Over the last few months I have been using the Sony 12-24 G lens a lot for my landscapes. People that know me know that I love extreme wide angle lenses. The extra 4mm that I can get on the wide end compared to a 16-35 makes a huge difference for foregrounds especially. You really have to know how to use this lens to get the most out of it, but when you do, it’s like a new dimension. I can talk hours about a 10 or 12mm full frame focal length but that’s not what this article is for. Obviously, with an extremely wide f/4 lens, the front lens element is quite big and the angle of view is huge. A 100mm filter system is not going to cut it here. The 12-24mm Sony doesn’t even have a filter thread so filter systems are naturally bigger and bulkier.
Shortly after the Sony 12-24mm lens came out Nisi was already in on it (they’re usually very fast) and developed a holder that would fit this lens. I was obviously interested. I don’t use filters that much but I always carry a 6 and 10-stop filter with me to smoothen out clouds or water when necessary. Another thing that I always carry around is a polarizer. Not having these in the first place for the 12-24mm was a handicap at first as I couldn’t always make the shots I wanted. The Nisi system solved that problem.
Nisi 150mm system with the S5 holder for Sony 12-24, 2x 150mm filters and a filter pouch
A thing I would like to note is that I initially wasn’t a big fan of filter systems for these extreme wide angle lenses mainly because they’re so big. Extreme wide angle lenses require a bigger filter system and the idea of the hassle that went with this put me off at first. But I decided to still give it a try and I was actually surprised about how easy it was to carry around. Like I said, I don’t need that much filters. 2x 150mm (10 and 6 stop) + Polarizer doesn’t need a filter bag. I can just put them somewhere in the front pocket of my Mindshift bag. They hardly take up any space. The filter system itself is a little bit bigger but it still just fits in a pocket of my bag. Again, no big deal.
Included is a nice pouch for the holder.
When you receive the Nisi S5 holder it comes with a nice pouch. This pouch is a nice extra and it can be useful to carry the system around if it doesn’t fit in your bag (system fits easily in a normal camera bag). Included in my kit was the Nisi Landscape CPL. Upon seeing this at first my thought was : wow! That’s a big CPL! When you look at the above image you see a front compartment on the filter pouch that is meant to fit the CPL. It would have been nice if there was a separate sleeve or thin pouch included to put the CPL in because the front pocket doesn’t really have soft material inside which makes it harmful for the CPL if you just stick it in there naked. Nisi told me they’re looking into that for the new version.
2 parts attached to each other: front where you put the filters in, back that you attach to the the 12-24 lens. You don’t really have to split the system though, but it makes things easier when sliding in filters.
The system itself feels very solid. When we compare it to the normal 100mm filter system of Nisi the materials are similar. Solid aluminium material that has a premium feel to it. The holder consists of 2 parts. 1 Part that you attach to the 12-24 lens with a big ring. You slide it over the lens and then tighten the ring to secure the filter holder. It’s super easy and works very well. The other part is the part where you put the filters in and you attach it via a lock system. Just like the Nisi 100mm system basically. I was surprised how easy it was to attach the holder to the 12-24 lens. The ease of use is really incredible. You slide it over the lens, tighten the ring, and done! It’s much easier than the 100mm system where you have to screw the system onto the lens. There are no screws here, just one ring. Oh, and it has no vignetting at 12mm!
Close up from the ring that you tighten to secure the filter holder on the lens. You slide it over the lens, and then tighten the ring go lock it in place.
The CPL goes into the part of the filter that you attach to the camera. This means I almost never even remove the CPL when I put the system back in my bag.
Filter holder attached to the 12-24 lens without the front filter element on it.
There are 2 rather big wheels on both sides of the system to turn the CPL. It works smooth and solid. Much better than the very tiny wheels on the 100mm Nisi system. The bigger system is actually much more pleasant to use.
Close up from one of the wheels on the filter system to turn the CPL
So to quickly sum things up:
the system is very easy to attach to the 12-24 lens and this is the real power of this filter system. I hate to fiddle around with filter and lose the moment of the shot. Lots of times you have to be fast in the field or you will lose out on the best light. This system does exactly that. It works fast and smooth. Also, I was surprised about how it was still nice to bring around and everything was not too big. Sure, it’s much bigger than your regular 100mm system but it’s not too big of an issue if you have a decently sized camera bag.
