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sperdynamite
1-Jul-2016, 14:02
Hi,
I'd like to pick up some Lee grads, warming, and B&W filters. Is there a good primer on the differences between the types somewhere? I'm guessing for large format the Lee 100mm series is what I want. But I don't know why one might use a hard or soft grad... Also it seems like the thing to get is the Lee compendium hood. Looks like it has pretty much universal lens compatibility and it's otherwise hard to get a hood on a Chamonix. Any good sources or input would be welcome here. I've basically become convinced that you really can't shoot chromes w/o grads. Maintaining that 4 stop range is a challenge haha.

Thanks in advance!

The Joker
1-Jul-2016, 14:35
Be aware that if you get a universal hood it has two filter slots built into the hood itself and the hood fits directly onto the lens adapter ring of whichever size you have bought for your lens. I mention this because it means you don't need one of the 100mm system holders unless you want to use more than two filters at the same time. This may not be so obvious from the lee website. So you only only need adapter ring and universal hood and filters/grads. The filter sizes should be the ones which fit the hood slots which I think are the 100mm ones.
Also if you have very wide angle lenses then there is a danger of vignetting if you are using the system holder so save yourself some money and don't buy a system holder unless you really need it.

As to which grad, it depends on the lighting contrast of your subject. The greater the contrast between the sky and the land, the stronger the grad you need. I suspect you'll need a couple. Watch the video demonstrations on their website which give you guidance.

The Joker
1-Jul-2016, 15:44
the page you want for B&W filters is this one I think.

http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera-directory/camera-dir-list/category/black-and-white-filters#3-light-yellow-standard

watch the videos on the right hand side which include Some Grads

Drew Wiley
1-Jul-2016, 15:54
Should work fine for wide-angle lenses if you use an oversized step-up ring first, unless you're talking about some really short XXL style lens, or those requiring
exceptionally big filters to begin with. I don't use the Lee filter system at all; but the hoods themselves are nice as malleable bellows-style shades.

sperdynamite
2-Jul-2016, 11:39
Thanks everyone! Looks like I'll get the hood. Can't wait to see some Velvia done right with these guys. :-)

biedron
2-Jul-2016, 13:10
I concur, if you want to shoot landscapes with chromes, you need grads.

My experience with the hard vs. soft option, for 4x5 and 8x10, is that "hard" is not that hard in large format. Hard is probably all you really need, but I'd suggest starting with hard and see if you feel you need a soft version.

I use the Lee wide angle hood, with the wide-angle adapter rings, and I have been quite satisfied with the system.

Bob

Ari
2-Jul-2016, 18:52
My experience with the hard vs. soft option, for 4x5 and 8x10, is that "hard" is not that hard in large format. Bob

Bob, can you explain, or elaborate this please?
Thank you

biedron
3-Jul-2016, 00:29
Ari,

I find the demarcation line not well defined when using the hard grads on large format. I don't have to worry about precise placement of the filter because the transition across the grad/no grad boundary is very subtle.

Bob

Ari
3-Jul-2016, 05:35
Thanks, Bob. I'm surprised and pleased to hear that.

sperdynamite
3-Jul-2016, 11:01
So what If I'm looking at a scene with a mixed horizon? One tall tree or a diagonal horizon? Still the hard grad or is that the situation where you might want a soft? I'm looking at getting one of the Lee 3 filter kits, but I'd like some money left over for an 81A or possibly an orange for B&W. Costs are adding up though...

Does anyone use the big stopper for 4x5? With Provia and Velvia being so slow and small apertures being available I'm not sure I need it...

The Joker
3-Jul-2016, 11:25
Be careful, if you want to rotate the grad away from horizontal the lens hood is going to rotate with it. The hood I have is square and not rectangular so providing I don't extend it out to far I could rotate it without a problem. Obviously with a rectangular hood you would have to adjust the hood extension so that the long sides don't vignette the corners of the image but that leaves the short sides not giving as much cover as maybe desirable but it really depends on lighting conditions and how wide your lens is. Its a minor thing which you just need to be careful of and not a major worry.
It would be nice if you could rotate the filters and leave the hood square. Not sure if that is achievable. I suppose that is where using a filter holder without the hood has a benefit unless you need the hood which normally helps especially if there is enough light to need a grad in the first place. I'm not sure if there is any system which really addresses this.
Currently I only have filters for B&W and not grads.

biedron
3-Jul-2016, 16:17
True enough. I bought a separate filter holder (without the hood) for such a situation - but have never had occasion to actually need it. YMMV

Lee does make something to gang together two holder so that you can use multiple grads at different orientations - not sure if that would work with the hood though.

