I would like to preface this review saying this is for photography and video nerds only. It’s a short and sweet review, although my feelings aren’t so sweet about it. If you’ve never said, “I’m a hybrid shooter and gee willikers, I wish I could quickly switch between my various lens filters quickly without having to screw and unscrew them all the time,” then go ahead and click off this article as it has zero bearing on your life.
For the rest of us, it’s party time.
I used to own the Panasonic G85. It was a great camera. I used it to film my Sri Lanka video series and my upcoming Beijing travel film. I have nothing but great things to say about it. It’s a great option if you’re in the market for a good video + photo camera and don’t want to sell a kidney.
I have followed Caleb Pike, a filmmaker and instructor on YouTube, since I first picked up a camera. He created a great video tutorial guide on the G85 and it’s only $20. That’s a small investment when you drop $900 on a camera. I highly recommend the course for beginners or anyone new to the Panasonic menu system. Here’s the trailer:
In the video, Caleb recommends using the Manfrotto Xume Lens Adapter and Filter Holder. They are purchased as a pair and one cannot work without the other and purchasing both will put you back $42 (at the time of writing this article). What do they do?
Almost all of your filters, from ND to UV, have a metal frame. This Xume adapter is a magnet that screws into your lens thread. They come in various sizes and I purchased the 58mm for my Panasonic 12-35mm lens.
When filming, I change locations quickly and often from the bright sunny outdoors to either somewhere dark (like a cave on a kayaking trip) or something not as extreme like the lowlight ambience of a restaurant. This means I need to remove my variable ND filter quickly to adapt to my new surroundings. Sometimes removing it is all you need to do or you may have to put on another filter like a polarizer or a UV filter. Removing filters, storing them in your camera bag, taking out a new filter, screwing it on, and then repeating the whole process when you go back outside is a huge pain in the neck. I truly hate it. It’s the bane of my filmmaking existence. Perhaps not that severe, but still quite annoying.
Caleb informed me that these Manfrotto Xumes will solve that problem. You can now accomplish in seconds what usually takes minutes!! Yes, please!
However, the reality is the magnetic power of the Xume combo isn’t strong enough to support the variable ND filters I use on my different lenses. What’s sad about this is that my ND filters are quite compact and light. Yes, they have a strong build, but they aren’t the huge plates of glass the pros use or even the 67mm size thread of my larger lenses. I expect a $40+ magnet to be able to hold my filters. Very disappointing.
This Xume pair may work for the lightest filters out there, but that would require some trial and error on your part to find the filters that work best for this setup. We, as Manfrotto customers, deserve better than that.
My recommendation is to skip this filter holder + adapter combo. Perhaps Manfrotto will get it together and make a product that actually works. Until then, it looks like we’re stuck with the inconvenience of removing and switching between our filters.
C’mon, Manfrotto, you can do better.