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Thread started 10 May 2014 (Saturday) 14:50
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Lee filter questions

 
HiRes
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May 10, 2014 14:50 |  #1

I'm looking to buy a Lee filter system and am considering their 100mm SLR starter kit (filter holder, 0.6 hard grad ND resin filter and 0.6 ND pro glass ND filter). I also want a circular polarizing filter though I haven't decided on which brand, but I think I'll probably go for a screw-on type as that seems most practical in situations where I'd just use that one filter as opposed to attaching the more fragile filter-holder. My biggest lens is a Canon 24-70 2.8L II (82mm), so I would likely go for an 82mm polarizer and use adapter rings for smaller lenses.

1) Lee's adapter rings are quite pricey. Are Chinese eBay metal "compatible" rings just as good, or is there a reason you should pay the premium?
By the way, why do they make both "normal" and "wide" rings and not just "wide" to be used with all lenses? I also read somewhere that their normal rings are made of plastic while the wide ones are metal.

2) What's the most practical way to add a screw-in 82mm polarizer to a Lee 100mm setup?
- screw it into the lens, then mount the Lee filter-holder on top
- mount the Lee filter-holder on the lens, then somehow (I suppose there might be 82mm round to 100mm square adapters?) mount the screw-in polarizer into the filter-holder in the same way as the ND/ND grad filter

3) for the the polarizer, should I get a "slim" type in case I get a wide-angle lens at some stage? I hear the problem with those is that lens caps don't fit any longer, but perhaps there are replacement lens caps available that do?

4) I imagine many landscape situations where I'd want to use all 3 filters at once, or at least two. Would this cause any problems?


6D | 50D | 24-70 f/2.8L II | 70-200 f/2.8L IS II| 70-200 f/4L | 35 f/2 | Sigma 50 f/1.4 |Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 | 430EX | 580EX II

  
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Snydremark
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May 10, 2014 15:19 |  #2

1. I've used both Lee and knockoff rings and haven't seen much difference in either one. I don't have the first clue as to why one wouldn't just buy wide angle rings and be done with it, either.

2. Most practical thing to do would be to forget about using a screw-on filter with this type of filter system; you're just asking for headaches when you get to attaching/detaching things. Just get the 100x100 CPL and stack it with the others. It's much simpler and less "fiddly".
If you do use one, it would have to be mounted to the lens and then you'd attach the Lee holder to it; but, then you'd be fighting with the rotatable element of the CPL and the filter holder to keep your polarizing effect at the appropriate setting

The nice thing about using a filter system like the Lee stuff is that you CAN (and will) stack filters for effect. I use 2 grad/ND grads + a CPL quite a bit with no troubles.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
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fryedrice
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May 10, 2014 16:11 |  #3

1) I'd recommend purchasing the wide angle ring even though its a bit pricier because I just recently bought a set of LEE filters with the standard ring and have noticed even on my crop-sensored camera that I get some vignetting at 17mm with my filters in place

2) I'd have to agree with Snydremark because I've tried mounting my LEE filter system onto my circular polarizer, and it increases the likelihood of vignetting because it pushes the filter system even further away from the lens. Also, it's not as convenient in adjusting the polarizing angles because I have to keep readjusting my filter holder

3) Going with the same reasoning as the past 2 questions, slim would probably be your best bet especially if you plan on upgrading and shooting at focal lenghts less than 24mm (full frame)

4) Using 3 filters at once definitely increase the likelihood of vignetting, which is what I have seen with my set, but with the wide angle ring adaptor, it may not be that big of an issue... Someone else with experience using the wide ring adaptor on a full frame wide angle lens can comment on this! :)




  
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Alveric
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May 10, 2014 16:19 |  #4
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You can also damage the polariser's ring if you mount the filter system on it. Speaking from experience here. I did just that and now the ring kinda bent into an ellipse and the rotation is not smooth anymore. I use the Cokin Pro Z system holder which takes Lee's 4x4 filters no problem.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
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LeeRatters
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May 10, 2014 16:50 |  #5

Lee wide angle attached onto a slim Haida 3 stop screw in at 17mm FF gives just the tiniest bit of vignetting. Such a small amount that the usual crop from straightening in PP removes it.


