Why are lens filters such a big deal? If you’re new to the world of photography, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the only thing that genuinely matters was the camera and the lens attached to it. Yet, once your photography skills start to get a little bit more developed, that’s when you begin to understand how filters can further enhance your photography. Generally, filters refine the light before it comes through the lens. They reduce the light down to a certain level, make colours more vibrant, and most importantly, they minimise glare, reflections, or other distortions.
In the world of photography, there is nothing better than Marumi lens filters. This Japanese pioneer offers a wide range of filters, including ND, UV, and Cpl-type filters to suit every photography need you might have.
Many still consider Marumi to be a ‘newcomer’ in Europe and countries further west. Because many still view them as a new player in the market, photographers in those countries are apprehensive about buying Marumi lens filters. Unknown to many, the reality is that Marumi has been producing lens filters for over sixty years now, though so far they’ve been catering mainly to the Asian market.
Marumi might seem like a niche name to some, but they have an excellent reputation among people who have come to rely on their lens filters. They make high-quality lens filters that don’t reduce photo quality when used, and they sell their filters at competitive prices.
Performance And Functionality
Marumi has been producing lens filters since 1952. Let’s be clear about one thing: Marumi only makes one photography accessory: lens filters. Their product line-up consists of about half a dozen different types of lens filters, and nothing else. That shows you that this company has devoted itself to perfecting its product instead of spreading itself too thin, producing other photography accessories.
To simplify this review and void dumping too much information your way, we’re going to assess Marumi’s lineup of lens filters by grouping them into three general categories: Marumi ND, UV, and CPL filters.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Marumi ND Lens Filters
Let’s start with Marumi’s ND lens filters. ND stands for ‘neutral density’, and these filters allow photographers to control the amount of light that gets through quickly and easily. Marumi’s ND lens filters are particularly popular with nature photographers. That’s because they typically take photos with longer exposures of moving parts of nature like waterfalls. When you use an ND filter to take long-exposure photos of nature scenes like that, running water looks a lot smoother, creating a very dreamy picture as a result.
Marumi’s ND lens filters produce exceptionally high-quality images because they’ve applied a multi-coat material to them. Marumi uses this coating mainly to control the light that passes through the filter. However, that coating also protects it from dirt and water, which might distort the image you’re trying to capture.
Marumi UV Lens Filters
Marumi’s UV lens filters are a quick and easy way of protecting your camera’s lens. As you might have guessed, the UV in the name refers to ultraviolet light. Safeguarding your lens with a UV filter is especially crucial if you’re taking pictures outside where there might be a lot of UV radiation. Aside from that, photographing outdoors also poses the risk of debris, sand, and other nasty stuff hitting your camera.
As you can see, UV lens filters are a popular option among photographers. That’s why there’s a higher demand for Marumi UV filters which makes this one of Marumi’s most top-selling products.
Marumi CPL Lens Filters
Last but not least, we have Marumi’s CPL lens filters. CPL stands for Circular Polarizing Filter, and the name in itself tells us a lot already. Photographers typically use polarising filters to darken scenes that are too bright when photographing them, like sunny skies or surfaces that cause a lot of glare. Polarising filters are common, and you can find them in several different forms. Still, the circular ones that Marumi produces are the most popular as they can attach to almost any camera lens.
Marumi’s CPL lens filter is high-quality and very effective at reducing glare when capturing photos outdoors. Similar to the other two Marumi filters, the company has produced the CPL type by coating the glass multiple times to make it more effective at filtering the light that comes through it while also protecting against dust and water.
Overall, Marumi has a strong reputation when it comes to lens filters. There’s no question that they produce high-performing filters that help photographers capture some stunning shots with their cameras. Still, Marumi seems to be a bit of an enigma online, which gives it an air of mystery to photographers outside of Asia. Compared to some other brands, Marumi has more of a cult-like status among photographers who swear by their quality in their independent reviews. That could be because the company has been active mainly in Japan and the rest of Asia for decades where they enjoy more mainstream popularity.
Build Quality And Design
Every single filter that Marumi produces comes from only one place: their factory located in Nagano, Japan. There, Marumi stands proudly among other Japanese manufacturers who specialise in precision machinery.
To get a complete view of the build quality and design of Marumi filters, let’s look at them according to the same categories as before.
Marumi ND Lens Filters
Marumi chose to produce their ND lens filters using Japanese glass. That is high-quality glass for sure, although they do come second to the German-made glass that you find on higher-end lens filters.
The rims on these lens filters are high-quality as well, made of cast metal which gives it an added sturdiness and professional feel. Marumi even made the threads on this filter out of metal, which has the added benefit of preventing cross-threading from happening. The use of metal is commonly found in good lens filters, though you’ll find manufacturers using plastic for cheaper, more basic models.
