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Author Topic: How Good are Lee resin filters?  (Read 8120 times)
Tom H.
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« on: June 10, 2010, 12:03:03 AM »
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I'm looking at the Lee Filter system for their soft grad ND filters.

I'm shocked at the price of everything - from the plastic filters, to the plastic filter holders to the outrageous price of the rings.

How good is the optical quality of a piece of uncoated plastic that one throws in front of thousands of dollars of optical glass?
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Josh-H
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2010, 07:03:22 AM »
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Quote from: Tom H.
I'm looking at the Lee Filter system for their soft grad ND filters.

I'm shocked at the price of everything - from the plastic filters, to the plastic filter holders to the outrageous price of the rings.

How good is the optical quality of a piece of uncoated plastic that one throws in front of thousands of dollars of optical glass?

Put it this way - they are worth every penny. I would not part with my LEE filter system for pretty much anything. Most of the shots on my website used LEE grads - they simply dont come any better.

Cheap?

No.

Good?

The Best.

Personally, I wouldn't put anything else in front of an expensive lens.
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Luis Argerich
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2010, 09:29:55 AM »
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I tried Lee, Hitech and Singh Ray and I think Singh-Rays are the best ones. The three are really good.
Just an opinion, of course.
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Rod.Klukas
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2010, 12:53:40 AM »
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Quote from: Tom H.
I'm looking at the Lee Filter system for their soft grad ND filters.

I'm shocked at the price of everything - from the plastic filters, to the plastic filter holders to the outrageous price of the rings.

How good is the optical quality of a piece of uncoated plastic that one throws in front of thousands of dollars of optical glass?
The most difficult filter for a manufacturer to make is Neutral density, and or Polarizers.  The truly neutral ones are actually few and far between.
Lee makes an excellent filter-flat on both sides and truly neutral.  The precision rings and holder hold the filter perpendicular to the center line of the lens so as to not bend the light rays.  Cheap filters and or cheap step rings which do not hold the filters truly perpendicular to the path of the light are the primary cause of loss in sharpness or focus.
Glass ND grads from Schneider or Heliopan are quite good, but far more expensive.  So the Lee turn out to be a great value.
Rod
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 12:56:22 AM by Rod.Klukas » Logged

Rod Klukas
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Arca-Swiss Digital Camera Solutions including R-series Technical Cameras, Large Format View Cameras, and Ballheads D4, D4m, P1, P0, Z1 & Z2.
Nacnud
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2010, 06:12:07 AM »
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Some of my photobuddies use Lee filter holders with Cokin filters.
The holders are a thing of engineering beauty and a pleasure to use - so that decision is easy.
But the price of the Lee filters is very off putting.

However, having seen the noticeable magenta cast my photobuddies get in their skies I would never use one or recommend a cheap grad.
My Lee grads are superb.

I went with the digital starter kit as it comes with a nice pouch and cloth; then added in a one more grad.
Hence I've only got two grads - both 2 stop, one hard and one soft.
That's a combination that works in nearly all situations
and I REALLY take good care them!
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K.C.
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2010, 01:22:08 AM »
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Quote from: Tom H.
How good is the optical quality of a piece of uncoated plastic that one throws in front of thousands of dollars of optical glass?

Awfully damned good.

They're a standard in the film industry for a very good reason.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2010, 05:22:15 AM »
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Quote from: K.C.
Awfully damned good.

They're a standard in the film industry for a very good reason.

The reason being the lack of a better alternative. That's fine, but it doesn't mean they are damned good necessarily. For that one needs to quantify the deterioration they cause (besides the fake look that grads produce on anything but a featureless straight line edge such as a horizon). Also note that in many movie/documentary industry applications the final output resolution is much lower than needed for larger format still frame output ...

Grads are a compromise to begin with. Their optical quality won't improve the optical quality of the lens, so the question remains; how much deterioration do they introduce, and does it hurt output quality?

Cheers,
Bart
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AlastairMoore
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2010, 09:31:03 PM »
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Bite the bullet and suck up the price. You won't regret purchasing Lee filters, and if you look after them properly, they'll last forever.
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darylgo
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2010, 11:22:37 PM »
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Bite the bullet and suck up the price. You won't regret purchasing Lee filters, and if you look after them properly, they'll last forever.

Many cameras have come and gone since purchasing my Lee filters, they'll last well into the future.....that's a good investment!!!!!!!
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Nino Loss
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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2010, 12:22:10 AM »
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I am using hitech's system (ring, holder and bellows shade) every day. It's thick, solid and dependable metal. The filters are very good too. Only glass would be better. Also, I had nothing but very pleasant experiences with them over the phone.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing to do with hitech except being a happy customer  Smiley
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DougieC
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2010, 05:15:27 PM »
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Another vote in favour of the Lee filters here. I tried Cokin and Hitech years ago and gave up on them due to the colour cast that they produced. I've never tried Singh-Ray which are apparently excellent too but you'll not be disappointed with the LEE system. Brilliant.
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sniper
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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2010, 03:41:23 AM »
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I remember seeing an optical comparrison a few years back, while some filters were far better made than others the verdict at the time was with the filter so close to the lens there was little to choose in "real world" use.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2010, 07:09:11 AM »
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I remember seeing an optical comparrison a few years back, while some filters were far better made than others the verdict at the time was with the filter so close to the lens there was little to choose in "real world" use.

That would very much depend on the optical construction. I have a Russian made Fisheye lens with a defect in the coating (!) of the front element. It produces a visible blur in the image. Some longer focal length telelenses are designed with an exchangeable filter included in the optical path (a clear filter is inserted by default).

I's impossible to make a general statement about the amount of influence, but overall optical performance never improves with the use of added filters.

Cheers,
Bart
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