Review – GOBE 100mm Square ND Filter + Discount Code

We’re huge fans of GOBE filters. In fact, we now exclusively use their round screw-in filters on all our lenses. Over the last year, we have tested and written about their UV, ND 2-400 Variable, and ND8-128 Variable filters and they really have hit the mark, in our opinion, as far as quality, price and results have been concerned. You also have to admire a company that can provide all that and still use their profits to plant trees in some of the most deforested regions of the world. What more could you ask for?

Riding on the success of their screw-in filters they have decided to enter into the realm of the very competitive market of square filters. These filters are primarily used tripod-mounted by Landscape Photographers, which would have to be the most popular photography genre amongst professionals and enthusiasts alike. They are generally used on ultra-wide-angle and wide-angle lenses but naturally can be used on any focal length. So there definitely is a very large market for this kind of filter.

Please Note: We are not particularly brand loyal. We will always recommend a product based on its quality and price. If a $132.00 (less the 15% discount we are offering readers) filter provides the same results, if not better than a $240.00 filter naturally we would recommend the cheaper filter regardless of our affiliations with the more expensive brand.

So, why should you buy the GOBE 100mm Square ND Filter? We’ll get to that a little bit further down.

So, what is an ND filter?

An ND filter is a neutral density filter that reduces the amount of light that reaches the film/sensor. The filter usually comes in a variety of strengths varying anywhere between 1 stop to 20 stops. Each filter will have a fixed strength, unlike a screw-in variable ND filter that can be adjusted manually. An ND filter can also be used in conjunction with an ND Graduated filter and CPL filter if using a filter holder.

Why use an ND filter?

There are several reasons why you would use an ND Filter.

  • If you are shooting in the middle of the day and there is a lot of ambient light you may want to use the filter to achieve a slower shutter speed while still attaining the aperture that you desire. In order to achieve the slow shutter speed without the filter may require you to use a small aperture such as f/16 or f/22 and this is not ideal as it may result in lens diffraction (slight loss of sharpness).
  • To obtain long exposures for creative purposes such as smoothing out ripples/waves in water, blurring moving clouds, removing moving people from your shots etc.
  • If shooting video you want to shoot with a shutter speed of close to 1/50th sec (25fps) or 1/60th sec (30fps) however, to acquire the desired aperture in different lighting conditions you will need to use an ND filter. For example, if you wanted to choose an aperture of f/2.8 in high ambient light the shutter speed would be too great. In this case, an ND filter would enable you to obtain the shutter speed required. Generally, a Variable ND may be more practical to use when shooting video as it can be manually adjusted rather than installing a different strength square filter.
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GOBE 100mm Square ND Filters

In general, 100mm Square ND Filters are not cheap. A Landscape Photographer will spend a great deal in buying filters and will generally stick with the one system. Some of these include Lee, NiSi, Formatt-Hitech, Kase, Haida, K&F, Athabasca, just to mention a few. Their prices for a 100mm Square ND Filter range from AUD$90.00 up to AUD$250.00.

Naturally, we cannot test every filter for this review but we will be able to compare the new Gobe 100mm Square ND Filter – 6 stop (AUD$132.00 – see the discount code at the end of this post for a further 15% off) against our NiSi 100mm Square ND Filter – 6 stop (AUD$249.00). Note: You can also purchase the NiSi Filter in the Explorer Range for AUD$219.00 however we do not have this particular filter for comparison.

The GOBE Square ND Filters can be bought in the following strengths. All are ▲▲ quality level.

▲▲ is a Mid-level quality filter and has 16 layer nano-coating providing exceptional protection and durability against the elements you’ll experience shooting in nature.

The Filters

The filters arrived in a 16.5cm x 16.5cm x 2.5cm (6.5″ x 6.5″x 1″) recyclable cardboard box. The filter is presented in an attractive looking Kraftex pouch. The pouch opening is magnetic and therefore is a breeze to open and close. The filter has a snug fit in the case and is also protected by a protective sleeve with a tab on the top making it easy to pull out of the pouch. Also included in the box is a GOBE Cleaning Cloth (you can never have too many of these!). And of course a voucher with your “Tree Code” so that you can visit their website to register your product so that 5 trees can be planted in some of the most deforested countries in the world. Please take a minute to register your product.

The filters are manufactured with Japanese optical glass and coated with 16 layers of nano-coating for extra sharpness and durability. GOBE also offers Lifetime Warranty on the filters. 

The filter fits perfectly into our NiSi V5 Filter holder so no issues there (we would assume this would be the case with all holders as they tend to be standardised for all 100mm filters). The first thing you will notice in comparison to the NiSi version of the filter is the lack of a rubber gasket which is applied to the rear of the filter to reduce any chance of a light leak and affecting your exposure. GOBE plans to introduce this gasket into their Filter Holder once released, which is a great idea as the gaskets are prone to detaching themselves from our NiSi Filters.