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neilgcart
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May 11, 2014 02:16 |  #6

If you are going to go for a Lee set up I would not be looking to compromise on the polariser. You definitely need the wide angle adapter and I would spend the extra on the adapter ring that fits on the front of the filter holder to take a 105mm cpl. You need to ensure the polariser is thin, I use a heliopan polariser and get no vignetting using this with the holder set up with two slots on my 16-35 f2.8. This may not be the cheapest route to take but it will ensure good results which is what you are seeking if spending a significant sum of money on a Lee filter system.

Neil




  
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HiRes
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May 11, 2014 16:25 |  #7

Complicated business this filter stuff!

Yes, I can see how mounting the Lee filter on top of a screw-on polarizer will complicate things and is best avoided. I have some thoughts and further questions:

Lee wide/normal adapter rings
Lee is a little light on details until you start digging, but I finally found some info here (external link):

Will a Wide Angle Adpaptor Ring work on any lens?
A Wide Angle Adaptor Ring will have no detrimental effects if used on standard or telephoto lenses.

Seems a little odd why Lee would make a "normal" ring as well when the "wide" one works with any lens and even costs the same (according to my findings at B&H photo). Oh well, I'll go for the "wide" ring then as I prefer to add my own vignetting ;)

Square or screw-in polarizing filters?
I can see situations where I'd need all 3 filters in use at once (e.g. a seashore scene in the sunset with "misty" water and less reflections in the water/wet rocks), but there are other situations (traveling etc.) where I'd want to have a less bulky/fragile and less conspicuous polarizer. A screw-in polarizer (B+H, Zeiss, Heliopan or whatever) would fit that bill nicely I suppose. If I only could also use one of those with the Lee filter holder all would be well.

Lee round shaped polarizer directly on lenses, or not?
I think I've figured it out... Lee has a 95mm round shaped polarizer which I assumed could be used both with the filter holder (using Lee's "Accessory ring") and attached directly to a lens (using step-down rings for lens diameters less than 95mm), but apparently not so.
According to my findings the advantage of its round shape is that it doesn't demand the "Lee Professional kit" filter holder (allowing independant rotating of the filter slots, which I believe is needed if you simultaneously want to use 100mm square shaped ND grad filters), but instead allows for rotating the polarizer within the normal lens holder.
Not very helpful for me :confused:

So, can a regular screw-in polarizing filter (82mm or larger obviously since my widest threaded lens is 82mm) be attached to the Lee filter holder? This is what I found (external link) when digging a little further into Lee's site:

Can I use my existing screw in polariser with the LEE Filter Holder?
Providing your polariser has a repeat thread to accept the LEE adaptor rings the there is no reason why you cannot use existing screw-in polarisers with the LEE System. Bear in mind however that polyester filters, if used in the holder in front of polarisers, will stop the polariser working correctly. Also vignetting problems may occur on wide lenses in the system is not as close to the lens as absolutely possible.

So what is a "repeat thread" and how exactly do you attach a B+W/Zeiss etc. round shaped polarizer to the filter holder?
Also, would I need to buy a 95mm polarizer to avoid vignetting with either my 24-70 lens (82mm thread) or if I buy a 17-40 (77mm thread but a wide-angle lens) and use 95-82/95-77 step-down rings when attached directly on to the lens without any additional filters?

Which filter-holder?
I had my eyes set on the "DSLR starter kit" which seems like a great deal, but upon further inspection I believe it only takes two filters (I'd want one which takes an ND, a grad-ND and a polarizer. I also hear the filter-pouch is quite useless (hard fabric which might cause scratches and doesn't do much for protection), so that might just be a waste of money.
The "Foundation kit" (external link) on the other hand takes 3 or 4 filters (Lee can't seem to decide as they have conflicting info on the same page -can someone confirm how many it'll take?), so this is probably a better route to go and buy the 0.6 ND Pro glass and 0.6 ND hard grad resin filters on their own?

Hoods
Obviously a normal hood won't fit with the filter holder in place (nor with a large (95mm?) polarizer with step-down rings for my various lenses, so will the Lee hoods solve this problem? And will they actually cover the lens all the way? The illustrations at Lee's site seems to show a "universal" hood with an attachement that slides into the holder (I assume the frontmost free slot) meaning that it'll leave the area behind it in the open. Not ideal. The wide angled hood seems to work in the same way. I'd like to hear from someone who uses them, or has other solutions for a hood.

