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Gear Talk => Software & Accessories => Topic started by: FunPhotons on February 27, 2013, 09:11:31 PM

Title: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: FunPhotons on February 27, 2013, 09:11:31 PM
I got the Lee Big Stopper, kit and 82mm adaptor. Can't believe they charge (and I paid for) for these things. Of course everything else is exponentially more expensive.

Anyhow I could use a grad. I'm looking at this new one from B&H which should be top of the line

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/900553-REG/B_W_661075266_100_x_150mm_701.html (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/900553-REG/B_W_661075266_100_x_150mm_701.html)

but it's crazy expensive. Other suggestions?
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: Eli on February 27, 2013, 09:27:41 PM
Wow for that price you can get a whole set of LEE grads.
Have you checked how much the LEE ones are? Their big stopper is expensive but the grads aren't too bad, for the quality you get.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 27, 2013, 09:56:59 PM
The B+W filter is glass, like the excellent ND grads from B+W's parent company, Schneider Optics.  The specs of the filter you link don't say, but the Schneider filters are 4mm thick, vs. the 2mm thickness of the resin filters from Lee, Singh-Ray, etc.  If you go the glass filter route, you'll need the Lee 4mm side guides (for which reviews are mixed), not sure if you can use more than one filter at a time.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: J.R. on February 27, 2013, 10:05:52 PM
Wow for that price you can get a whole set of LEE grads.
Have you checked how much the LEE ones are? Their big stopper is expensive but the grads aren't too bad, for the quality you get.

The LEE grads "sets" are resin filters as opposed to the B+W which is made entirely out of glass which explains the difference. The LEE glass GND filters is for $170 ... that isn't cheap either.

I've read on the net that there is very little difference between the glass and resin filters - don't have the means to compare. Maybe someone who has used both can throw some light on this
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: FunPhotons on February 27, 2013, 10:10:30 PM
Also I wonder how many ND's you really need? Seems like one, or max two would do me for all my shooting.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: J.R. on February 27, 2013, 10:56:43 PM
Also I wonder how many ND's you really need? Seems like one, or max two would do me for all my shooting.

I'm not located in the US/Europe so the shipping itself costs $80 - $100. Not taking a chance of missing out on something, I ordered the set of 3 resin filters. If I miss out on something like a single filter I have to wait for approximately 6-8 months before I place a large enough order to justify the shipping.

BTW, I can't say I've used all of them together, yet but maybe with a pro-LEE kit I plan to get soon, I may try using more than a couple of GNDs together. 
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: charlesa on February 28, 2013, 12:55:49 AM
I use Big Stopper and have a set of their resin graduated NDs, set of hard 1, 2 and 3 stop filters, can vouch for their quality.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: FunPhotons on February 28, 2013, 07:37:46 AM
The B+W filter is glass, like the excellent ND grads from B+W's parent company, Schneider Optics.  The specs of the filter you link don't say, but the Schneider filters are 4mm thick, vs. the 2mm thickness of the resin filters from Lee, Singh-Ray, etc.  If you go the glass filter route, you'll need the Lee 4mm side guides (for which reviews are mixed), not sure if you can use more than one filter at a time.

I found this link

http://aifo.se/pdf/BWF_Graduated_ND_100x150.pdf (http://aifo.se/pdf/BWF_Graduated_ND_100x150.pdf)

Which says it is 2mm.

So the question is would it be better to get three Lee resin filters, or one glass B&W filter for a bit more? I'm inclined to just get the B&W.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 28, 2013, 08:58:39 AM
The B+W filter is glass, like the excellent ND grads from B+W's parent company, Schneider Optics.  The specs of the filter you link don't say, but the Schneider filters are 4mm thick, vs. the 2mm thickness of the resin filters from Lee, Singh-Ray, etc.  If you go the glass filter route, you'll need the Lee 4mm side guides (for which reviews are mixed), not sure if you can use more than one filter at a time.

I found this link

http://aifo.se/pdf/BWF_Graduated_ND_100x150.pdf (http://aifo.se/pdf/BWF_Graduated_ND_100x150.pdf)

Which says it is 2mm

Excellent, and good to know - thanks!  I'm in a similar boat - have the WA adapter rings for 77mm and 82mm, foundation kit is en route from B&H (after being out of stock, as usual).  Now, I just need to pick filters.  Was planning on Lee, but with the B+W being 2mm it's worth a thought. The MRC coating is nice.   Then again, they only come on 1- and 2-stop densities (I'll want a 3-stop), and no option for hard vs. soft edge.   More choices with Lee.