Bob

sperdynamite
4-Jul-2016, 07:54
I'm wondering if I should just stick to threaded filters for B&W colors... I assume that I can do filter, then the hood and grads. My shortest lens is a 90mm and I'll usually be sticking with a 150 and 250. Even modern MRC B+W filters in 67mm are cheaper than Lee for Reds, or warming filters.

The Joker
4-Jul-2016, 08:15
That's your call. If price is a stopper you then you get what you can afford. The 100mm filters of most systems are considered "professional" accessories I think and prices are ramped up. And they are low volume sales items which always cost more.

But bear in mind that if all your lenses have different filter thread sizes then you need a filter for each of them. So if you like to have yellow,orange and red filters for each of three lenses then you need 9 filters in total. Whereas with lee system (or other system) you only need one adpater ring for each lens and one filter of each colour which works on all lenses.

The Joker
4-Jul-2016, 14:14
An alternative system. I don't know if its cheaper or not.

http://www.formatt-hitech.com/

FredrickSummers
5-Jul-2016, 04:49
So what If I'm looking at a scene with a mixed horizon? One tall tree or a diagonal horizon? Still the hard grad or is that the situation where you might want a soft? I'm looking at getting one of the Lee 3 filter kits, but I'd like some money left over for an 81A or possibly an orange for B&W. Costs are adding up though...

Does anyone use the big stopper for 4x5? With Provia and Velvia being so slow and small apertures being available I'm not sure I need it...

I use the Lee 100 system on almost every single shot I have fired so far, I also use it on 35mm as well. On the b/w filters, I was in the same boat as you. Save some $$ and get this set instead of the Lee branded ones
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/811187-REG

I'm very happy with them and all 4 filters for about the price of one Lee. I can't see justifying the price of some other brands for this.

And on your earlier question on the big stopper, I don't have it, but after having the system for several months and it going everywhere with me, I would have only used the big stopper three times so far. I use the little stopped though as its not TOO dark and with LF we can really stop down if we want. I find my shutter speeds often in 1-4 sec before ND filters most of the time anyway without reciprocity, that would be several minutes with big stopper.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The Joker
5-Jul-2016, 06:41
The set linked to above are highend glass or resin filters and yes, very expensive.

The Lee polyester filters are cheap. The resin ones are expensive. If you want the best you have to pay for it.

But if you get the polyester filters they fit into square mounts (some may already come mounted so check first):

http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera-directory/camera-dir-list/category/black-and-white-set
http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera-directory/camera-dir-list/category/mounts-for-polyester-filters

The polyester filters are like gels and are only approx 12 each in the UK. Perfectly good filters. You just need to take extra care not to scratch or bend them.

Resin Grads are much more expensive

You can get polyester ND filter set for 34 CHEAP!!!

see following which gives a clue if you look through what they are selling and check the spec of each product you're interested in.

http://www.wexphotographic.com/square-or-rectangular-filters-lee-filters/b3073-m144

example for no8 yellow filter:

in Resin:

62 http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-lee-no-8-yellow-100x100-filter-for-black-and-white/p1010613

same effect filter in Polyester:

12 http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-lee-no-8-yellow-filter/p1010755 CHEAP!!!

14 for 10 100mm polyster mounts. CHEAP!!!.

Buy them already mounted and in sets and they even cheaper.

http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-lee-black-and-white-filter-set/p1010707 CHEAP!!!

http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-lee-neutral-density-filter-set/p1010704 CHEAP!!!

So in short they are only expensive becasue you are trying to buy the most expensive resins in which case I have no sympathy.
Get the polyester ones, where you can, and save yourself a bundle of unecessary expense. Spend the bucks on the resin/glass grads and only get the ones you really need because they are only available in resin/glass.