Safe storage/transportation of filters
How do you best store and protect those 100mm filters? Another thread here addresses the very same question where a couple of people reply that the Lee 10 filter pouch is the one to go for. Is its material/build different from the 3 filter pouch? Are there other ways to protect filters like these? Hard plastic containers which take a beating perhaps?


My first use for filters is to shoot mountains. I believe both grad ND and polarizing filters simultaneously will be needed for that. And for waterfalls I assume I need to exchange the grad ND with a full ND filter and keep the polarizer on. In any case I need to find a solution where I can use a polarizer with one or both of the ND filters.


6D | 50D | 24-70 f/2.8L II | 70-200 f/2.8L IS II| 70-200 f/4L | 35 f/2 | Sigma 50 f/1.4 |Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 | 430EX | 580EX II

  
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Alveric
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May 11, 2014 17:55 |  #8
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Lee has hoods, though they do seem to be quite expensive. Unless you're doing super long time exposures, I'd just shade the lens with an opaque object.

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …mit&Ntt=lee+fil​ters+hoods (external link)

You'd need a polariser such as this one (external link), which does not screw on the lens but is rather dropped into one of the filter holder slots and you can rotate it there without rotating the holder (which would cause vignetting).


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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Snydremark
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May 11, 2014 18:45 |  #9

I have the wide angle hood/holder and have been quite happy with it.

If you go with the Foundation Kit, you can add a slot to it to have 3, total slots.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
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jkokbaker
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May 12, 2014 00:23 |  #10

As for carrying the filters check out the Mindshift Gear Filter Hive. I just got mine and love it. As for the CPL get a 105mm CPL with the attachment ring for the front of the filter holder. You can then rotate the CPL and still move the ND grads. If you get the 100mm square CPL they all move together.


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HiRes
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May 12, 2014 04:22 as a reply to  @ Alveric's post |  #11

Good point about just shading "manually" with an object when taking the shot, Alveric.

Regarding the polarizer: I gather you Alveric and jkokbaker are saying that regular (screw on top of the lens type) polarizers from B+H, Heliopan, Zeiss etc. actually do work with the Lee filter holder, but ONLY as long as they are 105mm sized? And I assume the 105mm circular shaped Lee polarizer has front/rear threads just like any other polarizer so it can be attached directly to lenses (via step-down rings) and not just with the Lee filter system?

Jkokbaker: are you referring to the 105mm polarizer ring (external link)? So this ring attaches (via screws) to the front of any Lee 100mm filter holder and allows ANY 105mm screw-in polarizer to "click" into place and be as easily removed?
That would give me the best of both worlds! The filter would be quite big for my 82mm and (later) 77mm lenses with the aid of step-down rings, but would surely avoid vignetting and save me some cash as I wouldn't have to buy two polarizers.

Does the 105mm filter need to be a "slim" model, or will ANY polarizer with that diameter do and thus avoid vignetting with both 24-70 and 17-40 lenses on 1.6x crop of full-frame cameras while on the front of the Lee filter holder?

Snyderemark: so the "Foundation kit" comes with only 2 slots to begin with (the website says 3 and 4 confusingly (external link)). Is the upgrade you're talking about an additional filter holder/tandem adapter (external link) which converts it into a "professional" kit with the ability to rotate the filter holders or are you talking about another upgrade which just adds more slots to the existing filter holder (I can't seem to find it)?

By the way, does anyone know if the "Digital SLR starter kit" and "Foundation kit" comes with the exact same filter holder or does the "Foundation kit" allow more than two filters to be inserted without needing to upgrade first?
I assume they both allow the 105mm polarizer adapter to be attached to the front as that doesn't involve the slots.

The next thing to figure out is which 105mm polarizer I should get. Tests indicate that both B+H and Lee 105mm polarizers are really hard to rotate. I'd prefer something firm, but smooth instead -recommendations for this?