I'm not a fan of Singh-Ray - I don't like a filter maker that doesn't publish transmission curves, and who won't say if their filters are uncoated or single coated, but say multicoating has negligible benefit 'outweighed by several disadvantages' with no elaboration (which is BS - the only 'disadvantage' I can see to multicoating is that it would cost more to produce and reduce their profit margin).  But I'm considering a reverse grad ND, and for that Singh-Ray and HiTech seem to be the only games in town...
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 28, 2013, 09:04:43 AM
[quote author=FunPhotons link=topic=13250.msg238314#msg238314 date=
So the question is would it be better to get three Lee resin filters, or one glass B&W filter for a bit more? I'm inclined to just get the B&W.
[/quote]

If the B+W was a 3-stop, I'd be inclined to just get it. I don't see much need for a 1-stop, and while the 1- and 2-stop filters could be stacked for 3 stops (after waiting perhaps several weeks for the 2-stop to be available), that's a very expensive way to get a 3-stop grad ND...
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: FunPhotons on February 28, 2013, 09:29:56 AM
Is 3 stop really necessary NA? I live in a perennially sunny part of California where a ND is required for landscape shots, I'm getting good results with a 1 & 2.

By the way I got the foundation kit as soon as it came in stock, figured I can't wait until it goes out for a long time again. We probably bought from the same lot.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: Eli on February 28, 2013, 10:11:00 AM
If it was me, I'd get the resin set. I think you'd be hard pressed to find any difference in real world shooting, especially since LEE produce great quality filters, unless maybe you stack a whole heap of them together in a controlled test environment. But if you went with the glass one and you're out shooting and you find you need a darker gnd, what are you going to do?
I have two sets of the LEE resin gnds (hard & soft), never had a problem with them.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: traveller on February 28, 2013, 11:17:07 AM
FYI, Lee also make glass filters for their system; I believe that they are made to order. 

http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera-directory/camera-dir-list/category/proglass-neutral-density-standards (http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera-directory/camera-dir-list/category/proglass-neutral-density-standards)
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: jsexton on February 28, 2013, 11:22:25 AM
I've had the Lee grad kit (soft) for almost a year and the big stopper for about 6 months.  Love the quality, very durable (big stopper is glass so don't drop it)  All come in decent packaging but I've added an external plastic case to put them in when I travel.  They are often in short supply (finally got mine from 2filter.com).  Will be using them on the north shore of Minnesota next weekend shooting ice floes, can't wait.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 28, 2013, 12:03:49 PM
FYI, Lee also make glass filters for their system; I believe that they are made to order.

But those are solid NDs, not graduated.  AFAIK, Schneider (and now their subsidiary, B+W) are the only ones the make grad NDs in glass.

Is 3 stop really necessary NA? I live in a perennially sunny part of California where a ND is required for landscape shots, I'm getting good results with a 1 & 2.

It's not really about how much knockdown you need overall, but rather the exposure difference between sky and ground.  Most of the time, that's in the 2-3 stop range (often higher).  I can see combining a grad ND with the Big Stopper, for example, to achieve a long exposure but also allow more of the scene DR to be captured.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: jrh on February 28, 2013, 01:47:46 PM
I have a Singh-Ray 3 stop soft grad and a 2 stop hard grad and find this to be a very versatile combination.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: Elias Silva on February 28, 2013, 02:05:04 PM
According to this site, there are 0.9 and even 1.2 gradual ND glass filters from Schneider. They seem to be 4mm thick and two of them can be mounted on a Lee holder.

http://www.2filter.com/schneider/SCHNEIDER44filterholder.html (http://www.2filter.com/schneider/SCHNEIDER44filterholder.html)

I don't know how much this information can be trusted, but I figure it is worth mentioning.

