provided every image is pin sharp from corner to corner with excellent light transmission qualities.
Rectangle in shape 100mm x 150mm, 2mm in thickness providing more flexibility to move the filter up or down. The M10 filter holder geniusly rotates independently, in effect you could turn the filter sideways for more creativity, which I demonstrate in this video.
Also compatible with the Haida 100-Pro filter holder and other brands the same size. I use the Haida M10 filter holder whereby the Red- diamond series of filters are slotted into the front section. Not to mention the added touch of the R5 rounded corners makes it easier to slide in and out of the filter holder, no sharp corners to cut your fingers. You may have seen online the Haida Red Diamond drop test video? Where it’s thrown onto a concrete floor and no sign of damage to the filter. If you are accident prone this would be the perfect filter series for you.
I have tested this filter at different focal lengths & found the image quality second to none. Fundamentally I’m besotted, its now my secret weapon of choice & will always have a forever home in my filter case.
Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @20mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” reverse graduated neutral density filter. No post processing on either.
Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud
Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @21mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” reverse graduated neutral density filter. No post processing on either.
Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud
Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @30mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” reverse graduated neutral density filter. No post processing on either. Location; Caithness, mainland Scotland.
Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud
I hope this provides you some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions. More information & my test reviews on Haida’s website.
I’m excited to introduce the new Haida M10 adapter ring, M10 filter holder, M10 round “drop-in” circular polariser, M10 “drop-in” light barrier, M10 round “drop-in” neutral density 3.0 (10 stop) and Red Diamond medium 0.9 (3 stops).
This test review was based on a shoot around Assynt, a remote area of the Northern Scottish Highlands using my Canon 5d mark iv ( full frame camera). Tested at the widest focal length I use, 16mm with my Canon 16-35 mm USM L lens. Gitzo tripod and ball head.
As a landscape photographer I have learnt how invaluable a great filter system is to my arsenal of tools. It’s something you can buy a bit at a time to build up your collection, but choosing the correct brand is the tricky part. Thankfully for you I’ve made the mistakes and now ready to reveal the latest from Haida filters, the only brand for me.
I started using Haida filters in January 2018 with their Pro 100 series. As much as I regard them highly, I can’t stress enough how Haida’s design team have really upped their game and left their competitors way behind with their latest generation M10 filter holder system for the 100 mm series filters, including a selection of round “drop-in” filters (CPL, NDs and Clear-night) also their Red Diamond series ND’s (soft, medium), hard GND, reverse GND and horizon GND. These were all launched in October 2018 at Photokina and are now readily available. Haida have really listened to their customers and actually done something about it.
They kindly sent me their M10 filter holder and a selection of filters early in January 2018. So far, they have travelled almost two thousand miles with me on a road trip from the North Coast of Scotland to Southern England and a couple of local photo shoots. I wanted to really spend time in the field conducting this review and putting everything through its paces to give my most honest opinion. I can proudly say I now know them so well I could use them blindfolded. The whole set up – from screwing on the adapter ring to sliding in your first filter – can be done in less than 10 seconds!
All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. Haida’s new generation are such a genius method and design.
Haida M10 filter holder kit for the 100mm series filters includes the filter holder, CPL, light-barrier, adapter ring and leather case.
Haida M10 adapter ring
Works solely with the Haida M10 filter holder which is part of Haida’s new generation. Constructed entirely from aluminium for strength and light-weight, and also slim in design. From my experience this helps with any unnecessary vignettes when shooting at wide angles. You simply screw it easily onto the front of your Lens. This is the foundation for the M10 filter holder: it’s a bit like building a house – without a solid foundation there’s no point installing the windows.
These can be purchased to fit most popular lenses in sizes 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 and 82mm.
