Using filters for any kind of photography and filmmaking has always been an extra process to consider. This new filter system from H&Y just might be the most innovative one to date.
For the past half-decade or so, H&Y has been known to be one of the most daring filter brands in the market. The brand first made waves when it released the first magnetic filter holder system, the H&Y K-series, which we reviewed a couple of years ago. This filter system provided not just a unique way of mounting filters but gave the user utmost efficiency in mounting and replacing multiple filters in-between shots.
In 2020, the brand also released the RevoRing that eliminated the hassle of needing to have multiple sizes of the same filters to fit different lens sizes. The RevoRing served not just as an adapter but as an almost universal filter to fit a range of lens sizes. This new filter system merges the innovations of both the RevoRing and the K-series filter system into one that offers convenience, efficiency, and versatility in using filters for both photography and video to a whole new level.
The H&Y RevoRing Swift System
The Swift System is made up of a variety of modular components that build a filter holder system tailored to the needs of the user. Traditional filter holders would often have fixed slots for circular and/or square filters that would otherwise be left as a blank space prone to flares when not in use. Older filter systems would also limit the number of filters used at one time, as well as make it impossible to mount other accessories such as lens hoods or matte boxes. The new H&Y RevoRing Swift system offers multiple options in lens mounting, multiple options in using ND filters, as well as using square filters, and other accessories.
To better understand the system, let’s divide it into 3 layers:
The system has 2 main ways for mounting onto lenses. The first one is the foundation of the versatility which is the RevoRing itself. The base layer can either be a bare RevoRing adapter (with no filter), a RevoRing VND+CPL, or a RevoRing CPL. An additional middle layer can be used such as a clip-on magnetic ND filter, a short star filter, or a black mist filter. This first layer already offers multiple options in terms of filters whether or not additional layers will be used.
One limitation of using a RevoRing as a base layer is the fact that it is necessarily thicker than most filters which causes a vignette on some ultra-wide-angle lenses, specifically those with relatively bigger barrels such as the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM. The vignette appears minimally at 16mm with the RevoRing on but increases in size as more layers are mounted.
To overcome this challenge, H&Y also came up with the option of using thin (size-specific) adapter rings for ultra-wide angle lenses. These adapter rings are also magnetic and take the place of the RevoRing instead. They also made dedicated adapter rings for lenses with unique filter mount features such as the Sony 14mm GM, the Laowa 15mm f/4.5 shift lens, and many others.
The Bridge Layer
The secondary layer comes with 3 options. A thinner bridge ring that, as the name implies, bridges the base layer with the front accessory layer, a drop-in filter rack that can accommodate a drop-in filter, or a magnetic Variable-ND filter that comes in 1.5-5 stop and 6-9 stop variants.The drop-in filter rack has a removable cover and takes in just one drop-in ND or ND+CPL filter. This can either be used as the first layer for ND filters, or the second if using a VND on the base. This allows for multiple ways to combine and stack ND filters specifically for long exposures.
The bridge ring, on the other hand, acts only as an attachment point. Since the use of magnets for mounting requires compatibility in polarity, the bridge ring has one side that connects to the polarity of the base while the other side connects to the polarity of the third layer. The front accessories made for the third layer (filter holder, hood, and matte box) were not made to mount directly on the base layer which makes the bridge layer necessary.
There are 3 front accessories available. A matte box that is a great option for filmmakers, a collapsible rubber lens hood that has a variety of practical applications, and a square filter holder for square ND filters and GNDs.
The magnetic square filter holder is entirely similar to the front part of the K-series filter holder which has magnetic attachment points for the square filter frames and a friction lock knob that acts as an added way to secure the first filter. Just like the K-series, there are no actual slots for filters so there is no physical limitation on how many layers one would want to use. However of course it is important to consider that more layers would increase the probability of vignette, flaring, as well as sharpness degradation.
