Chinese maker NiSi might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of filters. Tiffen and Schneider are the established names the cinema business. NiSi are trying to change all that by offering some unique filters and some enticing prices.
Their latest offerings are designed to offer cinema lens users some much needed protection from the elements for their glass. The new 114mm push-on UV protection filter looks like the perfect solution for drone operators and run-and-gun shooters who want to protect their precious Zeiss CP2s from big splats or raindrops without adding the weight and bulk of a mattebox. It should also be a nice fit on the new Zeiss 21-100 LWZ.3 and any other similar 114mm outside diameter lens.
Of course nobody is going to want to use one of these if it is going to seriously compromise your lens performance – so we set out to test just that. In the video at the start of this article we filmed a series of shots with and without the filter using a Zeiss 15.5-45 LWZ cine zoom. The shots were all done deliberately into the light or with extreme flare present (obviously we would never allow such flare on an actual shoot). The idea was to see if the addition of the filter changed the performance of the lens in any significant way. You can judge the results for yourself, but from what I’ve seen so far I would be happy enough to shoot with the filter on all the time.
The next new filter is not a new idea. It is a simple 5.65×4 clear protection filter made of high grade optical glass designed for use in a mattebox. Several other makers produce similar ones. What makes the NiSi one stand out is the price. In China we were told that the price was a super low $28 US.
At this price I can see almost anybody with a mattebox picking a couple up to have in the bag. There aren’t many bargains in digital cinema but this seems like one. Lets hope that the US and European pricing is equally low.
Also new are a pair of rotating polarising filters that were just shown at the BIRTV show in Beijing. One is a straight polariser, the other has a warming effect. Like rivals from established makers these fit into a matte box filter tray and can be adjusted using a small gear on the top of tray.