Haida M10 filter holder
This is Haida’s successor to their 100 Pro filter holder. The new M10 filter holder is made from aviation grade aluminium and PC materials for super strength and is lighter in weight than its predecessor. Its genius design makes it exceptionally user-friendly, with super fast set up, and effortless to change and remove filters. Simply clip the M10 filter holder onto the M10 adapter ring by using the red push-and-release (spring clip) locking lever (see photo below). The innovative design gives a very secure and solid connection, and at the same time the ability to rotate 360 degrees – which I found especially useful when using the Red Diamond medium 0.9 ( 3 stop) graduated neutral density filter. The non-slip spongued coating on the bottom of the filter holder provides more of a grip when rotating which I think is a nice touch.
It’s designed to take up to three filters ( 100 x 100mm or 100 x 150mm @ 2mm thickness, compatible with other brands at the same size ) on the front of the holder if you wish to stack, and one filter slot at the rear closest to your camera lens where the new round “drop in” M10 filters are used. Boasting a choice of neutral density filters ( 3, 6, 10 and 15 stops), circular polariser (included in the kit), clear-night (light pollution filter), graduated neutral density filters ( 3 and 4 stops) and ND + CPL ( 3 and 6 stops). But only using one at a time which is the only downside if you like using several ND/s and a CPL as I often did with its predecessor. If you don’t wish to use any of the round “drop- in” filters, you must use the M10 “drop in” light barrier (see photo below) which is a simple and easy to use sealing ring to prevent any light leakage (also provided in the kit).
Stack of 3 100mm x 100mm Haida NDs in front compartment and CPL in rear compartment of M10 filter holder.
Housed in a smart black eco-leather zipped storage case, with a handy carabiner attached to the top which can be neatly clipped onto your tripod or belt for ease of access. Internally lined with a lovely grey velvety fabric with a net pocket for storage. Also included: screwdriver, extra pair of filter holder slots and gaskets to provide a third slot on the front of the Holder )which I’ve left on permanently).
Video of me using the M10 adapter ring, M10 filter holder, M10 round “drop-in” circular polariser filter together with Red Diamond medium 0.9 filter.
My favourite of all the filters has always been the CPL. A vital piece of kit every landscape photographer should have and something which cannot be replicated in post processing. I rarely shoot without – it’s the perfect light manager. And let me tell you, Haida`s new M10 round “drop-in” CPL will never be off my lens.
I was curious to test if any slight vignette was present, and I can happily confirm that there is none at all, even pushing it through a tough test at my widest 16mm on a full frame camera. It gives amazing contrast, and cuts through some of the haze, especially on the clouds and the polarisation is visible in the sky producing some great detail. Removed almost all the unwanted glare and the see-through effect is well achieved on the water. Added some beautiful saturation which gives an overall instant pop to the image. Always remember with any filter – it brings into the equation a fourth dimension to the exposure triangle. With a CPL you will generally lose between 1-2 stops of light. As you can see in the comparison exif data below, I have lost around 1.5 stops.
Inserting the round “drop in” CPL into the M10 filter holder is the fastest I’ve ever used, never mind witnessed. It simply drops between the holder and lens creating a perfect seal from any stray light. It’s almost like gravity does the work for you – once you hear the click it’s locked in place. There is a three gear linkage design on the mount which rotates independently and very smoothly. Once you start turning the adjustable black dial which is centrally placed on the top of the filter, you’ll instantly see the polarisation intensity on your live view screen. I tend to always rotate a CPL 360 degrees first to check the availability of contrast, saturation, and reflection. The strongest effect takes place at an angle of 90 degrees from the sun, ie make sure your line of sight is perpendicular to the direction of the sun. The filter is easily removed or exchanged by gently squeezing the red plastic tabs on the top and lifting it out without disturbing your composition.
Constructed from high quality optical glass the same as the Red Diamond series, each filter has ten layers of anti-reflective coatings, is shock-proof and scratch-proof, provides the best clarity, includes the famous nano multi-coating to reduce reflection, waterproof (meaning any droplets of water literally roll off like beads, no ugly smears) and the dreaded fingerprints wipe off easily with a soft microfibre cloth.
