Matte boxes are one of those products that it's difficult to find much innovation with. But PolarPro's new BaseCamp and Summit systems would appear to offer some compelling features that set it apart.
The new product announcement takes two forms. The first is the new BaseCamp matte box and filter holder system, while the second is an entirely new range filter system, called Summit, which primarily aimed at stills photographers.
The new BaseCamp matte box system from PolarPro
The guys at PolarPro are active outdoors shooters themselves, and this is reflected in the way that PolarPro's existing product line is designed and targeted. BaseCamp has the aim of being the industry's lightest matte box system at 438 grams (including all components). It would appear that this lightness isn't at the expense of materials and build quality either, with the product being constructed from aluminium and carbon fibre throughout.
Unique to BaseCamp is the ability to use a dedicated variable ND (VND)
The filters, which have been designed specifically for it, are constructed such that they can be inserted and swapped over quickly while minimising the risk of finger prints on the glass with large hand grips at the top. All filters also feature an aluminium frame to help protect them in the unfortunate event that you happen to drop one.
The BaseCamp filters are designed to be easy to use in the field, even if you're out in the cold with gloves on.
Another feature that sets BaseCamp apart from the competition is the availability of a variable ND for the system. We reviewed PolarPro's VND set recently and found them to be exceptional performers. But it is unusual to be able to use such filters within a matte box. This will go a long way to making the BaseCamp system appealing to run & gun shooters who need to work fast and want more light/flare control. The lightweight nature of BaseCamp also makes it ideal for use on drones.
The Summit system is a filter solution aimed primarily at stills photographers.
The Summit system is aimed at landscape photographers, and allows toolless filter swapping. Like the BaseCamp system the filters have been designed to minimise the risk of fingerprints on the filter glass by way of the large finger grip/handle. Just like the BaseCamp filters these also feature a protective aluminium frame.
Summit screws directly onto the end of your lens, and creates a totally light sealed system with no risk of leakage.
Both BaseCamp and Summit will be available in different configurations. The BaseCamp system complete with VND filters retails at $699, while the core system is $299. However PolarPro is offering $100 off the first 300 units sold. Set ND filters will be $199, while the circular polariser will be $149. Lastly, a rails kit is available for $119.99.
Likewise, the Summit landscape kit will cost $699 with the core system at $249. Again the company is offering $100 off the first 300 units. Both gradient filters and ND filters cost $199 each.
To find out more about the new systems, visit the PolarPro website.