Snyderemark: Alveric's advice to just shade the lens is the cheaper solution for now, but will look into that hood if I end up using the filters a lot. A 105mm filter cap for the polarizer on the other hand (attached to the Lee filter holder or directly to the lens) is probably a good investment for expensive glass!

jkokbaker: that Mindshift Gear filter hive looks nice (especially for dedicated photo trips), but is far too big for my use (shooting wile traveling, and liking to travel light). Screw-on filters usually come in a custom sized hard plastic box which is great, and for the two 100mm glass and resin ND filters I imagine a similar hard plastic shelled box with a soft filling (micro-fibre, felt etc.) would be ideal to put inside a bag that would take some beating and stuff sliding around inside.


phew! :)
Sorry about my never ending questions, but thanks to your replies I'm learning a lot :oops:


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jkokbaker
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May 12, 2014 07:32 |  #12

I have the Lee CPL and get very slight vignetting at 18mm with 2 filter slots on a 5DII. If you are going to carry more than a few filters the Filter Hive actually saves space and probably weight, versus carrying everything in their original case. I use it for backpacking and day hikes and it works great.


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Alveric
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May 12, 2014 14:46 |  #13
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HiRes:

This is the kit that I got, years ago:

IMAGE: http://diamantstudios.ca/Ablage/Bild/Examples/cokin_filter_kit.jpg

It's got three slots already, but you do have to purchase the adapter rings separately (I think this is the same with Lee's or any other filter kit):
IMAGE: http://diamantstudios.ca/Ablage/Bild/Examples/cokin_filter_rings.jpg

Regarding the polariser: I don't have a 105mm polariser. Whilst researching my filter kit purchase years ago, I saw in a video a polariser that must either be designed for these filter holders (because the photographer just dropped it —no screwing— into one of the slots and was then able to rotate it freely without moving the holder), or it probably is a slim 105mm filter, because a normal one is too thick for the slots.

My 'solution' when I need polarisation was this:
IMAGE: http://diamantstudios.ca/Ablage/Bild/Examples/cokin_ring_no-no.jpg
The filter started wiggling afterwards :(.

What I sometimes do is just hand-hold the filter in front of the lens.

One thing that is doable and, to the best of my knowledge, safe, is to use step-up rings with the adapter rings. But I'd use this only on telephotos, because of vignetting. That's my 77mm adapter ring with a step-up 67mm attached:
IMAGE: http://diamantstudios.ca/Ablage/Bild/Examples/cokin_ring_on_ring.jpg

'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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Alveric
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May 12, 2014 14:53 as a reply to  @ jkokbaker's post |  #14
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Now, for really long exposures, such as when using the Big Stopper, you have to have a 'closed system' in terms of light: cover the eye piece, and slide the Big Stopper into the slot closest to the lens and make sure the foam is covering all nooks. Any leaks cause some nasty flare:

IMAGE: http://diamantstudios.ca/Ablage/Bild/Examples/Nasty_flare.jpg

Sometimes you can remove it in post-processing:
IMAGE: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5196/14098128371_c872387a64_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://www.flickr.com …amantstudios/14​098128371/  (external link)
Die Zeit Verrinnt (external link) by Lord Alveric (external link), on Flickr

But other times you're not so fortunate.

The problem there was not the filter or the eye-piece, but a nook that forms betwixt the ring and the holder (!!) as you can infer from the shape of the flare. So, gaffer tape to the rescue:
IMAGE: http://diamantstudios.ca/Ablage/Bild/Examples/cokin_gaffer.jpg

A rather crude solution, but effective nonetheless.

'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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May 14, 2014 18:22 |  #15

Thanks Alveric! Photos explain things much better than words.
Besides that and contacting some dealers I think I understand it now. It's a big puzzle with many (expensive) details. I actually found a very informative Lee filters buyer's guide (external link) which I recommend to others as confused as me.

I believe I've decided what to get (Lee Digital SLR starter kit, 82mm mounting ring for my 82mm thread main lens, Lee 105mm accessory ring for the polarizer, Heliopan (brass instead of other brands' aluminium which means no sticking) and a 82-105 step up ring for using the filter directly on my 82mm thread main lens.
What's undecided is the 105mm circular polarizer. I'm leaning towards Heliopan though as from my reading it seems they are even a little step up from the B+W filters. Their 105mm High transmission Slim SH-PMC coated circular polarizer is the one I'm considering. Anyone have experiences with it or Heliopan polarizers in general?


6D | 50D | 24-70 f/2.8L II | 70-200 f/2.8L IS II| 70-200 f/4L | 35 f/2 | Sigma 50 f/1.4 |Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 | 430EX | 580EX II

  
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Lee filter questions
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