An Overview of the Lee Filter System
So there are several parts to the system. First you need an adaptor ring, remove any filters and screw this onto the front of your lens. The good thing with L series Canon lenses is that most are 77mm so you only need one adaptor ring, if your front elements are different sizes you will need a ring for each size. As I shoot on a full frame camera and also use a 17mm lens I brought the 77mm Wide Angle Ring, this is quite ingenious as it screws on and sits rear of the front of the lens, the reason for this is to stop vignetting, my Cokin system did this and it drove me mad.
Next is what they call the Foundation Kit or the Holder, this slides and clips onto the ring and holds the Filters. I am really impressed by the quality and love the locking clip
And last are the filters, I brought Graduated Neutral Density, 0.9 Hard and a 0.6 Soft. The numbers can be a bit confusing so here is a break down for you.
- 0.3 1 stop
- 0.6 2 stops
- 0.9 3 stops
- 1.2 4 stops
Soft means a soft graduation and hard is a more defined hard edged graduation, hard can be used on a flat horizon and also for longer lenses, softs are better if trees or building are protruding into the skyline and generally used for wide angle lenses
The Lee System is quite expensive compared to Cokin. Lees are hand made in the UK and there is a waiting time of 4-6 months from ordering them, I am still waiting for a 10 stopper ND, hope to get it before xmas. Lee cant keep up with world demand for these filters and its because they are the best, if you invest in top quality lenses why would you put a cheap bit of plastic in front of it. One of the pitfalls of cheap NDs is the colour cast they throw, my Cokins do it and its really hard to correct in PS. The Lee filter system does not throw a colour cast and you wont lose any quality by having the filter in place.
My grandfather had a great saying “Cheap is Dear and Dear is Cheap”.... so true.