As mentioned above, the front accessories do not have a way of mounting without either the bridge ring or the drop-in filter rack because of the polarity of the magnets. This means that the extra width of the bridge ring might be unnecessarily causing a vignette. It would be great if the brand offered reversed-polarity versions of the front accessories to make it possible to use them without the middle layer just as an added option for modularity.
The common problem with most filter systems is the limitation on how universal a set of filters can be. For the longest time, one would commonly have to own a different set of filters for a specific genre instead of all the filters being usable for multiple applications. In addition, of course, different sized lenses would either mean separate sets for each size, or separate adapter rings for each size. The major benefit that the H&Y Swift system offers is being able to use filters and accessories as either standalone or components of a stack of filters for almost any photography genre and workflow involved. It also eliminates the need for adapters and different sizes of filters.
One of the most common applications of filters in shooting portraits and similar workflows is to limit light in order to shoot with a wide aperture for background blur when ambient light is too strong. For this, a simple RevoRing VND+CPL is the easiest option. Some photographers might opt for a setup with a Variable ND filter without a CPL, in which case a bare RevoRing adapter plus a Magnetic variable ND would be a great option. On the other hand, one can choose to use a non-variable ND filter with a RevoRing adapter or a thin magnetic adapter to mount on the lens. All these combinations can be topped off with the collapsible rubber hood if necessary.
Some photography workflows require filters to achieve motion blur. One common example would be shooting moving subjects outdoors on a bright day such as during sporting events. Similar options are available to achieve this effect wherein instead of maximizing aperture, one would want to be able to slow down the exposure to synchronize with the movement
The Swift system alongside various options of the RevoRing offers a lot of applications for shooting videos. Depending on the scenario, the RevoRing CPL or Variable ND filters can solve some of the most common problems in exposure. The magnetic clip-on short-star or black mist filters can give the footage a unique look. Either individually or as an add-on, variable ND filters can be used on the bridge layer to reduce light. Depending on the need, the filmmaker can either use the square filter holder with GND filters, or use the Mattebox.
For landscape photography and other similar long exposure workflows, the H&Y Swift system offers a vast number of combinations. H&Y’s development of the RevoRing and magnetic clip-in filters has allowed landscape photographers to use variable ND filters for long exposures without having to worry about the cross-polarization artifact. This simple setup can also be used with the collapsible lens hood either to block-out unwanted light and flare, or as a physical barrier to the elements such as mist from strong water currents or waterfalls.
The Swift system can also be used as a full-on square filter holder system with a RevoRing adapter or thin magnetic adapter in front. This can either be used with drop-in filters on the rack or with square filters on the holder attached to the bridge ring. This allows for a multitude of options in choosing and combining filters especially for shooting really long exposures, as well as using multiple GNDs to manage high-contrast shooting scenarios.
As an additional benefit, the dedicated adapter rings for lenses with unique front elements and mounting mechanisms such as various ultra-wide-angle primes from different brands and the shift-lenses from Laowa make the system even more diversely compatible which eliminates the need for specialized filters and holders for a specific lens.
The H&Y Swift system is an unexpected evolution of one of the most useful tools in both photography and filmmaking. Much like any other piece of gear, the usability and compatibility of specific filters with multiple lenses had significant limitations. This new set of accessories is successful in trying to bridge those gaps. Moreover, the modularity offered by this system allows for a much more efficient way of mounting, removing, and replacing specific parts to build the exact setup needed by the user. While it does have limitations, the H&Y Swift system is a one-of-a-kind tool that can entirely change how imaging creatives use filters.
What I Liked:
- Wide variety of modular components
- Magnetic mounting
- Multiple applications for various styles and genre
- Alternative mounting options
What Can Be Improved:
- Front accessories (filter holder, hood, matte box) cannot be used without a bridge layer
- Vignette on some ultra-wide-angle lenses when mounted using the RevoRing
Get the H&Y Swift Filter System here. (This is an affiliate link.)