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Gear – Progrey Filter System (full review)

©Mark Degner Pyramid Mountain and Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park, AB Gear/Settings: Progrey graduated neutral density 3-stop soft-edge filter, Nikon D800e, Nikon 20mm f/1.8 lens, ƒ11@so sec., ISO 100

©Mark Degner
Pyramid Mountain and Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park, AB
Gear/Settings: Progrey graduated neutral density 3-stop soft-edge filter, Nikon D800e, Nikon 20mm f/1.8 lens, ƒ11@so sec., ISO 100

Reviewed by Mark and Leslie Degner

Progrey (www.progreyusa.com) is the new kid on the block when it comes to photographic filters and filter holders. Progrey currently produces four different sized slide-in filter systems and a couple of different neutral density circular screw-in filters. Their smallest system, the G-85X, uses 85mm wide filters, the same size as Cokin P-size filters. Next largest is the G-100X system that takes 100mm wide filters, which are the same size as the Cokin Z-Pro/Lee-size filters. Our review will focus on the G-100X system. The second largest G-120X system uses, you guessed it, 120mm wide filters. The largest and most specialized system that uses 150mm wide filters is the G-150X that is specifically designed for the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens and the Canon 14mm f/2.8 L II lens. For each of these four systems, Progrey produces the filter holder, adapter rings, and a variety of graduated neutral density (GND), reverse neutral density (RGND) and solid neutral density (SND) filters.

According to Progrey the G-100X filter holder ($98 US) and the various adapter rings are “machined to very tight tolerances using lightweight, ultra-hard aerospace aluminum alloy and anodized to an elegant, flat black finish to minimize or eliminate flare and reflections.” Based on the filter holder and several adapter rings that we received we were really impressed with their quality and finish. Since the filter holder is metal it’s relatively thin, which is a great feature as the filters are closer to the front of the lens. The filter holder comes with three pairs of interchangeable filter clips for holding the filters: a single for one filter, a double for two filters and a triple for three filters. Also included are extra screws, an Allen wrench and a neoprene carrying case. The plastic filter clips hold the filters firmly while still allowing them to be moved up and down for proper placement.

The filter holder attaches securely to the adapter rings with a twist screw on the back of the filter holder. We liked the position of the twist screw as it’s less likely to get snagged on things. There are two types of adapter rings, the ultra-slim L series and CPL series, which are available in a number of different sized lenses. The ultra-slim L series ($14 US each) are simply thin threaded metal adapter rings that connect the filter holder to the lens. The CPL series adapter rings ($32 US each) are a unique design in which either a 77mm or 82mm (depending on the model) thin mount screw-in round circular polarizer (purchased separately) can be attached to the adapter ring between the lens and the filters. This is a very interesting design as it allows the use of a polarizing filter stacked with other filters. The CPL series adapter rings have a pair of closeable windows that, when open, allow the adjustment of the polarizer. We found that the CPL series adapter rings performed very well.

Pro grey graduated neutral density 3-stop soft-edge filter

Pro grey graduated neutral density 3-stop soft-edge filter

The Progrey G-100X graduated neutral density (GND) and reverse neutral density filters (RGND) are 150mm long and made from CR-39 material, which is a hard resin or plastic material similar to what plastic eyeglass lenses are made from. The Progrey GND and RGND filters have an anti-reflection and anti-scratch surface to improve their optical quality and protect them. We have been using the Progrey filters for over a month and so far they have held up well and show no sign of scratching.

There are two types of Progrey GND filters, soft-edge and hard-edge ($79 US each). The soft-edge GND filters have a very gradual transition (25-30mm), where as the transition is fairly rapid on the hard-edge GND filters (8-10mm). Both the Progrey soft and hard-edge GND filters are available in four densities: 1-stop (ND 0.3), 2-stop (ND 0.6), 3-stop (ND 0.9) and 4-stop (ND 1.2). The RGND filters ($134 US each) have a fast transition (8mm) and are available in three densities: 2-stop (ND 0.6), 3-stop (ND 0.9) and 4-stop (ND 1.2). Optically all the Progrey GND and RGND filters that we tested were very good and had essentially no detectable colour cast.

The Progrey Genesis Truecolor square glass solid neutral density filters are available in 3 (ND8X), 7 (ND128X), 10 (ND1000X) and 12 (ND4000X) stop densities. Using high-quality glass, these solid neutral density filters are designed to be optically very good with minimal or no colour shift. We tested the 7 (ND128X) and 10 (ND1000X) stop filters and found that they were optically very excellent. The 7-stop filter had no detectable colour cast, however, the 10-stop filter had a slight magenta colour cast, but that was easily removed in post processing.

Each Progrey adapter ring and filter comes with its own nice fabric pouch with a Velcro closure. Another feature that we really like are the rounded corners on all the filters, making insertion and removal quick and easy. Since all the filters are 2mm thick they can be used in filter holders from other companies, and filters from those companies can be used in the Progrey holder.

Overall, we were very impressed with the Progrey G-100X filter holder, adapter rings and filters; not only are they all well made and durable, they are also reasonably priced. All the Progrey filters that we tried out had great optical quality, and other than the Truecolor Genesis10 stop (ND 1000X) filter, all the others had no apparent colour cast. If you are looking for a complete new filter system or just some filters to add to your existing system, you owe it to yourself to check out Progrey.

To read more great reviews from Mark and Leslie Degner please pick up the Fall/Winter 2015 issue of OPC. To never miss an issue please subscribe today!

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