I have to say how solid it feels, plus it’s very fast and easy to use. In the past, CPLs I’ve used can be fiddly, hard to screw on especially when it’s freezing cold, you’re up at silly o’clock waiting for sunrise and half asleep. Haida have really listened to their customers and produced this truly clever design making our life so much easier. It’s an absolute pleasure to work with.
The round “drop in” filters are available in a selection of: ND 0.9, 1.8 3.0, 4; CPL; Clear-night; GND-0.9 1.2; ND+CPL 0.9 and 1.8.
Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm with no filter and with Haida M10 “drop-in” CPL filter. No post processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom. Demonstrating how the CPL has retained every bit of sharpness.
Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud.
Haida Red Diamond Medium
The Red Diamond filter I am testing is a medium 0.9 equaling 3 Stops. Rectangle in shape and sized 100mm x 150mm, providing more flexibility to move the filter up or down within the holder for ultimate control, homogeneous graduated blending from light to dark and endless creative possibilities. I really enjoyed using this filter in combination with the M10 filter holder. It’s fun the way you can rotate the holder if you want to darken the sky on one side or turn it upside down if you’re looking over bright highlighted water.
I predict this latest series from Haida becoming “The big daddy” of them all for landscape photographers the world over. Haida named this new series “Red Diamond” as they’re amongst the strongest diamonds in the world, therefore being the strongest of all Haida filters.
What makes this series stand out from its predecessor and other brand filters are listed as follows:
Shock resistant, low risk to any accidental damage.
Scratch resistant, the perfect partner in demanding weather.
Zero colour cast.
Waterproof, oil and fingerprint proof Nanopro coated surface.
Improved optical glass.
R5 rounded corners – makes it easier to slide in and out of the filter holder, no sharp corners.
K9 optical glass.
Ultra-thin nano multi coating.
Easy to clean.
Double the strength of other glass filters whilst at the same time retaining ultimate sharpness.
Still retaining 2 mm in thickness making it compatible with the Haida 100-Pro filter holder and other brands the same size.
The Red Diamond series is double the strength of a normal glass filter. You may have seen online the Haida Red Diamond drop test video? Where it’s thrown onto a concrete floor and no sign of damage to the filter. If you are accident prone this would be the perfect filter series for you.
Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm -With-without-Red Diamond medium 0.9 (3 stops). No post processing on either, other than lens correction in Lightroom.
Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud
M10 round “drop-in” 3.0 ND (10 Stop) Filter
The round “drop in” 3.0 ND, equalling 10 stops of light with its built in light barrier, is particularly useful for any super long exposures. Oftentimes in the past I’ve struggled with the issue of light leakage and had to resort to putting hats or cloths over the gap between filter and lens, not an ideal situation at all.
Before I started my love affair with Haida filters over a year ago, I was using Lee filters. My go-to neutral density filter was always the Big Stopper but more times out of ten the images produced had a slight purple tint and vignettes at wide angles. Although it’s easy enough to change in post processing, it is another job. All these wee jobs can mount up a lot, meaning less creative time and enjoyment in the great outdoors with your camera – and surely they’re the best parts?!
I was curious to test if any vignette were present, and I can happily confirm none at all was found. You would think attaching any filter over your lens would affect the level of sharpness, but it’s clear to see from my findings below that there is no loss of sharpness from corner to corner – it’s pin sharp. Absolutely no colour tint was found, making this one of the most neutral NDs I’ve ever come across. I particularly liked the design of the plastic holder that the round glass sits in, making it ultra easy to drop in and remove the filter holder without any disturbance to the composition. Just like the Red-Diamond filters, the M10 round “drop-in” series of filters are all made from the same grade optical glass and feature the same nanopro coatings, producing excellent image quality. It’s clear to see that Haida have really thought through every single part of the process and know the issues that can be caused in the field.
Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” N.D 3.0 (10-stop). No post processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom.
Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud
Collection of images taken during my field test
I hope this provides you some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions.