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Mini Dragon Group (ages 6-7)

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John Duran
John Duran

Buy Lee Filters

I have always used screwed on filters until now, mostly by B+W. Having watched WAY too many videos on youtube, it seems that Lee filters are very poppular with the youtubers. I am curious if anyone here have first hand experience with this brand, and can give me some pointers? I read an article the other day, it talks about filters made of glass are fare more surperior quality than those made by Lee which are made of plastic resins. If that's the case then I don't understand why these filters can run for hunder if not higher.

buy lee filters

B+W's screw-on filters have very high quality anti-reflective coatings (you'll see "MRC" on the name of the filter which means they have these coatings. It's Multi-Resistant-Coating" because it's coated for more than one thing... anti-reflectivity being one of them.

Anyway... I ALSO own Lee filters. But these are different animals... the LEE filters are usually square slide-in type filters and a major advantage of these is the ability to use "gradient" filters (filters that are not uniformly coated all the way across).

Screw-on filters have to be purchased in the correct fitler diameter to fit your lens. But once you own the correct size, they do thread directly onto the lens and that means you can still use your lens hood and even attach your lens cap without removing the filter.

Slide-in filters require a filter holder. They make a bracket with several slots or rails into which you slide these filters (because you can stack in more than one filter on the same holder). But these bracket now needs an adapter ring to fit your lens diameter. Also, you can't put the lens cap on when the filter or filter holders are attached... that needs to come off. You probably can't fit it into your camera bag with the filters or holder attachd either.

But one big advantage happens when you own several lenses and they all have different filter size requirements. With "round" fitlers, you can either (a) buy another set of filters or (b) buy the filters in the diameter of the LARGEST lens you own, and then buy "step-up" rings to adapt the smaller lenses to the larger diamter filters.

Also keep in mind that if you plan to shoot a lot of landscapes... you'll prefer slide-in filters. The idea of a gradient filter in a round screw-on style just doesn't work because you can't control where the transition is located (that's the whole idea behind WHY the Lee filters "slide in" ... you can decide how far to slide the filter on to get the transition point to match up to your horizon.)

With slide-in filters, you can't use your lens hood. Lee does make a special version of the filter holder that has a hood built into it (it has the accordian style bellows ... pull it out for long focal length lenses... push it in for short focal length lenses to avoid vignetting.)

For most shooting, I grab my B+W screw-on filters. It's the least amount of fuss. I own 77mm diameter filters in that system (it's a very popular size). A few of my lenses are 82mm. (my original 24-70 uses 77mm filters although the new version II uses 82mm filters). If I'm going out to shoot landscapes or planning to use my tilt-shift lenses... I grab the Lee filter system.

If you do (or plan to do) a lot of landscapes... maybe you'll want grad ND filters and for that you want the slide-in type system. If not, and you just want to use circular polarizers and ND filters... then I'd go with the thread-on filters (and you'll have a hard time beating the quality of B+W).

BTW, the slide-in filters do come in sizes... but the 100mm width (aka 4") size is the most popular by far. There are also other vendors who make slide-in filters. Cokin makes some low-cost filters. Singh-Ray makes some high-end filters.

I do own a Tiffen filter (before I understood the importance of buying good quality filters). I've placed the Tiffen & B+W filters on a piece of black card-stock side-by-side and the difference is very noticeable. The Tiffen has a strong glassy reflection. The "black" of the cardstock it is resting on looks dark gray. The B+W glass looks nearly invisible. The black of the card-stock still looks black (as though I placed a filter ring on the card with no glass in it). If you try to see your own reflection in the glass, the Tiffen reveals a strong reflection. The B+W offers a very weak reflection ... there is one, but it's not nearly as strong.

I'll caution you that all flat filters will have reflections. It's not a question of "if" ... it's a question of "how much" or how strong is the reflection. Quality filters will have reflections which are too weak to notice or only show up with particular bright lights. Poor quality filters can have obnoxious reflections that are bright enough to be noticed in many more situations.

Thank you for the detailed info and explanation. As you've stated, having multiple lenses with different diameters, buying filters for both lens can be very expensive, thus I opted for the slider one from Lee.

The reason for asking is that, I read somewhere wihch stated that most Lee's filters are made of plastic or resins, where as other brands are made of glass. Can you really tell the different between glass and resin?

One exception is that the Lee circular polarizing filter is real glass (not sure why because polarizing sunglasses are usually a plastic resin). Mine actually has a few chips on the edges (because it's real glass ... a problem I don't have to worry about with the rest of my Lee filters because they are resin.)

Glass is not necessarily better than resin. I bought solar filters for my camera lenses and telescopes. One of them was "glass" and I had always assumed that since it was perfectly flat (you can see wrinkles in the other filters) that it must optically be the best. Turns out that wasn't true... my polymer solar films are optically better and have less distortion than the glass. Usually glass has a higher index of refraction than plastics (and when you're trying to not refract the light, the plastic or resin would be an advantage.)

So confusing with all the brands. Some like Hoya, some preferred Tiffen. Not sure which to get. Properly try saving more and then get Lee since I already have Lee holder. Having said that, wondering if you could get filters from different brand and mount them on Lee's holder? I would think as long as they are the same size, they should work. Am I correct on this?

LED lighting has many benefits, but one of its stumbling blocks is that its intensity can contribute to the fade times of standard lighting filter. In order to overcome this, the LEE Filters Research and Development team has developed a new method of production, to ensure filters last longer when used in conjunction with LED lights.

Not only are Zircon filters longer-lasting than their standard counterparts, they're sturdier too. Manufactured using a 180-Micron material, they are more than double the thickness of a normal lighting filter. This makes them more durable and easy to use.

Long regarded as one of the most popular color filter brands for photography and cinematography productions, LEE Filters provides high-quality lighting filters in a vast range of colors that are accurately consistent from batch to batch, long-lasting, and dependable. LEE Filters' continues to fill the requirements of lighting designers across the world for stage and studio productions alike.

On a recent visit to On Landscape headquarters we asked Jon Cuff whether he would be able to answer a few questions about the process of creating the filters and a few questions from our readers as well. Jon graciously agreed and also took a few photographs of the operation for us.

When people see a Lee filter for the first time, there is a perception that you must just buy in a sheet of clear plastic, dye one end and then chop them to size and wonder why they are so expensive. Could you let us know just how the filters are made and why the processes are so demanding? i.e. plastic type, optical purity, how to get parallel/smooth, how to get neutral dyes, how to get the right gradation.

Firstly, it is important to note that our resin filters are made by hand in Andover, Hampshire. It is here we convert a selection of raw materials into the filters many of our customers know and love. The resin used in our filters is a formulation known as CR39 (which has the highest abrasion/scratch resistance of any uncoated optical plastic). This is similar to that used in the manufacture of spectacle lenses, but it is not the same. We buy the constituent parts of a CR39 resin, and our team of chemists formulate it to our own specifications and tolerances in house. This gives us ultimate control over the quality of the resin; plus the mixing conditions we use gives a superb optical clarity that we could not achieve by simply buying in sheets.

All resin filters are hand dyed in tanks heated to a specific temperature. The heat will enable the dye to migrate into the surface layers of the resin. The density of the filter is not only affected by the dye itself but also the duration in the dye tank.

Graduated filters are partially dipped into the dye and agitated depending on the type of graduation we are producing. This is a very time-consuming process which can vary from filter to filter; for example, a 1.2 (4stop) ND takes longer than a 0.6 (2 stop) ND.

The very dense neutral density filters have proved very popular and are glass based rather than plastic. How are these manufactured and how hard was it to get a result that has minimal colour casts? 041b061a72


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