TEST – Kenko Instant Action filters
Kenko recently released the brand new PRO1D+ INSTANT ACTION filters. I was lucky to received some samples to try it out on the field and get first impressions about how it works. On the paper, this looks like a great opportunity to save time on landscape photography for example ! Let’s find out !
The filters themselves are classic ones as Kenko is already producing : Polarizing, UV, ND, etc. But the big difference lies in the way you can use them since they are magnetic. Now, all you have to do is to screw an adapter ring on your lens and then your are set : you can instantly change from a filter to another one.
I have recently had the opportunity to test the Kenko Instant Action out in different situations. In landscape photography with light changes, event with moving subjects and even bad weather. It each case I won some precious seconds going from a filter to another one. In fact, I only had to pull on the one I wanted to remove before putting the other one back on my lens. In the end, if you like to have your filter cases directly in your pockets as I do, you will need less than 4 seconds to change your filter. And this makes a big difference when some action is taking place in front of you and you either want to capture that specific moment with a different effect or need to compose with shifting lights.
In terms of image quality, I have not seen any difference with my HD Nano or Fusion Antistatic filters. The result is crystal clear, high quality and the filter itself feels very strong. It looks resistant, not the kind you are afraid to break every time you bump into a tree branch with your camera. It feels both safe and beautiful. Also, I was at first a bit worried by the filters possibly falling down in case of a shock. From what I have seen so far, there is nothing to be worried about on this side. It stays perfectly in place (maybe not if you throw your camera away, but don’t do that!).
The only small negative aspect I have noticed is that sometimes the lens cap will not attach correctly on the filter. It happened with my Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L for example. Consequently I had to remove the filter before putting the lens back in the bag to prevent it from coming off. At first, the ND variable also needs a bit of practice to be correctly used. The filter itself tends to turn with the ring when you first use it. With a few tries, I learned to be more gentle with it and then it was very good. These minor flaws are highly compensated by the practicality of the filters.
But you might say : What if I like my current filters and just want to benefit from the magnetic system ? There is also a solution for that ! You can only buy the Instant Action Conversion Ring and the Instant Action Adapter Ring then use any filter you want. Just keep in mind that you have to choose a ring adapted to your lens’ filter size.
To know more about the magnetic system and the filters, you can watch these two videos that explain how they work :
To me, beginning to use Kenko’s Instant Action filters was a game changer. As a field photographer and reporter, I often cover events where the action goes fast or the lights change. Therefore, I cannot afford to be losing time changing from one filter to another. Neither can I renounce to use a specific filter because of the time it would take to mount it on my camera. Also, I like how strong the equipment feels. I don’t have to be worried about it falling down or being scratch every time I am crawling on the ground trying to reach my subject. Indeed, these filters are, to me, perfect for photographers that want to save time on the field or work in difficult conditions.