Haida M10 system holder review
M10 is the new filter holder system from Haida. The vendor introduced many new things, like drop-in filters. Pros and cons of the new system
"just another filter holder".
It was my first thought, when I heard about the new M10 system from Haida. Honestly, my first idea was: "Whaaat!? Another one? Why the hell should I change my holder, when the Pro one is so good?!"
But I gave the M10 a chance, you can read below what I really discovered...
Go on and read what all the other reviews are missing!
First impressions on Haida M10
First of all, let me say that the new Haida M10 is something more than a filter holder: it is a completely new holding system, with dedicated filters.
The internet is already full of review showing how trendy is the leather case of the filter holder... The point here is to understand some very important points (that I found missing in many reviews of my colleagues landscape photographers):
* easy to use
* ability to use other filters
* light leakage resistance
Easy to use
Probably this is the most important point; Haida did really great in helping Landscape photographers in saving time and money! Few months ago, they released the Red Diamond filter family: a break and scratchproof series of filters, that keepis the same outstanding quality we were used to with the Nano Pro series.
With this new holder, Haida developed a new filter format (the so called "drop-in"): a simple round plastic frame, that contains the filter itself and integrates a very handy handle. This is probably the most innovative feature of the M10 family: you can take off or swith filters with a single hand, and everything takes no more than 2 seconds.
Take a look at my video if you really want to see how fast it is!
Ability to use other filters
This was the point that concerned me most: the new drop-in filters are great, but they are the perfect choice for the ones that still have to buy a full set of filters. So, if you are just starting your "filters journey", then go on with the drop-in filters and you will be absolutely happy. Believe me.
But the majority of landscape photographers out there has already many filters, and probably no one wants to buy again all his ND filters, just to use them with the new holder.
So.. said that.. is the M10 filter holder a good choice for you?
Of course it is! the holder has 2 traditional slots in front of it (plus one more that could be added), that can host traditional ND filters, plus GND square 100x150mmm filter. The "window" that is used for drop-in filters can be closed with a special empty frame (sold with the holder itself) that prevents evey possible light leakage (see below).
Only one attention point: if you have an ND filter sold with the light leakage gasket, probably you will have to remove it: if you don't do it, probably you will not be able to use the second slot (they are a bit thinner than the ones we were used to).
Another very important point: even with the third slot mounted on the filter, no vignetting occurs even at 15mm (full frame equivalent).
I did some tests, using the new M10 holder both on Venus Laowa 15mm f/2 and on Sony SEL1635Z. I tested even with the additional third slider on, and the result is always the same: no vignetting!
Take a look at the comparison below: on the left, a shoot taken with no holder. on the right, M10 + 2 slides.
Same test, but on the right the shot with 3 slides on:
All the abowe shots were taken with the following setup: Sony a7R II, 400ISO, f/5.6
Below the same tests, done with Sony SEL1535Z
This is probably the only real downside of this new m10 filter holder. The filter holder itself is not bigger than the previous one... And honestly it is even lighter than the Haida Pro holder.
The leather case is very "fashion", but absolutely not so practical on the field. Anyway, you can put the holder into the usual filter pouch you probably are already using.
The real problem are the drop-in filters: from my very first tests, they do not fit very well into a traditional filter pouch; at the moment you have to keep each filter into the bulky white plastic box. But I'm sure Haida is already working on a dedicated pouch! :)
Light leakage resistance
As already told, the new M10 filter holder has a special empty frame that must be inserted into the drop-in filter slot, in order to avoid light leakage.
I love to take very very long exposures (did I already say "very"?!)... my favourite filter is the ND3.0, but I started using the ND4.5 (yes, ND32000!) and I love it, seriously.
It is quite common for me to have 300s exposures, or 60s exposure in full day light (this is the typical use of the ND4.5). So I am always very worried about light leakage: usually I put a dark fabric (a scarf, for example) over the camera and lens, but a light leakage from the filter holder would be very difficult to handle (you can't cover the filter with a fabric, of couse! LOL).
Moreover, the fact that you have to take the gasket off your filters if you need to use them on the normal slot, made me even more skeptical and concerned.
But there is no better way than testing, if you have doubts.. So I did. And I was really surprised! No light leakage, even when using the super-dark ND4.5! As usual I protected the camera and the lens mount, but the filter itself did really a great work in preventing any light leakage from outside.
More pictures to show it will come. Please drop me a line if you are interested in some shots in the meanwhile.
There are 2 other points that need a particular attention:
The new CPL is a bit better than the previous one (the one sold together with the Pro Holder): first of all, the polarizing effect is a bit stronger. Second, the way you rotate it is better: now you don't have a small handle on the side (that you can move by chance while working with other filters); there is a small wheel on the top, that you have to turn to make the CPL rotate. This way, once the pola is in set in place, it will stay in position even if you change filters.
One "bad news": once the polarizer is in place, there is no space left for a drop-in ND filter. And vice versa. This means that if you want to use both, you have to take with you also a "traditional" ND filter, and use it on the traditional slots (with the problem of the gasket)
No blocking system
The new holder is missing the side screw that was in the Pro holder. Honestly I was in love with that mechanism, because it prevented the holder to rotate, even when you take filters in and out.
A typical scenario is when you want to use a hard edge GND along the horizon line, and then put a ND1000 on; you have to align correctly (and precisely) the GND edge and the horizon itself, otherwise you will get a weird look on the horizon line itself. You put the GND on, set it correctly, and then you have to put the ND3.0 on. Many namy times, without a blocking system you will end up with a slightly rotated holder, but you will not be able to see it until you shot (because the darkness of the ND filter prevents a precise observation).
In such situation, a blocking mechanism is freakin' useful.
The new M10 is missing such system, but honestly if you use only drop-in ND filters, the chances to rotate the holder while inserting it are very very low.
I have to admit I was really skeptical about many of the forementioned points: transportability, ability to use other non drop-in filters.... but most of all, light leakage (for a long exposure fanatic, it could really be a nightmare!)
There is no shame in saying that at the first sight I thought the product as a marketing trick.
But I admit that, after a full month together, the M10 satisfied me a lot.
It is lighter than the Haida Holder Pro, very very fast to put on and take off, and very handy if you are using gloves.
Let's see pros and cons of the Haida M10:
- super fast filter insertion / change
- super fast mounting / dismounting
- optimum light leakage protection
- very easy to use CPL
- there is no mechanism to block the rotation of the holder
- the system (holder + drop–in filters) is a bit bulky
- if you want to use additional ND filters, you have to take the gasket off if you want to use the normal plastic slot
- if you want to use both CPL and ND, you can't (or you have to have also traditional square ND filters)
So, do you really have to buy a the M10 filter holder?
If you do not already have a full set of ND filters, my suggestion is absolutely yes (keep in mind that GND filters are always the same, drop-in filters are only ND and Clear Night).
If you use the CPL on a regular basis, yes you will love the M10 holder.
If you already have many ND filters, then take M10 holder into consideration: it will not be a revolution, but it is very light, very convenient to use, and you can use your old filters until you will decide to switch to Red Diamond break-proof family.