Pan’s Snap Filter for iPhone – a Arms-on Evaluate


Pan's Snap Filter for iPhone – a Hands-on Review

Cameras in smartphones preserve getting higher and higher yearly, however they lack one factor to make extra skilled pictures with them: filters. Choices up to now have been cumbersome and had their limitations, however Pan’s Snap Filter (on Kickstarter for just a few extra days) ups the sport considerably for iPhone customers. So buckle up, right here is my Pan’s Snap Filter Evaluate.

Tim Pan is a tech YouTuber (with the channel Mediastorm) from China, and except you converse Chinese language, you would possibly by no means have seen the channel – but these guys do plenty of digicam and tools critiques, they usually do a tremendous job certainly. I watched a few of their movies, a lot of which supply English subtitles, and they’re positively value following in our area, with a really recent and open model. Mediastorm have been invited by Apple to shoot one of many launch movies for (and utilizing the) iPhone 13 Professional in China, and out of necessity to create the nicest wanting footage, created this filter tray. We reported about their new Kickstarter marketing campaign for this product just lately already.

Pan's Scheme Snap Filter system for iPhone
Pan’s Scheme Snap Filter system for iPhone. Picture credit score: CineD.

How does Pan’s Snap Filter Base work?

It’s so simple as it’s good: Pan’s Snap Filter is a magnetic filter system that attaches to the again of the iPhone through its built-in MagSafe magnet. I truly can’t consider no one has considered this earlier than – there isn’t any cumbersome case that you might want to “power” your iPhone into, you merely take the Snap Filter Base, maintain it to the iPhone’s again, and – snap – it’s connected. Accomplished.

The backside of Pan's Snap Filter Bases
The bottom of Pan’s Snap Filter Bases exhibits the long-lasting Magsafe circle to connect to the iPhone. Picture credit score: CineD.

The Snap Filter Base is manufactured from a really stable, hefty piece of aluminum, and absolutely has some weight to it. I’m guessing it must be as thick as it’s with a view to maintain very stably on the again of the iPhone, and that it does remarkably effectively. If you maintain it, you received’t fear that it may possibly fall off – even whenever you un-attach and connect new filters to the holder. But it’s additionally not an issue eradicating it from the again of the telephone. Earlier than I examined it, I used to be frightened that one in all this stuff – fearing it could fall off or worrying you possibly can’t get it off anymore – can be the case, however they in some way have discovered the candy spot, so the gadget can be utilized with confidence.

Normal and Kickstarter special edition versions
Regular and Kickstarter particular version variations of Pan’s Snap Filter Bases for iPhone 13 (Professional) and Professional Max. Picture credit score: CineD.

So now that we’ve the Pan’s Snap Filter Base connected, let’s check out every one of many included filters.

Attaching the filters

The filters themselves should not connected magnetically to the Snap Filter holder, they slide in mechanically. There’s a lever that may click on as soon as they’re in securely, which can also be very reassuring. The identical is true for releasing them – no points in anyway there. The filters’ body is constructed from the identical aluminum, so I don’t assume one wants to fret concerning the filters carrying out over time when utilizing the slide-in mechanism to connect them.

Slide-in filter mechanism
Slide-in filter mechanism. Picture: CineD

What actually stands out for me is the truth that Pan’s filters cowl ALL the cameras of an iPhone (even the three cameras of the Professional variations) with none limitation. That’s not at all times the case with different clip-on filters that usually don’t work on all of the cameras, notably the wide-angle usually get much less love as a result of some filters will vignette there. Plus on high of that, the attachment mechanism implies that the entrance aspect of the iPhone will not be affected in any means both. The entire system feels prefer it’s made with sensible on a regular basis use in thoughts. An enormous plus.

The filters

ND filters

Most significantly, Pan’s Snap Filter system consists of 4 ND filters, with -2 / -4 / -6 / -8 stops, which is after all wanted to get extra cinematic movement from a telephone. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to preserve your shutter velocity at roughly “twice” the body fee, with a view to get cinematic movement. For instance, when capturing 24p, it’s best to have your shutter at 1/forty eighth of a second. Any sooner shutter ends in stuttering, staccato-style movement, as a result of the person frames are too clearly uncovered – we want movement blur to create the phantasm of motion. And that is precisely why ND filters are the one most essential accent for anybody who needs to create a video that appears skilled (on any digicam, together with smartphones after all).

ND filter attached to Pan's Snap Filter system
ND filter connected to Pan’s Snap Filter system. Picture credit score: CineD.

Pan’s ND filters that include the Snap Filter system provide a fantastic vary that is sufficient to cowl overcast to full-blown sunny days. One problem is the truth that adjusting the shutter velocity when capturing iPhone will not be one thing that’s simply accessible – I like to recommend utilizing FiLMiC Professional if you’re critical about filmmaking in your iPhone, as a result of it lets you alter nearly each setting of the digicam together with shutter velocity, and likewise document in higher high quality (if you’re not deterred by their new subscription mannequin which has upset lots of people).

It’s refreshing to see shifting pictures shot on the iPhone recorded on the right shutter velocity, with the ensuing nice-looking, clean and cinematic movement. I feel I’ll use these ND filters on my iPhone on a regular basis now!

The standard of the filters appears to be very excessive – low-cost ND filters usually have a coloration tint, I couldn’t discern any tint in Pan’s Snap Filters … they’re very constant and clear.

