Manfrotto XUME Filter Adapters
Magnetic filter holders / Available in eight diameters from 49mm to 82mm
Price: Holders from £ 10 / Kits from £ 35 Website: www. manfrotto. co. uk
FILTERS AREN’T NORMALLY an area of photographic kit that sees too much innovation. Occasionally we'll see new materials used in their construction and a new type of multicoating but, in general, not a huge amount changes.
The announcement by Manfrotto earlier this year of its acquisition of US- based firm Xume was soon followed by the release of a range of adapters and holders that allow filters to be easily and quickly swapped from lens to lens.
How it works is incredibly simple. A steel adapter is screwed on to the rear of the filter and a magnetised ring is screwed on to the front of the lens. This allows the filter to be attached simply by holding it close to the holder – the force of the magnetism is strong enough to hold the filter in place, yet it's easy to remove by a slight pull. Invest in holders and rings for your most commonly used filters and lenses and you'll be able to quickly swap filters without having to unscrew them from one lens and screwing on to another. This is ideal when you need to attach or swap filters quickly and is also very useful when you need to use filters in extremely cold weather.
The holders and adapters are very well made with a matte black finish that matches most lenses. There are no markings on them stating diameters, which is something I hope is corrected on the next generation to make them easier to identify.
The holder and rings together have a similar width to a standard filter, so this raises the question of whether there is a risk of vignetting when used with wider focal lengths. We reviewed a 77mm holder and ring with a Manfrotto circular polarising filter and tried them on a Canon EF 17- 40mm f/ 4L lens to check for this potential problem. By photographing a white wall with and without the XUME set- up, it was possible to check to see if the corners of the frames were darker – a clear sign of vignetting. I found there was no problem at all. I'd suggest that you do a similar trial with your own kit.
The cost of the XUME accessories isn't too expensive, although it's not that dissimilar to buying a filter. A 49mm lens adapter is around £ 25, filter holder £ 10 or kit with both for £ 35. Other sizes of adapters and holders are similar in price, with the most expensive being the 82mm XUME, costing £ 30 for the lens adapter, £ 13 for the filter holder and £ 43 for the kit.
The XUME system is a fiendishly simple idea that proves to work extremely well.