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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Nature & Landscapes Talk
Thread started 04 May 2015 (Monday) 10:15
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10 stop ND: Lee Big Stopper vs. Singh Ray vs. Breakthrough Photography

 
philmar
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Toronto, Canada
May 04, 2015 10:15 |  #1

Recently I moved to within a 2 minute walk of Lake Ontario which opens new photographic opportunities for me. I am ready to take my photography to the next level and want to buy a quality 10 stop ND filter and polarizing filter. Up to now I have been using a cheapo Cameron variable ND filter. Although photography is my hobby, I’ve been able to generate income through image sales on Getty Images. So I am willing to pay for a top-end filter.

I am trying to decide between the Singh Ray, the Lee Big Stopper and the Breakthrough Photography X3 ND. I had never heard of Breakthrough Photography until I read this stellar review on

http://www.the-digital-picture.com ...utral-Density-Filter.aspxexternal link

I have trusted that site for lens reviews many times previously (the lens quality comparison tool is great).

However, NONE of the other ND filter reviews I’ve read mention the Breakthrough Photography ND filter so any feedback on that filter would be very useful.

The Lee filter system looks like it is more time consuming to use in its set up but exposure metering and focusing could be faster once set up. And it looks like there is a more pronounced colour cast with it. I am also curious if they are more likely to be dropped by a klutz such as I. Looks like the system is good for stacking filters.

Can one stack the Singh Ray filters (i.e. polariser and ND filter) without significant vignetting?

Any insight on these systems would be greatly appreciated !

I thank you in advance.


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grahamclarkphoto
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by grahamclarkphoto with reason 'added color cast comparison images'.
May 04, 2015 13:14 |  #2

Hey Phil,

4.2mm is the filter frame thickness at which point vignetting starts to occur at 24mm and wider on full-frame wide-angle setups. The Hoya NDs are around 5.46mm, and you can see from the-digital-picture.com ND breakdown the vignetting as well (http://www.the-digital-picture.com ...utral-Density-Filter.aspx (external link)). The X3 ND is 3.1mm, which you can see reflected on the vignetting comparison shots over at the-digital-picture.com

X3 ND Reviews as of May 4th, 2015:

- http://diglloyd.com .../filter-X3-ND-10stop.html (external link)
- http://provideocoaliti​on.com ...nd-most-neutral-nd-filter (external link)
- http://contrastly.com ...phy-x3-nd-filters-review/ (external link)

If critical sharpness and color neutrality are important consider the Singh-Ray Slo-Mo or Breakthrough X3 ND filters.

By the way, I'm with Breakthrough Photography. Click the link below to check out the comparison images that we have. If your results differ from the images on that page we'll refund you 110%.

Color cast shootout gallery: http://breakthrough.ph​otography ...sity-color-cast-shootout/ (external link)

Graham

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philmar
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Toronto, Canada
May 05, 2015 12:43 |  #3

thanks for the reply Graham. Are you the CEO of Breakthrough?

RE: http://breakthrough.ph​otography ...sity-color-cast-shootout/external link

I see Art Wolfe is extolling the virtues of your product...I also see him loving up the Singh Rays on:

http://www.singh-ray.com/external link (the second recommendation)


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philmar
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May 05, 2015 14:02 |  #4

Also Graham,
Do you have a Canadian distributor?
Can I buy them directly from BP? - they appear only on back order at Adorama:-(.


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philmar
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May 05, 2015 16:06 |  #5

Anyone one else use ND filters?


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LisaBlue85
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by LisaBlue85.
May 05, 2015 16:34 as a reply to grahamclarkphoto's post |  #6

You've got my attention. I own various Singh-Ray filters & Big & Little Stoppers. Definitely going to check this out! Thanks!




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philmar
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by philmar.
May 05, 2015 22:58 |  #7

LisaBlue85 wrote in post #17544929external link
You've got my attention. I own various Singh-Ray filters & Big & Little Stoppers. Definitely going to check this out! Thanks!

For ease of use which do you prefer: SR or LBS?

Did you feel the price differential between them is justified?


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TRhoads
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Roswell, Georgia
May 06, 2015 11:13 |  #8

I have been shooting LE for about 3 years now...I started out with B+W round screw on filters, less investment up front so that I could find out if I really liked the art form that true LE is...3 years on and I have moved on from screw on filters to my Lee Foundation setup. I have the holder, adapter rings of various sizes, .6/.9 GND 3, 6 and 10 stop filters as well.

The LEE filters do have a slight shift to cooler colors, but it is so easy to correct, I tend to warm the WB in the field by shooting at a custom WB rather than letting the camera try to figure it out...that works much better for me, and I see a lot less color cast.