Using the Cpl to remove glare on reflective surfaces. You can see the result of this image below.
The filters itself
As expected from Nisi, the 150mm filters I have are of good quality with next to know colour cast. As this review is mainly about the filter system I will not go too deep into this, but they basically perform the same as the 100mm filters. Almost no colour cast and there is just not much negative to say about them. I did think these filters had a slight warmer colour cast, but it actually turned out to be the Landscape CPL that I mostly had attached when I was using the system. When I asked Nisi for comment they said this was deliberate with the ‘Landscape CPL’ to warm up the scene a bit en enhancing certain tones a bit more than normal. I’m not a big fan of this myself but so be it.
I still always use the CPL as it works great especially with removing glare and reflection from water. At 12mm the CPL is a big tricky to use as you have to be careful not to go too much on the CPL. ‘Be Gentle’. 12mm focal length with a CPL is asking for trouble in general so this is a very obvious thing.
A bunch of shots over the last few months done with the Sony 12-24 and the 150mm system:
Sony A7RIII, Sony 12-24, Nisi 150mm system, Nisi Landscape CPL, 24mm, f/10, 1s, ISO 100
Sony A7RIII, Sony 12-24, Nisi 150mm system, Nisi Landscape CPL, 13mm, f/10, 1/125s, ISO 100
Sony A7RIII, Sony 12-24, Nisi 150mm system, Nisi Landscape CPL, Nisi 6 stop filter, 12mm, f/10, 13s, ISO 200
Sony A7RIII, Sony 12-24, Nisi 150mm system, Nisi Landscape CPL, 12mm, f/14, 1/30s, ISO 200
Sony A7RIII, Sony 12-24, Nisi 150mm system, Nisi Landscape CPL (greatly helped to remove the glare at the black beach making it beautifully black), 12mm, f/16, 1.6s, ISO 50
Sony A7RIII, Sony 12-24, Nisi 150mm system, Nisi Landscape CPL, 13mm, f/16, 0.8s, ISO 50
Sony A7RIII, Sony 12-24, Nisi 150mm system, Nisi Landscape CPL, 12mm, f/14 (focus stack), 1/6s, ISO 100
Sony A7RIII, Sony 12-24, Nisi 150mm system, Nisi Landscape CPL, Nisi 6 stop filter, 12mm, f/7.1 (focus stacked), 30s, ISO 100
Sony A7RIII, Sony 12-24, Nisi 150mm system, Nisi Landscape CPL, 12mm, f/11, 1/4s, ISO 200
Sony A7RIII, Sony 12-24, Nisi 150mm system, Nisi Landscape CPL, 22mm, f/11, 13s, ISO 50
So basically I am very satisfied with this filter system. I really love the ease of use and the filters itself are what we can expect from Nisi: next to no colour cast and good quality glass. And no vignetting at 12mm.
After a few months of using this system the connection between the front and back element when you click them together is now loose. Because of this, the front part fell of when using the system in Iceland. As a result my 6 stop filter (that was on it) broke. I have used the system for a few months and it’s very unfortunate that something like this happens. I am not sure if this is just 'bad luck' or that this is a common problem. But it seems to be a weakness. This has happened to other brand filter systems too and the part where the front attaches to the main part of the system is always a weakness. This is something that Nisi has to work on. Maybe some extra element to prevent it from falling off. Either way, this is something I have to mention in this review. It’s a great system overall, but this is the only flaw, and I hope they will fix this in a new version because I would definitely want to keep using it
UPDATE: It was only something small that caused this. The screw that was holding the wheel to turn the polarizer went out a bit and because of that, the 2 parts didn't connect well together making the front fell off. This has been fixed in an easy way and Nisi made improvement to the new holders to make sure this does not happen anymore. It was also an 'easy fix' and I am now confident this won't happen anymore in the future.
Buy the Nisi 150mm system for the Sony 12-24:
Holder only : Amazon | B&H
Holder with Landscape CPL: Amazon | B&H
Nisi's own website
Feel free to ask me anything. Thanks for reading :)