Would this be a problem with our exposures using our NiSi V5 Filter Holder? Read on to find out.

Exposure Test

We tested the filter on our Sony A7Riii mirrorless camera with a  Sony FE 16-35 f/4 lens. We used our original NiSi V5 Filter Holder (now discontinued and replaced with the V6 Filter Holder).

Both filters achieved a 6 stop reduction in light. Therefore, the lack of a rubber gasket at the rear of the Gobe filter did not affect the exposure at all. Although, this test was performed in the middle of the day and we only achieved an exposure of 1/10th sec. Longer exposures with the Gobe 6 stop filter may be affected. Once we’ve tested it with longer exposures we will update this post.

Update: we used the 6stop filter in Fiji in February 2020 with an exposure of 13sec and there were no light leaks. See the sunset image below.

Gobe ND64 (6 Stop) 100mm Square ND Filter

View over the Mamanuca Islands from Denarau Island in Fiji
Sony A7Riii + FE 16-35mm f/4 lens + Gobe ND64 (6 Stop) 100mm Square ND Filter. Edited in Adobe Lightroom
19mm – f/11 – 13.0 sec – ISO 100

Colour Cast

We also compared the White Balance settings between AWB (Auto White Balance) and Daylight (5,500K). When set to AWB, both filters looked similar to the shot without a filter attached. When changed to Daylight, the exposure with the NiSi Filter had a slight magenta cast and the Gobe filter went in the opposite direction and showed a green cast. Both are easily corrected in editing. 

Note: This is just a guide. You should always test your filter as it may change from copy to copy.

Test Images

Below are the test images. These were taken purely for testing purposes. As mentioned above, we used a Sony A7Riii mirrorless camera with a Sony FE 16-35 f4 lens mounted on a tripod. The shots were taken as close together as possible. Hover over the images for a closer look.

16mm – f/8 – 1/500th – ISO 100 – AWB (Auto White Balance)
No Filter

16mm – f/8 – 1/10th – ISO 100 – AWB (Auto White Balance)
NiSi 100x100mm Nano IR Neutral Density filter – ND64 (1.8) – 6 Stop

16mm – f/8 – 1/10th – ISO 100 – AWB (Auto White Balance)
Gobe ND64 (6 Stop) 100mm Square ND Filter ▲▲

16mm – f/8 – 1/500th – ISO 100 – Daylight (5,500k)
No Filter

16mm – f/8 – 1/10th – ISO 100 – Daylight (5,500k)
NiSi 100x100mm Nano IR Neutral Density filter – ND64 (1.8) – 6 Stop
Shows a Magenta colour cast

16mm – f/8 – 1/10th – ISO 100 – Daylight (5,500k)
Gobe ND64 (6 Stop) 100mm Square ND Filter ▲▲
Shows a Green colour cast

Test Images Results

We will be performing more tests with the filter and will update this post accordingly as the results above have raised some questions.

Our initial tests have shown that both the NiSi 6 stop and Gobe 6 stop BOTH suffer from a slight loss of sharpness compared to the shot without a filter attached. But surprisingly, we have found the Gobe filter to be slightly sharper than the NiSi filter!!! However, we have found that the Gobe filter does suffer from edge darkness but this could be the result of the lack of a gasket on the filter and causing a light leak. We will attach a NiSi rubber gasket to the Gobe filter to see if this is the cause. Stay tuned!!

ON1 Photo RAW 2020

Conclusion

All 100mm x 100mm square ND filters are created equal when it comes to ease of use. However, what separates these types of filters is obviously the results and the price. At this point in time, until more conclusive testing can be done, GOBE has, in our opinion, produced a winner with their 100mm Square ND filters. 

We Highly Recommend these filters based on the results and price.

In late 2020, GOBE will be releasing a 100mm filter holder, a range of 100mm graduated ND filters, and reverse graduated ND filters. If you would like to stay informed about these new products and to read our reviews please subscribe to our newsletter.

Get 15% Discount

If you use the coupon code ‘widescenes‘ at checkout you will receive a further 15% discount off any item on the GOBE filters website. If, for some reason, the coupon code does not work please contact us and we will have it rectified and advise you.

Disclaimer:  Although we are affiliated with GOBE Filters and receive a commission on any sales when using the coupon code, this review is totally unbiased (We are also NiSi Resellers). As Professional Photographers we would never recommend the use of any product unless we use the product ourselves. We did receive the filter with compliments of GOBE Filters but were not paid for this review. We may also receive commissions on other links in this post, however, we try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice.