Review: The Filter Hive from Mindshift Gear

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Filter Nest by Mindshift Gear review

The Filter Hive, made by Mindshift Gear. The fabric exterior is coated with a water resistant coating to help protect your filters in bad weather.

If you are a landscape photographer it’s quite possible you own several filters that you use regularly. These may include a polarizing filter, three or four stop neutral density filters, graduated neutral density filters (you might have two or three of these) and, if you practice long exposure photography, a 10 stop neutral density filter such as the LEE Filters Big Stopper.

Filters can be difficult to deal with. I’ve tried several solutions, like using a messenger style bag (so I can just reach down by my side and take out the filters I need) and a small waist pack to store them. The problem is that filters come in cases that need to be taken out of the bag, then opened, all without dropping the filter. It becomes even trickier when trying to change one filter for another.

The bottom line – filters are essential for landscape photography, but handling them is a pain in the backside.

Filter Hive

That’s why I was so glad to come across the Filter Hive from Mindshift Gear. Essentially it’s a padded, charcoal coloured case with a removable insert that you use for storing your filters.

The Filter Hive is an extremely well thought out product. There are six slots for storing large rectangular filters (such as those made by LEE filters) and another six for storing smaller circular filters. The large slots are colour coded, making it easy for you to find the filter you are looking for. All the slots have a soft lining that is designed not to scratch glass or plastic, so your filters are safe.

Filter Nest by Mindshift Gear review

A peek inside the Filter Hive shows the larger colour coded slots at the back (ideal for large rectangular filters) and smaller slots at the front. You can also see the soft lining that helps protect your filters from scratches.

The insert is removable and comes with a dust flap to help protect your filters from dirt. The case has a zippered pocket on the front, as does the insert. On the back of the case is a loop so you can attach the case to your belt or to the side belt of Mindshift Gear’s Rotation 180 Panorama Rotating Backpack. There’s also a grab handle with a release buckle that you can use to hang the Filter Hive on the side of your tripod while taking photos.

Filter Nest by Mindshift Gear review

The insert containing the lined and padded slots for filters is removeable.

Filter Nest by Mindshift Gear review

The rear of the Filter Hive shows the belt loop (secured by velcro) and the buckle strap for attaching it to a tripod.

So, how does the Filter Hive perform in practise? The answer is brilliantly. I can store all my filters, removed from their cases, plus stepping rings in the Filter Hive. It’s easy to find and remove the filter that I need, and when I’m changing filters I can remove one from the lens and place it directly into the Filter Hive. It’s like the third hand that I’ve always felt I needed when changing filters up to now, and greatly reduces the chance that I will accidentally drop one.

The Filter Hive hanging from my tripod.

The Filter Hive hanging from my tripod.

Another benefit of the Filter Hive is that there is plenty of space to include a sachet of silica gel, helping to ensure that the filters inside stay free of fungi during the colder, damper, months. There’s also room for lens cleaning accessories like micro-fibre cloths and lens tissues.

Learn more

You can learn more about the Filter Hive, and it’s smaller brother the Filter Nest, from Mindshift Gear’s website by clicking on the links. They are also available from retailers such as BH Photo & Video, Adorama and Amazon.

This YouTube video will also give you a good idea of how the Filter Hive works.

Editor’s disclaimer: this product was donated to the author by MindShiftGear. dPS has not received any compensation and the author’s review is unbiased.

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Andrew S. Gibson is a writer, photographer, traveler and workshop leader. He's an experienced teacher who enjoys helping people learn about photography and Lightroom. Click here to enroll in his new Lightroom course for free.

  • Michael Owens

    At $54 I’d expect a free polariser to get me started lol – but it is true, finding space for all my ND’s and GND’s was a chore.

    I bought a very similar item, but folds away in three steps to be flat, and stores 10 filters behind cushioned windows, only cost me £10 from XCSOURCE on Amazon (probably on US as well as UK).

    I suppose if I increase my collection, who knows I might go full square glass filters (the £90 each ones) and this bag (sorry Hive) would be ideal to hold the bracket as well as the glass!

  • David

    Hi. I have a Cokin equivalent that thankfully came with their Z-Pro kit. It is great for the 6×4″ Grad-ND filters and holds my CP/ND 77mm as well.
    Storing the filter holder (up to 3 stacked) is a pain though. I need to store it with the filters as that is the only time I would use it but it doesn’t really fit…. any ideas?

    I also have a problem as I tightened my step up ring onto my 6 stop/77mm ND filter and now can’t separate them. Any ideas?
    Thanks

  • David, couple of ideas – head to a supermarket / grocery shop and get a couple of those rubber jar lid removers OR, which has worked for me, put them on a flat kinda grippy surface and lightly and as evenly as possible turn the free facing one anticlockwise.

    Another trick that works when you have a circ. filter stuck is rotating the polarises (the free spinning bit) anti-clockwise. Don’t know why it works, but it does. Crazy.

    Thanks for the feedback on the Hive. (thinkTank and MindShift are sister companies, MindShift Gear being our outdoor stuff)

    Thanks!

    Simon

  • Thanks for the feedback Michael, appreciated.

    With a lifetime w’tee, top notch materials and feedback from photographers, the hive is what we came up with.

    Cheers,

    Simon // thinkTank // mindShiftGear.

  • Michael Owens

    Lifetime guarantee is a great selling point. Do you have UK stockists Simon?

  • Pancho

    David,
    – the advise I give my customer is : even if you are using a UV filter ever screwed to your lens, unscrew/ screw it once a week in order to avoid further trouble later …

    – Otherwise, I get good results with WD-40. Spray it and let it 5-10 mins, then gently try to unscrew your filter.
    Regards.

  • Hi David, the Filter Hive has space for storing the Cokin filter holder as well as the filters themselves.

  • Michael Owens

    Cheers Andrew. I appreciate that.

  • Michael Owens

    I also can’t believe that it’s £50. That’s not on a par with the $54 the Americans pay!

  • SnapperStuff are the UK Distributors.

  • Michael Owens

    But without pricing parity? 🙂

  • Hi Michael, bear in mind the US prices are net of sales tax which is added on at checkout. UK prices are inclusive of VAT. Take away the VAT and the Filter Hive comes out at around £41 – or around $US65 at the current exchange rate. The difference isn’t as great as it first looks, especially considering it has to be transported to the UK.

  • Michael Owens

    I suppose if needs must, and I am protecting £90 filters, then £50 isn’t that much in comparison hehe

  • Aitch49

    Hi Andrew, Have you tried the Lee Filters ‘Pouch’? I own the Hive and had a great day with the LF Pouch – not quite so elegant, but I found it a lot more user friendly, and I rather think it will still be in my bag in years to come, whereas the Hive is rather flimsy in comparison. I rather wish I’d bought a Pouch rather than the Hive, but it came out later. Very similar concept – both carry 10 filters in non scratch slots, but the LF version sits vertically, and has really useful zipped gussets on each side that allow access to the filters with greater ease. Oh yes, and it’s cheaper.

  • No I haven’t, but I just looked it up and it looks like a great product. A bit smaller than the Mindshift Gear products and presumably easy to carry around.

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