BTW, I've been following this forum for quite some time now and it is amazing how much knowledge can be found here ... :)

Greetings from Brazil! :)

-- Elias.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 28, 2013, 02:25:26 PM
According to this site, there are 0.9 and even 1.2 gradual ND glass filters from Schneider. They seem to be 4mm thick and two of them can be mounted on a Lee holder.

http://www.2filter.com/schneider/SCHNEIDER44filterholder.html (http://www.2filter.com/schneider/SCHNEIDER44filterholder.html)

I don't know how much this information can be trusted, but I figure it is worth mentioning.

Yes, Schneider Optics has an excellent selection of glass grad NDs.  If you look at their MPTV line (motion picture television) they've got even more. 

Just to clarify, though - the 'Lee holder' mentioned on the 2filter page is not the holder the OP has.  Lee collaborated with Schneider to make a filter for their glass plates that holds two 4mm filters.  The Lee Foundation Kit is different, designed to hold three 2mm filters.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: 96Brigadier on February 28, 2013, 03:12:41 PM
Personally I wouldn't waste your time with a 1-stop GND filter.

I have the Lee 2-stop and 3-stop in both hard and soft edge.  My most used for landscapes are the 3-stop, which is why when I decided to get a reverse GND filter I bought the 3-stop (in that specific case Singh-Ray).

The Lee resin filters are good and at ~$100 each a lot cheaper than the glass ones.

If I were only buying one GND filter it would definitely be the 3-stop.  Hard or soft edge depends on whether the bulk of your shots have an object in the foreground extending into the sky or not (like trees).
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: wayno on February 28, 2013, 03:26:26 PM
Agree in the 3 stop. I use my Cokin Z pro size 3 stop almost always vs my 2 or 1. The Australian light puts paid to that also.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: FunPhotons on March 01, 2013, 09:23:38 AM
Personally I wouldn't waste your time with a 1-stop GND filter.

I have the Lee 2-stop and 3-stop in both hard and soft edge.  My most used for landscapes are the 3-stop, which is why when I decided to get a reverse GND filter I bought the 3-stop (in that specific case Singh-Ray).

The Lee resin filters are good and at ~$100 each a lot cheaper than the glass ones.

If I were only buying one GND filter it would definitely be the 3-stop.  Hard or soft edge depends on whether the bulk of your shots have an object in the foreground extending into the sky or not (like trees).

So when would you use a hard and when a soft exactly?
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: neuroanatomist on March 01, 2013, 09:49:27 AM
So when would you use a hard and when a soft exactly?

Hard is for when you have an even, unbroken horizon line (the ocean, for example).  Soft is for when the horizon is uneven (mountains, trees, buildings, etc.).  Personally, I suspect I'll have more use for the soft grads than the hard grads. 
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: FunPhotons on March 01, 2013, 07:36:25 PM
NA, any suggestions for a soft 3 stop then? I like the idea of Glass of course, resin is find too I guess.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: neuroanatomist on March 01, 2013, 08:08:54 PM
NA, any suggestions for a soft 3 stop then? I like the idea of Glass of course, resin is find too I guess.

Personally, I plan to get a 4" CPL and 3-stop grad hard and soft from Lee, and a 3-stop reverse grad from Singh-Ray.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: bigmag13 on March 01, 2013, 08:23:17 PM
try www.2filter.com (http://www.2filter.com) they say as a byline that they only sell quality products and wont carry stuff that doesnt cut the mustard. service desk is great too! I got a set of lee grads W/holder and a 9 stop for under three. they seem to work well for my water blur and landscapes but i'm not very experienced in that style of shooting.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: FunPhotons on March 01, 2013, 09:10:00 PM
NA, any suggestions for a soft 3 stop then? I like the idea of Glass of course, resin is find too I guess.

Personally, I plan to get a 4" CPL and 3-stop grad hard and soft from Lee, and a 3-stop reverse grad from Singh-Ray.

That sounds good, except I don't need the CPL I think. These guys?