I have the polyester filters for B&W (yellow, orange, Red etc) and find them to be absolutely fine.

sperdynamite
5-Jul-2016, 07:21
So as to the other part of my question which is the filters in use... When metering a scene with the intention of using an ND grad, am I correct in thinking that I should take a spot meter reading of the sky, a mid tone, and shadow to establish my range, then use the ND to bring it down to a 3-4 stop range for Provia or Velvia? So if my sky reads zone VIII from my shadow then I should use the .6 ND grad to bring that area to zone VI? Like how tight should the range be for the Fuji chrome stocks? Where would I want a blue sky to read vs the ground. I do understand that I won't be bringing out tons of shadow detail generally...

The Joker
5-Jul-2016, 07:36
Can't answer that with any experience of Velvia so I'll leave that to those who know velvia but essentially yes.

It will depend how you think about your exposure. Many people would use an incident meter with positive film. Take a reading and then judge from experience how much ND Grad to put in and expose at the reading taken. Others would read a shadow and expose for that but not before taking a highlight reading and putting in enough ND grad to bring the highlights within the range of the film. There are various ways to do it depending on how you think about it and like to work.

There will be a process of trial and error until you get to know each particular film and how it responds in different lighting conditions and how much effect the ND grad really has on the result. And of course your taste in the end result. Using filters is a subjective thing and no hard and fast rules apply as to how much or little filtration you should use.

Drew Wiley
5-Jul-2016, 08:19
I've never used a grad filter in my life (now fifty years of shooting in the mtns), simply because I've never yet seen a picture taken with a grad that didn't look outright fake. But they're a popular fad. If you gotta do it, don't use cheap polyester filters; they'll seriously degrade image quality. Buy the resin ones. But polyester might be suitable for just testing, to see if the concept appeals to you or not, before you commit serious money.

The Joker
5-Jul-2016, 08:34
I don't think anyone makes polyester grads so how you know that they affect the end result quality is a moot point. Especially since you never used a polyester or resin one.

sperdynamite
5-Jul-2016, 09:11
Most chrome stocks don't look 'real' either. If you want a 'real' looking photograph you're better off with digital capture. In fact B&W is wholly rooted in the surreal in and of itself! If I wanted real I'd just use my eyes and look at the landscape hah. As to whether the polyester filters degrade image quality I seriously doubt it, especially if you use them with a hood. The only time I've noticed a cheap filter is from flaring, and I intend to use the Lee Hood so problem solved.

The Joker
5-Jul-2016, 09:46
The only issue I have with the polyester filters is that are very easy to damage if care is not taken with them. They are much softer material than the resin filters. But providing you aren't one of those ham fisted people and take care of them, then no problem.

The Joker
5-Jul-2016, 10:20
and I believe that polyester filters are used in the ilford under the lens filters for black and white printing and everyone without fail says they DO NOT degrade image quality. And Lee have been selling polyester filters since the year dot and I've never seen any negative comments about them.

The Joker
5-Jul-2016, 10:33
cokin make some 100mm ND grad filters in glass which are much cheaper. But you would need to check that thickness is right for your holder/hood system.

Drew Wiley
5-Jul-2016, 11:51
Sounds like you're the one joking, Joker. I have a sizable set of Lee polyester filters which I use for mock-ups, tests, etc, but NEVER for high quality over-the-lens
imaging. So odds are, I have far more experience with these than you do, which is pretty much something I've figured out all along for fully apparent reasons.

Ari
6-Jul-2016, 15:50
I use Haida filters, in both 100mm and 150mm sizes, for ND and ND grad.
They're made of Schott glass and the holders are pretty solid.
Prices are pretty good and the line is extensive.

Tim Stahl
28-Jul-2016, 08:08
But bear in mind that if all your lenses have different filter thread sizes then you need a filter for each of them. So if you like to have yellow,orange and red filters for each of three lenses then you need 9 filters in total. Whereas with lee system (or other system) you only need one adpater ring for each lens and one filter of each colour which works on all lenses.

This is not the most efficient route to using threaded filters. Buy the largest filters you may need, then use step up rings to mate the smaller lenses. For example, you have three lenses with 77, 67, and 58mm front thread size. You would buy the color filters you need in 77mm, as well as 67 to 77 and 58 to 77 step up rings.

As an aside, using this system, you would also only need to buy a 77mm adapter to the square filter system.