PolarPro are well-known within the photography/cinematography community for producing excellent quality filters for drones. So when I got the chance to test out and review the new PolarPro QuartzLine range, made specifically for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, I jumped at it.
By the time you’ve finished reading this article you’ll have a better idea of whether these filters are the right choice for you or not.
Do the PolarPro QuartzLine filters stand up to the demands of landscape photography?
I’ve spent the last few weeks testing out the PolarPro QuartzLine filters and putting them through their paces.
So it’s safe to say I had high expectations.
And I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
This is the full breakdown and review of my experience using QuartzLine filters.
The PolarPro QuartzLine range
PolarPro QuartzLine filters are a range of circular filters that screw on to the ends of lenses.
All of their filters come in five different thread sizes which are 37mm, 46mm, 67mm, 77mm and 82mm. But you have the option to use one of their step-up rings to adapt them to fit most other sized lenses.
The full range of PolarPro QuartzLine filters available are:
- ND8 (3 stops)
- ND16 (4 stops)
- ND64 (6 stops)
- ND1000 (10 stops)
- ND100K (15 stops)
- ND8/PL (3 stops, polarised)
- ND16/PL (4 stops, polarised)
- ND64/PL (6 stops, polarised)
I was particularly excited about seeing how a neutral density + circular polariser as an all-in-one filter would perform.
The polarisation on the ND/PL filters works in the same way it does on any circular polariser. You simply twist the filter to engage or disengage the polarisation effect.
As with any high-end product, you would expect them to arrive packaged well and these filters are no exception.
Inside each box you will find one soft pouch to store your filter in, a microfibre cloth, an information card, a couple of Polar Pro stickers and of course a filter which comes in its own hard plastic box with plenty of padding inside to keep it safe.
I personally prefer to keep the filters inside the hard plastic boxes they come in, rather than the soft pouches, just for extra protection.
But it’s nice to have the choice.
The boxes they come in are made from high-quality plastic with a matte finish on the outside so it won’t get slippery in the wet. I’m confident that if you were to drop the box with the filter inside, it wouldn’t get damaged at all.
The most important thing when it comes to any filters though is how they perform in terms of image quality.
I have to say that during this PolarPro QuartzLine review process I found that they produce some of the highest quality images I have ever seen any filter produce.
Often cheap (or in some cases not so cheap) ND filters produce a colour cast leaving images looking like they have a slight green or purple tinge to them.
With the QuartzLine filters, I couldn’t find any evidence of colour casting at all. In fact, the colour representation in general was extremely accurate. All colours and tones looked very natural.
Perhaps the most important thing in terms of image quality is sharpness. After all, you can correct colour casting in post-production but it’s much harder to fully sharpen a soft image.
Like everyone always says, there’s no point in buying an expensive lens and camera if you are going to put a cheap filter in front of it. You’re going to end up with soft images.
But QuartzLine filters don’t seem to affect sharpness in the slightest.
At 100% zoom, there is no visible negative effect to the sharpness and clarity.
I guess that’s not much of a surprise though considering it says on their website that the fused quartz glass element can resolve up to 100MP sensors.
Which is very impressive considering the megapixel wielding monster that is the Sony A7Riii only has 42.4 megapixels.
So no problems there then.
All polarisers help to slightly increase saturation, they especially bring out blues quite well, and when you engage the polarisation on these ND/PL filters that is exactly what you get.
But in a way that looks natural.
The biggest advantage of using a CP filter though is that the polarisation effect eliminates any glare from reflected light on things like glass and water.
In the photo below, the image on the left is without any polarisation and in the image on the right I twisted the filter to fully engage the polariser.
Both images are the RAW files straight out of the camera and are completely unedited to make it a fair comparison. The only thing I have done to them is slightly crop both and convert them to JPEGs.
As you can see, the colours become richer and more saturated when you engage the polariser and it also removes all glare and reflection off the water.
You might have noticed that the image on the right is slightly darker. That is because engaging the polariser further reduces the exposure by about one stop like all polarisers do. Easily compensated for in post-production or in-camera at the time.
The biggest thing that took me by surprises was the feel of these filters. They feel solid when you hold them in your hand.
My other filters feel light, and to a certain extent, fragile. But these QuartzLine filters have a good amount of weight to them and feel much more robust.
The glass has 16 coating layers on it which makes it extremely scratch resistant. It also has a hydrophobic layer which means water will roll off and oil can be easily wiped off without all the smudging you get with other filters.
The frame and thread are made of brass which not only makes threading the filter on easier and less likely to get stuck on the front of your lens, but looks very cool and stylish as well.
Finally, as proof that the build quality is second to none, PolarPro provide a lifetime warranty with each QuartzLine filter so you know that they are built to last.
Are there cheaper filters out there?
However cheap filters produce cheap images.
I’m certain that you can’t find filters of this quality for this price anywhere else.
A CP and 6 stop ND filter from one of the other well-known manufacturers will cost $400 – $450.
The ND64/PL from PolarPro (which combines the two filters mentioned above into one) currently costs a few hundred dollars less.
You’ll be saving hundreds of dollars and still getting pro-level quality when you go with PolarPro QuartzLine filters.
My only suggestion to make QuartzLine filters even better
I’m not going to say that the only downside to these filters is the price like you might be expecting me to.
Because it’s not a downside.
Like I’ve already said, for what they are and compared to other brands they aren’t even that expensive.
Again, yes you can buy a $20 filter, but then your images will look like you have bought a $20 filter. If you want high-end pro gear that produces stunning photos then, in my opinion, the PolarPro QuartzLine filters are the way to go.
My only suggestion would be to make some kind of lens cap that fits over the step-up rings.
Since I needed a step-up ring to use these filters, I thought it would be nice to be able to leave it attached to my lens permanently. That way I wouldn’t need to screw it on before the filter every time I wanted to use it.
With a lens cap that fits over the end of the step-up ring I wouldn’t have to remove it every time I finish a shoot either.
But it’s a minor concern at the end of the day. It would only save me a few seconds, but it’s always nice to have one less thing to worry about when setting up your gear.
PolarPro QuartzLine Review Conclusion
If you are serious about photography and have good quality lenses, then I recommend investing in the exceptionally high quality QuartzLine filter system.
Even if you don’t have the best gear just yet, but do plan to upgrade at some point in the future, I would still recommend going with these. Because, if you look after these filters, there is no reason why they won’t last you a lifetime.
And then when you do finally upgrade lenses/body you’ll already have the best filters to get the best results out of your gear.
I hope you’ve found this review useful. If you have and you’re going to buy these filters, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know what other photographers think of them.