MindShift Filter Hive Review - The best filter case around?
I swear. I tried. I tried really hard; but, in the end, I did it. I bought a filter case. Why? Because if you use a decent number of filters, and if you use them as frequently as I do, you can’t really live without one.
Don’t get me wrong, the pouches that Lee (or any other filter’s brand) provides are absolutely useful if you just have (or need) one or two filters. They are great if you want to save some space inside your camera bag or you want to travel light.
Unfortunately, when you start having three, four filters, a filter holder and maybe even a couple of adaptor rings, then you find yourself having to deal with more bags than you really want to.
So yes, after a couple of months struggling with all my little pouches and tins, I finally decided to buy a filter case: the MindShift Filter Hive.
The design of this case is what really stands out against other brand’s products, in fact it is quite unique. You have a bigger waterproof padded bag on the outside and, inside of that, a smaller bag that actually holds the filters.
The idea behind this design is that if you want to keep your filter case outside of your actual camera bag, maybe attached to your tripod or to the exterior of your backpack, you can do so still maintaining a good level of protection and waterproofing.
But, if you need something smaller, you can remove the inner insert and use it on its own, saving both weight and space, but sacrificing the extra protection and the room for the holder (that goes inside the outer bag but outside the internal insert).
The outer bag presents a zipper pocket on the front (to store small things like lens cloths or an eyepiece cover) and, on the back, a belt loop and a little strap with a side release buckle (to attach the case to a tripod).
Now, I find the belt loop to be too big to fit the MOLLE attachment points of my backpacks, but this is probably because it’s specially designed to only fit other MindShift products, not really a big deal for me. Anyway, like the inner insert, the outer bag can be used on its own too, which is pretty great.
The inner insert can hold up to six 4x6” (100x150 mm) or 4x4” (100x100 mm) filters and six round filters up to 82mm diameter. It also presents color coded organization for 4x6” filters, a dust cover flap, a small zipper pocket and a velcro strip on the bottom to securely connect with the outer case.
Also, the horizontal layout of the bag allows a much easier and safer handling of square filters.
Overall, a very smart design, that differentiates the Filter Hive from others, more traditional, filter cases.
Not really much to say here. Both the outer and the inner cases are extremely well built. The outer one is well padded and waterproofed, the inner inserts are really soft and spacious. The zippers are smooth and the fabrics durable.
A top quality item. Maybe a little expensive, but certainly worth the money.
Thanks to its clever design using the Filter Hive results simple and convenient. It’s one thing less you have to think about, just attach the bag to the tripod and you will have everything you need at your fingertips.
Indeed, the thing that I enjoy the most about the Filter Hive is having everything related to my filters stored in one single bag, from the filters themselves to the little screws and screwdriver that comes with the holder. If I need filters I can just take my Filter Hive with me knowing that everything I might need is already in it.
Sadly, if the Filter Hive can contain all this stuff is because it is HUGE when used with the outer case. I found it very frustrating when I had to figure out a way to put it inside my camera bags at first. I really hope MindShift will produce a slimmer version of it, removing the round filters slots but still maintaining the two-in-one bag configuration.
Anyway, for the moment, you just need to spend a little bit of time figuring out the better way to place it inside your camera bag without creating too many dead spaces (only if you want to pack it within the outer case, of course).
Overall, the MindShift Filter Hive is an essential piece of equipment if filters are an important part of your photographic process.
Does its job, protecting filters and making them easy to reach and carry around. It’s expensive, but worth the money. It’s big, but worth the space. Highly recommended.