You may have heard of the WonderPana filter system but, you’re probably confused about what 145 and XL mean or what a WonderPana 66 is. In this post we’ll introduce all the terms related to the WonderPana filter system.
WonderPana is a series of filter holders engineered to fit super wide-angle and ultra wide-angle lenses with bulbous front elements that do not have filter threads. These custom-made filter holders securely fit onto your lens and add a stylish look to your gear. Looks aside, these filter holders are constructed from a lightweight aluminum alloy and are built to last.
The WonderPana System enables the supported lens to use 145mm filters made by Fotodiox. The 145mm diameter is used prevent light leak while reducing the possibility of vignetting and to unify the system size across supported lenses.
However, not all wide-angle lenses can be supported with the 145mm platform, so an entire line of larger filter holders have been created for these lenses. This line is known as WonderPana XL and uses 186mm filters for larger wide-angle lenses that would heavily vignette with 145mm filters.
Cores for both WonderPana and WonderPana XL systems are lens specific with a custom design for a precision fit. The cores designed for lenses that are supported through the 145mm WonderPana system are titled “WonderPana 145” and for lenses supported by the 186mm WonderPana system are called “WonderPana XL”.
Now comes the tricky part! The WonderPana 145 system comes in three variants known as Classic, FreeArc, and Absolute. WonderPana XL cores are exclusively FreeArc.
What are these variants?
WonderPana Classic (previously WonderPana 145 Core)
The Classic core is the original WonderPana and uses the 145mm platform for filtration. The Classic core can be used with an accessory known as the WonderPana 66 upgrade bracket, which mounts to the side of the core with brass thumb screws. This bracket allows the WonderPana Classic core to be used with 6.6-inch filters such as the 6.6x8.6in Graduated Neutral Density filters by Fotodiox. This setup allows for the use two rectangular filters or one round and one rectangular filter to be used simultaneously on the Classic core. Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filters come with their own concerns and that’s where the FreeArc comes into play.
The FreeArc core is an enhanced version of the Classic core featuring a mechanism that allows the core to rotate 360°. This rotating action was added for optimal use with the WonderPana 66 upgrade bracket and GND filters. The horizon line of the GND filter can be easily adjusted through this motion; a feature missing from the Classic core. The FreeArc core is available in both the WonderPana and WonderPana XL systems. When shopping WonderPana products please note that the WonderPana FreeArc core for the 145 series is known as the “WonderPana 145 FreeArc” and when sold in a kit with the WonderPana 66 bracket it is known as the “WonderPana FreeArc 66”. As we create holders for new lens models and bring in new inventory, we will be phasing out the Classic core in favor of the more versatile FreeArc core.
Since the WonderPana XL uses larger filters it also uses a larger version of the WonderPana 66 known as the WonderPana XL upgrade bracket. This bracket supports the use of 8x10in filters, such as the Fotodiox 8x10in GND filters.
Our third variant, the WonderPana Absolute core, is only available in the WonderPana 145 system. Just like the Classic core, the Absolute core allows 145mm filters to be used on supported wide-angle lenses. In addition, the Absolute core provides the ability to use Cokin XL and LEE SW150 filters by attaching the appropriate holder to the provided retention rings. These retention rings were redesigned to allow the third-party filter holders to sit closer to the lens reducing the possibility of light leaks.
WonderPana 145 Filters and Accessories
The WonderPana 145 series comes with a variety of filter options and accessories. The basic 145mm filters include a multi-coated UV(MC-UV), circular polarizers (CPL, and neutral density (ND) filters.
The MC-UV not only protects your lens, it absorbs ultraviolet light, reduces the blue cast caused by natural daylight and will help reduce haze in the sky. We offer two polarizer options: the basic CPL and a multi-coated CPL (MC-CPL). Both versions can be used to increase color saturation and reduce reflections. The MC-CPL will further reduce haze and blue color casts from natural daylight. All three of these filters are double threaded, which means you can stack one on the other to fit your needs. Our ND filters come in ND4 (2-stop), ND8 (3-stop), ND16 (4-stop), ND32 (5-stop), and ND1000 (10-stop). These filters are multi-coated to minimize color shifts during long exposures and come in two variants; Slim (double threaded) and Ultra-Slim (single thread). The Slim variants are great for stacking filters to get higher ND values or for use in conjunction with CPL or UV filters. Keep in mind when stacking filters, you run into the possibility of vignetting. While this can be corrected via cropping or in post, it can take a bit to become accustomed to. The Ultra-Slim style is great for stacking atop double threaded filters to minimize vignetting, as well as being excellent stand-alone filters. All 145mm filters are made from hardened, optical glass material helping to keep them affordable, as well as durable.
Fotodiox 6.6x8.6in graduated neutral density filters are an excellent tool for properly exposing the sky without darkening the rest of the scene in landscapes. Fotodiox offers five variants of GND filters. Standard GND filters, providing a gradient across the entire filter from darkest to clear, come in four variants: ND4 (2-stop) and ND8 (3-stop) with either a ‘soft edge’ or ‘hard edge’. Soft edge GND filters are ideal for horizons that have imperfect lines, such as a tree covered hill, whereas hard edge GND filters work well for clean horizons like desert scenes. There is also reverse GND filter where the darkest portion of the filter is in the center. The reverse grad is and ND4 (2-stop) soft-edge filter that is perfect sunsets and sunrises.
Accessories for the WonderPana system include the previously discussed WonderPana 66 upgrade bracket, and a series of step-up rings. For the WonderPana 145 system we offer 77mm, 82mm, and 95mm step-up rings in both standard and FreeArc (rotating version). All FreeArc step-up rings will allow you to attach the WonderPana 66 upgrade bracket to utilize rectangular filters on lenses with standard filter threads. Additionally, we offer a 145mm to 186mm standard step-up ring that allows you to use 186mm round filters on any WonderPana 145 core. Each core comes with a heavy-duty, 145mm inner-pinch lens cap that can also be purchased separately. We also offer a screw-in metal 145mm lens cap accessory.
WonderPana XL Filters and Accessories
Much like the WonderPana 145 series, the WonderPana XL system offers MC-UV, CPL, MC-CPL, ND4, ND8, ND16, ND32, and ND1000 186mm filters but only in the Ultra-Slim variant. Our 8x10in GND filters are also available in the same variants as the 6.6x8.6in GND filters. WonderPana XL step-up rings are also available in the FreeArc style for 77mm, 82mm, and 95mm lens filter threads to 186mm. We also offer a heavy-duty, 186mm, inner-pinch lens cap for the WonderPana XL system.
WonderPana offers creative filtering solutions for nearly any scenario. Equipped with the information in this post, you can now shop WonderPana with relative ease and find the best solution for your needs. The WonderPana filter system supports 19 different ultra wide-angle and super wide-angle lenses with dedicated cores, at the time of writing. When it comes to wide-angle lenses WonderPana is your complete, creative solution. With the addition of the WonderPana step-up rings, WonderPana is the only filter solution you need to carry for your landscape shoots.