3 stop Lee hard edge
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/745895-REG/LEE_Filters_SW150_9NDG_S_150_x_170mm_0_9.html (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/745895-REG/LEE_Filters_SW150_9NDG_S_150_x_170mm_0_9.html)

3 stop Lee soft edge
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/745895-REG/LEE_Filters_SW150_9NDG_S_150_x_170mm_0_9.html (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/745895-REG/LEE_Filters_SW150_9NDG_S_150_x_170mm_0_9.html)

3 stop S-R reverse grad
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/615228-REG/Singh_Ray_R_63_Daryl_Benson_4x6_Reverse.html (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/615228-REG/Singh_Ray_R_63_Daryl_Benson_4x6_Reverse.html)


Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: neuroanatomist on March 01, 2013, 09:35:36 PM
The 4x6" Lee (100x150mm), the 150x170mm are too big for the holder. That's the right S-R, though.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: FunPhotons on March 03, 2013, 08:57:36 PM
Hm, he says the Cokin Z system is significantly cheaper, but while the adapters are cheaper the main holder is about the same. I went with the Lee at any rate.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: FunPhotons on March 05, 2013, 05:17:59 AM
I'm about the pull the trigger on a few filters, but I'm wondering about the 3 stop S-R, is that enough?

For shooting directly into the sun maybe a 4 stop would be better, anybody used a 3 or a 4 reverse grad who can comment?
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: RobertG. on March 07, 2013, 08:18:09 PM
Hi,
I have a full set of 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 soft and hard grad ND filters as well as a 0.6 reverse grad ND & 0.9 reverse grad ND filter, which I can combine with a 10 stop ND and/or a 105mm Pol filter. So it is easy for me to compare the effects.

The 0.3 grad NDs were a waste of money. I never used them so far. The same goes for the 0.9 reverse grad ND filter, which is very rarely used.

For an average sunset or sunrise I use only the 0.6 reverse grad ND filter when the sun is near to the horizon. Very seldomly I need to combine it with  a normal grad ND (at the sea for example). The attached shot is also such a case. It was shot with a 0.6 grad ND + 0.9 reverse grad ND in order to see something of the village on the bottom of the picture. I used the "expose to the right" technique and then made a HDR from the single RAW file.

If you don't plan to buy a dozen filters, get a 0.6 hard grad ND and a 0.9 soft grad ND filter. A pol filter is a very useful addition to the grad ND filters. The 105mm Lee adaptor ring works well but any 105mm pol filter used on the Lee filter holder will add some vignetting to wide angle lenses. With my TS-E 24mm L it starts at about 8mm of shift when using the 105mm pol filter, no matter if a grad nd filter is used or not.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: RobertG. on March 07, 2013, 08:29:27 PM
In the attached shot I used a combination of a 0.6 grad ND with a 0.9 grad ND filter. Not really a good idea normally because the sky turns to dark grey on the edges of such a shot. But in this picture it worked more or less. Flare was a biggest concern and I had to experiment a lot with the aperture. A f2.5 worked best for the EF 35mm L used in this shot. Any smaller aperture caused a lot more flare.

BTW, the shot is the re-sized jpeg straight out of cam.

Kind regards, Robert
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: FunPhotons on March 09, 2013, 09:04:02 AM
So I purchased the Singe-Ray reverse grad listed above and the Hard Edge Lee, the Soft Edge being out of stock. Both .9/3 stops, and I did some quick tests last night.

The Reverse Grad made me wonder why I got it on first sight, the reverse gradation is so gradual it seems like a normal GND would work just as well. This is just by visual inspection, it wasn't as differentiated from the GND as I had expected.

In quick tests it worked well though. It was a completely clear and bright afternoon and I get a good view of the setting sun from my doorstep. It gave me a nicely blue sky, detailed landscape with proper exposure between the two shooting directly into the sun. Of course it reduced and in some cases eliminated flare. Nice shots!

The .9 Lee hard edge isn't the appropriate choice for where I'm shooting (not at the ocean) but it worked well and gave me a great sky.

Overall I'm loving the Lee system and the grads, I had the cheap Cokin system previously which wasn't as good an optical quality and vignetted.  I use the LowePro Filter Holder to store these filters. I use the Blue tab for the Hard Edge grad (remember blue meaning water), the Red to hold the reverse grad (remember red sunset), white for the soft edge (gradual white edge for landscape) and the Big Stopper on the black code. Make them easy to find and organize.
Title: Re: Good GND filter to go with new Lee system
Post by: neuroanatomist on March 09, 2013, 10:14:38 AM
Thanks for the update! 

I've had the Lowepro S&F filter holder for a while (picked it up dirt cheap at a brick-and-mortar shop closeout).  My current thinking is to start with the 3-stop soft and 3-stop reverse to start.  But first up will be a 24-70 II.  :)