Here’s something that professional photographers will appreciate: the metal frames on these filters are double-threaded. With this, there’s always the possibility of adding additional accessories to the lens as needed.
Marumi UV Lens Filters
The build quality and design of Marumi’s UV filters are mainly the same as their ND filters as well. The use of the high-quality Japanese glass mentioned before is especially useful here since photographers use the UV filter to protect their lenses from the elements. Japanese glass adds physical protection to the filters without showing too much visible damage on them if they get hit with anything. That’s excellent news, since you’ll be able to continue snapping photos without your pictures capturing any lens damage in them.
Marumi CPL Lens Filters
There’s not much to say about the build quality and design of Marumi’s CPL lens filters. That’s because Marumi has produced these filters at the same high quality as their ND and UV filters. Just as with the previous filters, the glass Marumi uses for the CPL filters is high-quality Japanese glass, the elements are multi-coated, and it has a metal frame with metal threads.
Marumi’s Specialized Filter Series
So far, we’ve reviewed Marumi’s lens filters according to three general types: their ND, UV, and CPL filters. You’ll find that Marumi has further divided these filter types into a few specialised filter series, each built in a unique way to suit photographer’s wants and needs. Let’s take a quick look at some of them.
Marumi offers the EXUS Series lens filters for professional use. According to them, the filters in this series are of only the highest specifications and embody the brand’s six decades of experience and modern technology into its build. As mentioned earlier, this series includes the EXUS Lens Protect SOLID which is almost indestructible. Check it out on Youtube, and you’ll see Marumi’s test videos that demonstrate just how strong these filters are!
DHG Super Series
Marumi’s DHG Super Series filters use only the highest grade materials that the company claims make them even more long-lasting. Marumi made the filters in this category with added protection against water and oil, which reduces wear and tear on them.
This series is simply the more basic version of Marumi’s filters, which are frequently used by both amateur and professional photographers with digital cameras. As the most standard series among all Marumi products, the filters in this category are also among the most affordable ones. That’s great, as it makes these filters accessible to both amateurs and professionals alike.
FIT + SLIM Series
Marumi also caters to photographers who are looking for a reduced form factor in their filters. With their FIT + SLIM Series filters, Marumi offers thinner, lighter filters that do not sacrifice any performance whatsoever.
Even though this is more of a niche product, Marumi also caters to photographers who prefer using square filters on their cameras. What makes Marumi unique in this regard is that they have designed an innovative magnetic system for their square filters. With that system, you can attach and detach square filters easily. Performance-wise, Marumi makes their square filters low-reflection and anti-scratch/static/water/oil just as with their other filters.
Cine ; TV Filters
Amazingly, Marumi also caters to filmmakers with their Cine ; TV filters which offer fantastic performance, particularly when it comes to maintaining colour neutrality in the video footage captured. For this line, Marumi has produced what they call a ‘WSND’ filter, which stands for Wide Spectrum ND. Firstly, this type of filter maintains colour fidelity in the video footage. Marumi also built these videography filters to be highly resistant to scratching and also to have extremely flat surfaces.
Overall, Marumi made their lens filters durable. Do a quick Youtube search, and you can find several test videos that show how Marumi’s most durable filters, such as the Marumi Exus Solid, can withstand direct impact without cracking or breaking. Sure, Marumi’s other lens filters might not be as strong as the Exus Solid, but they’re still pretty durable compared to many different filters on the market. Without a doubt, they’ll keep your camera lens protected against any significant damage!
So, should you use a Marumi lens? Yes, you absolutely should. Marumi lens filters are undoubtedly some of the best-produced filters on the market.
Marumi produces its lens filters using high-quality Japanese glass that not only makes them more durable, and it also makes them more effective at filtering the light that comes through it. On top of that, Marumi coated these filters in multiple layers of their proprietary materials which help you capture only the highest quality images while also protecting against things like dirt and water. Do you see a pattern here? True to their Japanese nature, Marumi not only makes their filters high-performance, but they also build them to last a long time!
Best of all, it’s safe to say that Marumi has a filter for any possible use. Round UV, ND, or CPL lens filters? They’ve got you covered. Do you prefer square filters? Marumi has a product line just for that. Are you capturing video footage? Yeah, they’ve got videography filters, too.
It’s easy to see that Marumi still has a lot of popularity to enjoy across the world. They’ve been in the business for over six decades, but they spent most of that time marketing their amazing filters only to Japan and other Asian countries.
If you’re already familiar with Marumi lens filters, then you already know about their firm and well-deserved reputation. But if you’re a photographer from a place where Marumi isn’t well-known yet, such as North America or parts of Europe, then you have an added advantage over your photography peers. You have an opportunity to become somewhat of a trendsetter by getting your hands-on Marumi filters long before your peers even know what they are. You can bet that Marumi filters will gain more and more popularity across the world in due time.