Lee filter system & out in the field

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Curious to know if LF users utilize various filters in the field since they are extra "bulk" & time consuming --a system such as the Lee filter system with its various adapter rings, attachments, screws etc seem to make the photo experience, "complicated" or are filters, etc better suited to the studio??????????? thank you------Raymond A. Bleesz

-- Raymond A. Bleesz (bleesz@vail.net), October 15, 2000



Some of the most useful filters in the field, particularly with color transparency films, are the graduated density types. It just so happens that Lee produces a very well designed and comprehensive system to handle these filters, at a significantly lower price than other makers (other than the Cokin stuff).

I agree, the various adapter rings, holders and hoods are time-consuming to use, and a bit of a pain to haul around and set up. But when you need them, they work well. For other regular color and B&W filters, the screw-in types are much easier to use. Sergio.

-- Sergio Ortega (s.ortega@worldnet.att.net), October 15, 2000.

Depends how many lenses you carry. If you only have one lens, it's easier to use screw-in filters. If you have several, one set of filters with adapters can be easier.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), October 15, 2000.

I have used the Lee system for some time now, and I'm very happy with it. At first, the system was a little inconvenient to use, but with experience, I know exactly what I want, where it is in my pack, and how to put it together. Now I don't think twice about the hardware aspects of setting up a photograph. Sort of like the first time you use a LF camera, everything is a pain to use. But you get used to it and then it is no bother.

-- Ray Dunn (raydunn@mcn.net), October 15, 2000.

The best filter system I have ever used. Their filters fit into a convenient protective carrying wallet (case) and selecting a filter is simple. It opens like a wallet and has soft protective fabric sleeves for each filter. I use the wide angle sun shade. The filters slide right into the slot at the back of the shade. Could not be easier. Would not be without it!

-- Bill Smithe (bs2@aol.com), October 15, 2000.

Raymond, pardon me for jumping in your train! I have an interest for the Lee system too but would like to use it on the Cokin P adapter rings (I have them already). Lee used to make an adapter to Cokin but its cost was as much as a set of Lee adapters and THEY ARE pretty expensive. The Cokin P are not and take a lens cover which makes them very convenient. Has someone found a workaround? Is it technically possible to work an adapter DIY?

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), October 15, 2000.

Of course, what you could also do is use blu-tak or plasticene to hold the filters on.

-- David Kirk (david_j_kirk@hotmail.com), October 15, 2000.

The system seems cumbersome at first and always expensive. It has great advantages, though, which compensate: With one set of Lee filters you can fit all lenses in all formats. To minimize expense I step up all lenses to one larger size using cheap step up rings. In this way I only have to use one Lee adapter ring. Additionally, the graduated ND filters are only possible in this kind of system. The lens hood is a convenient part of the sytem and is cheaper than most MF lens compendium lens hoods. One more cost saving device is a plastic pencil case, (Wallmart $3.00) or VCR plastic boxes $0.50 instead of the Rolls Royce LEE filter carrier. Bulky? yes, but worth it. I no longer use conventional filters and do not miss them. Cokin has the Pro line system; it is so humongous that it is worth considering for studio use only.

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ora.auracom.com), October 15, 2000.

I also use the Lee system, and find their filters great. The ND grads are extremely useful for color transparency work in the field (architectural in my case). I like that they offer both hard and soft transitions. As previously mentioned, using a combination of step-up rings and adapters can lower your overall cost as you don't need as many adapters. What has worked for me is to use two different sizes of adapters, and step-up to the one which is closest. For example, my lenses with 49mm and 52mm step-up to 67mm while 72mm steps up to 82mm. Since I have several lenses which use 67mm directly, the combination works out pretty good.

Since finding some surplus plastic storage boxes for computer tapes at an electronics flea market, I can pack both the 4x4 and 4x6 filters in *much* less space than using the Lee filter wallet (~3x improvement). The frames seperate the polyester filters from each other when packing 4x4 filters, and I place each 4x6 filter in it's own protective sleeve when packing them together.

-- Larry Huppert (Larry.Huppert@mail.com), October 15, 2000.

Expense is not a trivial matter but I don't spare expense on filters while spending thousands on lenses. I use Lee exclusively. I have an adapter for each and every of my modern lenses with modern threads. I leave the adapter on each lens so set-up is a breeze. It is as fast as working with 35mm and screw-on filter and then hood. I have both the wide hood and normal hood and also adapters for placing filters on the 72XL and one for placing hood/filter on a variety of lenses that don't have threads (like the 14"/8 Scheider Gold Dot) though this is the least convenient of the system. Unfortunately there is no good way to shade this combo. Filters are easy...just a B&W kit and three neatral density grads. I can't praise the system enough. When compared to setting up a view camera and leveling and checking everything this added step of attaching the hood/filter is a breeze. My whole lens/filter/hood kit is smaller than many medium kits. I built the system up as I could afford it and consider an adapter as part of every lens purchase.

-- Rob Tucher (rtphotodoc@juno.com), October 16, 2000.

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