The Advantages of the LEE system for me are the adapter rings, and once you have it setup, its not that time consuming to remove the holder and compose, meter, focus etc...then clip it back on and go...much better than screw on filters. I carry large white caps that cover the lens so that I don't have to remove the adapter ring in between locations when out on an expedition or excursion...

The downside...its bulky, takes up a good bit of space in the bag, and the good filters, big stopper/little stopper/polarizer are expensive and they are glass. If you drop it...you pick it up in lots of pieces. I store them in plastic clam shells to prevent them from getting broken in the bag or my filter pouch and so far that has worked out perfectly.

Despite the expense, and delicate nature of the filters, I don't regret it at all though...I felt held back by the color cast of the B+W filters, it limited me to B&W...now I shoot color extended exposures all the time.

I have found that it slows me down, makes me think about what I am doing more...which I need...

I don't know if anyone else is having the issue with Formatt that I am...but they are painfully slow at shipping things out...I won a JT 10, 13,16 stop kit in November...still don't have it...that alone makes me kinda sour to their line...I want to go check out this new one that you mentioned now...


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philmar
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May 06, 2015 12:06 |  #9

Thanks TRhoads,
For the record the colour shift won't bother me as I shoot RAW and like to play a bit with the White Bal anyways.
However I like to use a Tamrac Velocity bag slung over my shoulder - I like to cycle around town. This bag has a side pocket that may not be big enough for the Lee system. Best to go to a camera store to see if I am likely to use it if it is too bulky/heavy.
Then again, if metering/focusing with the ring filters is annoying and i decide I wouldn't enjoy shooting with them I may have to find another carrying solution for the Lee system if I go that route.


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 (external link):

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TRhoads
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Roswell, Georgia
May 06, 2015 12:46 |  #10

This is what I carry my kit in, it holds the holder and rings, as well as the 3 square filters and the 3 4x6 grads, in my camera bag it takes up the space that a body takes up. Roughly 3x5x7 inches (14x8x20cm) I have two...one waiting on the Formatt system if it ever shows up! And when I said bulky, its because that case is bigger than the little cases for screw on filters, but its not heavy by any means...the weight those items adds to the bag is negligible.

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com ...&InitialSearch=yes&​sts=piexternal link

The problem I have with screw on filters...even in bright daylight, it can be hard to see through them on Live View, and impossible through the viewfinder, particularly with a 10 stop. So you get your shot all set, focuses perfectly, composed just so...then go to screw on a filter and you move the focus or zoom ring...and you have to start all over...


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digitalduck
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Fargo, ND
May 06, 2015 12:55 |  #11

Hi guys, I have a completely random question regarding the Lee BS or even the screw in type. When it comes to landscape, since im a portrait guy, even though I know i can correct in post, does it or would it do me any good to try to do a custom grey card white balance in field? Is that overkill?

Thanks!




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TRhoads
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May 06, 2015 13:31 |  #12

digitalduck wrote in post #17546088external link
Hi guys, I have a completely random question regarding the Lee BS or even the screw in type. When it comes to landscape, since im a portrait guy, even though I know i can correct in post, does it or would it do me any good to try to do a custom grey card white balance in field? Is that overkill?

Thanks!

I guess you could, not sure why you would bother. I typically have a test image or two without the filters that I can compare WB to when editing the LE shot...there are many times when shooting LE that you don't really have a lot of time to fiddle with extra exposures...especially if they are 2,3 or 4 minutes long...


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xpfloyd
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Post has been last edited over 2 years ago by xpfloyd. 2 edits done in total.
May 06, 2015 13:48 |  #13

The colour cast issue of the Lee big stopper is blown out of proportion IMO. Some of my favourite shots taken with the big stopper are ones where I have left the colour cast in (example - https://flic.kr/p/dRtT​Vyexternal link PS - Excuse the massive watermark! Ive since reduced the size I use)

With regards to breakthrough filters I recently received my breakthrough X3 UV traction filter and it is a very well made product on first impressions. Im not sure how the prices compare to the Lee or Singhray for the 10 stop though.

Personally I prefer slot in filters for landscapes and use a Lee kit for that reason. It does however require more "bits" than a screw on to make it work so you need to consider that when purchasing. I wouldnt pay the premium for the SinghRay myself as the Lee kit gets the job done just fine and is highly regarded by many including me


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philmar
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by philmar.
May 07, 2015 08:11 |  #14

GAH!! The 10 stop X3 ND 77 mm filter is out of stock at the Breakthrough Photography site


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TRhoads
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May 07, 2015 08:23 |  #15

philmar wrote in post #17547062external link
GAH!! The 10 stop X3 ND 77 mm filter is out of stock at the Breakthrough Photography site

There was a time about a year or so ago that there was a waiting list for LEE filters...Big Stoppers were selling on the used market for more than list price...


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