MindShift Gear’s Filter Hive Case
My goal when photographing is to always get the best possible photo in camera so that I have to spend as little time as possible processing them afterward on the computer. With outdoor landscapes and nature photography that means that I usually use a variety of filters, such as a polarizer, graduated neutral density and solid neutral density filters. One of the biggest issues with using filters as much as I do is how to carry them all so that they’re easy to access while still being well protected. Depending on the camera and lenses that I’m shooting with I use either the Cokin P (85x110mm) or the larger Lee/Cokin Z-Pro (100x150mm) filter systems with slip-in sprocket polarizers. I have tried just about every multi-filter carrying case available, from CD-cases to commercially-made-for-photography filters, and although there are several good ones out there I still haven’t found the perfect one. So when I received the Filter Hive from MindShift Gear I started to wonder if I’d finally found what I had been searching for in a filter case.
The Filter Hive is designed for quick and easy access to six rectangular and/or square filters up to 100x150mm size and six round filters with diameters up to 82mm and up to 15mm thick, while still keeping them well protected from the outside environment and from scratching inside the case. Its external dimensions (W x H x D) are 20.5 x 13.5 x 10 cm and it weighs only 0.2 kg, so considering how much it can hold it’s relatively compact and lightweight.
The Filter Hive is actually two cases, an exterior and a removable inner case. They can be used together or the inner case can be removed and used on its own. According to Mindshift Gear, the all-nylon fabric exterior case is treated with a durable, water-resistant coating while the fabric underside is also coated with polyurethane for superior water resistance. The zippered top opening keeps the elements out and the filters securely in the case. On the front of the exterior case is a small zippered pocket and on the back is a belt mount. The mount is specifically designed to fit securely on the modular rail of the belt of the MindShift Gear rotation180° Panorama and rotation 180° Professional backpacks (I reviewed the rotation180° Professional in the Winter 2014 issue of OPC), but I was able to attach it to the belt of a number of other manufacturers’ photo backpacks. There’s grab handle with quick release buckle that allows it to be hung from a tripod for quick access. I also used the grab handle to help secure the Filter Hive onto the belts of non-MindShift Gear photo backpacks so it didn’t slide off the belt when the belt was undone.
The removable inner case is made of lighter polyester material with a top cover that uses a Velcro-type closure. There’s a small zippered front pocket on it as well to store small accessories. Inside is an accordion or bee hive with padded, felt-lined slots that protect delicate glass and resin filters. There are six large, colour-coded slots for the rectangular and square filters and another six pockets for round filters. Access to all the filters is quick and easy, and they’re securely held in place with little chance of damage.
I’ve been using the Filter Hive for the past four months and I’m really impressed with it. Is it the perfect filter case? It’s close, but for my needs I would prefer more full-sized slots for large rectangular filters, perhaps another two to four, and fewer pockets for round filters; two would be fine for me. Other than the number of slots versus pockets, I can find little fault with it. It’s rugged and made with high-quality material so it should last a long time. At $69.99 it’s reasonably priced; significantly less expensive and more versatile than some of the other filter cases I own.