Gobe were kind enough to send me a set of their latest filters, and so I hopped on the ferry to the Isle of Man for a few days to put them through their paces.
There are the standard ND's in the set: ND4, 16, 32, 64, and they also sent me a new, shiny, and incredibly interesting filter that I couldn't wait to try: the ND1000. I was most excited about that filter, and I was right all along. It's a beast. The creative opportunities are immense.
With the ND1000, you can produce long exposures in midday sun. And I'm not talking 2 second exposures. I'm talking 30, 40 seconds. It's amazing.
I headed to the coast to see if I could get some creative shots of the sea against rocks. I got some crackers, if I do say so myself. The quality of the filters made post processing a dream too. I was concerned that there'd be a huge colour cast with the filter being so strong, but the colour cast was kept to a minimum, if any. I am so so impressed.
Moving water turns to mist with a long enough exposure. you've probably seen these effects before. I love it. It adds so much more interest to a landscape photo. And with this filter, it's an incredibly easy effect to achieve.
I've often found filters to be more of a necessity than a creative endeavour, and never really got too excited about them before. But let me tell you, this ND1000 is NEVER leaving my camera bag again. It's also super handy if you need to get rid of any pesky people. I was at the coast, and a few fellow tourists were walking to the edge... right in the middle of my shot. How inconsiderate! ;)
But fear not. Provided they're not standing still, with a long exposure, as if by magic... they disappear all together. I'd love to try this at a tourist spot, like at a famous building, and see how clean the image can be.
So, consider me in love with the ND1000. But the other filters are equally as impressive.
The set of standard ND's are great for similar effects when you're closer to golden hour, and you don't need such a strong ND filter. They're also a life saver when it comes to video. With video, you want to keep your shutter speed relatively low to create the most cinematic appearance as possible. sometimes that's impossible in harsh lighting conditions. The ND's work a treat to keep your shutter speed low, and because they're such high quality you don't have to worry about it affecting the colours of your image. You can also stack these various strength ND's to dial in the exact strength, so it's very versatile.
Finally, I tested out the circular polariser. I've had a lot of different polarisers in the past, from various brands, and I have to say the Gobe CPL is up there with the best of the best. The build quality is superb - and this matters, given how much you'll be turning this particular filter - and the results are amazing. CPL filters are a must for landscape photographers, and photographers in general, in my opinion. Why? Because there is no way at all to reproduce their effects in post production. You have to get it right in camera. Check the photos in the gallery below to see what I mean. Skies will pop, and nasty reflections through glass or water will magically disappear. An incredible tool to have.
Gobe as a brand are a wonderful bunch. They plant trees for every filter sold, so while you're treating yourself to a new piece of gear, you're also helping the environment. I love that.
The way you can stack these filters to transport them is inspired too. They provide a front and rear metal cover, so you can take them with you without any chance of the glass getting scratched. Just unscrew the filter you need, and store the rest together. Genius.
And here's a pro tip: You don't have to buy filters for every different size. Buy the filter in the largest size you want to use, then buy step-down rings to different sizes so you can use the filter with other lenses. For instance, I have the 52mm filters, which fit my Olympus 9-18mm perfectly. But with a 52-49mm step-down ring, I can now use the same filters on my lumix 25mm 1.4, as well as all my Meike and Olympus vintage lenses. And the 49-37mm step down ring means I can use them on the stock lens that came with my GX80. So you can get loads more use out of the filters at very little extra cost. I'll leave a link below to a set of step-down rings to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, but check they have the sizes you need in the set before buying.
And finally... a little bonus for you, lovely reader. Gobe have been kind enough to provide us with a discount code, so if you'd like to buy any of the products mentioned - or anything else in their lovely filter collection - then you can use the code FRIENDSOFEMILY at the checkout for 15% off! How lovely is that? If you buy the filters, tag me in your photos on Instagram (@emilymaylowrey) and I'll be sure to check them out!
Gobe website: http://geni.us/AgKM7
Step Down Rings on Amazon: http://geni.us/zgALpGE
Here are some photos! I've included the unedited versions just to show you how impressive these filters are, straight from the camera.