Black Mist filter

One of many largest points on iPhones is the fixed synthetic sharpening that’s occurring to the photographs in each video and photograph modes and the excessive distinction. The Black Mist filter counteracts each of those points. Humorous sufficient, when taking a look at pictures shot with this filter I fully overlook that they’ve been shot on a telephone. The softening could be very pleasing to the attention and can also be very flattering on faces when taking portraits, notably in daylight and with laborious shadows. Sooner or later, it could be good to see the Black Mist filter additionally in different strengths.

Gold Streak Filter.
Gold Streak Filter. Picture CineD

Blue and Gold Streak Filters

It is a enjoyable means of “faking” the everyday horizontal anamorphic lens flare impact when you’ve gotten a lightweight in your shot. It creates huge streaks whenever you level it instantly at a supply. The impact can nonetheless be there for oblique gentle sources, however subtler. In some circumstances once I examined it, the streaks have been seen additionally on surfaces, which stunned me, and was a little bit distracting.

Pan's Snap Filters
Pan’s Snap Filters – right here you see the Blue and Gold Streak Filters, each for vertical and horizontal capturing. Picture credit score: CineD.

On the wide-angle digicam of my iPhone 13 Professional Max, the streaks didn’t present as one line, it was an interrupted line in each instructions from the supply. This might need to do with processing, however I’m not certain – I couldn’t get a straight line to indicate on the wide-angle digicam.

Gold Strike Filter, wide angle lens
Gold Streak Filter used with iPhone’s wide-angle- Streaks didn’t present as one line. Picture: CineD

For each the Blue and Gold Streak Filters, the workforce at Pan’s Scheme consists of two filters every – for each horizontal and vertical capturing. Please word that whenever you wish to obtain horizontal streaks, in your picture, you might want to use the filter that exhibits vertical strains (from the attitude from which you’re capturing), in any other case you’ll have vertical streaks (should you use the filter that exhibits horizontal strains), and vice versa.

Cross Star Filter Effect
Cross Star Filter Impact. Picture: CineD

Cross-star Filter

The Cross-star Filter is a bit much like a streak filter, however it turns spherical gentle sources into star-shaped sources. It appears to work notably effectively in night time scenes.

Structure of the Cross-Star Filter
Construction of the Cross-Star Filter. Picture credit score: CineD.

Compatibility with iPhones

The model we acquired for evaluate is made for iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Professional and a separate model for the iPhone 13 Professional Max (which is the telephone I personal and use). Pan’s Scheme workforce is at present engaged on a barely modified model to suit the iPhone 14 collection, they usually stated it’s going to be accessible in December 2022.

I feel that after all, some iPhone 12 customers would love to make use of the filter system as effectively (which already has Magsafe), and I noticed that this may additionally be potential. For even older fashions of the iPhone, there are too many small variations to take care of, and in spite of everything, the cameras within the latest generations are those which are essentially the most “professional” whenever you deal with them proper, for instance with filters. However by no means say by no means, perhaps they may even think about making a Base model for even older telephones down the street if this model is profitable sufficient.

PAN's Black Mist filter
PAN’s Black Mist filter. Picture: CineD


I talked so much concerning the upsides of Pan’s Snap Filter system, so that you would possibly ask: the place are the downsides? Like with every little thing in life, there are some downsides right here as effectively, but I don’t discover them too vital. To start with, as snug and straightforward to put in the Snap Filter holder is, it additionally means which you can solely use your “bare” telephone with it, it is not going to work with any circumstances. That’s a bit scary for a lot of customers who at all times preserve their telephone in a protecting case (like I do too), however I feel it’s an appropriate compromise … a minimum of it permits me to make use of the iPhone in its “full glory” once more.

Possibly the workforce behind the filters needs to consider including an iPhone case choice as a filter holder sooner or later, in its place – and if it appears to be like cool and doesn’t add an excessive amount of bulk when there isn’t any filter connected, individuals may additionally wish to use it as their common case and thereby absolutely enhance utilization of the filters, which might be extra readily used.

The second small draw back is the load of the Snap Filter Base. I measured the one for the iPhone 13 Professional Max, which I used, and it’s 68 grams. In case you are after staying as gentle as potential, this may be a difficulty, but I personally favored the heftiness of the Base, as a result of it makes it extra appear to be holding a “actual digicam”.

Lastly – the filters can’t be stacked. There isn’t a strategy to stack an ND filter with a streak filter, for instance, which might be a typical mixture. Hopefully, sooner or later, they’d consider a base that would enable simply that.


Earlier than Pan’s Snap Filter system enters the retail market, they’re operating a Kickstarter marketing campaign, which is about to expire in just a few days from now. It begins at $99 for a particular version of the Base and goes as much as $159 if you’d like all of the filters included. I feel the pricing is spectacular and positively cheap contemplating it’s a telephone accent – I used to be anticipating them to cost greater than they really did. My hope is that future Base variations for future iPhone fashions will assist the identical filter sizes, as a result of which means one may actually put money into new filters variations as they change into accessible – with the understanding that they can be used on future telephones, with a brand new Snap Filter Base.


Pan’s Snap Filter system is essentially the most superior {and professional} filter system I’ve come throughout for smartphones up to now. It’s not a toy – every little thing could be very solidly constructed, can take a beating, and the filters themselves are of excellent high quality. Any downsides with ensuing pictures appear to be stemming from the processing of the photographs contained in the telephone itself, which is one thing which you can affect by utilizing a distinct digicam app than Apple’s personal. Good work certainly and I look ahead to utilizing this in on a regular basis life for filming as effectively – and I can’t wait to see what different equipment the Pan’s Scheme workforce would possibly add to the product ecosystem later (I feel Tim Pan talked about a grip of their video … attention-grabbing!).

What’s your tackle Pan’s Snap Filters? And about smartphone filmmaking usually? Tell us within the feedback beneath!