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Sweep
27-May-2017, 10:02
Ok, card's on the table, even though I have yet to shoot a single sheet of 10x8, I am starting to research filters for a future purchase.
Unless Fuji re-introduce Velvia 50 to the European & US markets, and lets hope all the new Intrepid 10x8 backers give Fuji a kick to do so, I am only ever likely to shoot Ilford black and white. Having only ever shot FP4+ and HP5 with my Fuji GF670 I do know that I want red, yellow, orange and, possibly, green filters for the 10x8. Being only 40.5mm thread size these were relatively inexpensive even though I bought Heliopan.
I currently own a Schneider 240mm Apo-Symmar which has a 77mm filter thread and whilst I have no immediate plans, or funds, to buy another lens if I did at some point in the future it would likely be a Symmar 360mm which has a 112mm filter thread.
I have never owned a Lee-type slot filter system but, I presume, they must have some advantages over the circular type such as gradients etc.
As either system will be a significant investment which system should I go for and why?
Do I need grad filters (noob question, I know) when just shooting B&W?
Will I be able to use the Lee 100 system with a Symmar 360mm?
If I never get a second lens the Heliopan system will be cheaper but if I do plan to buy a 360mm then it would make sense to start building a Lee set-up now.

Your guidance is appreciated

...Sweep

pjd
27-May-2017, 22:47
Why are you so keen on the 360 Symmar? There are smaller, lighter, cheaper, sharper / softer lenses out there! 112mm is not a filter size I'd plan to get into without a compelling reason - and I happen to have a 360 Symmar (bought it cheaply for the compound shutter).

I don't think grad ND filters will be anywhere near as useful with monochrome as they are with velvia in small formats. You could try a cheap (Chinese eBay) version of the Lee filter system and see how you get on with it. Or get a cheap holder / set of adapters and good quality filter to try.

angusparker
27-May-2017, 23:43
Its a hard choice. The Lee system (or a copy) is more flexible in that it works with all sizes of lenses (up to 95mm?) as long as you have an adapter ring for the filter thread size. Also the Lee system has a great hood that really improves images. The grads are less useful than in color work that is for sure which negates that difference. Also, the Lee filters are a bit harder to keep clean and are more easily scratched than a glass filter.

I also have individual filters for my most common filter sizes (52/67/77) - and some step-up rings for odd sizes. What I have found is that the set-up rings can be a real pain, but the Lee adapter rings are really easy to screw on and off because you have more to grab onto. I highly recommend standardizing on one filter ring size for your lenses if you can which ever way you go. It's pretty easy to do 52mm or 67mm in 4x5 or 67mm or 77mm in 8x10. IMHO I'd stay away from any lens with a filter ring size larger than 77mm for 8x10.

When I'm traveling light I usually just grab the glass filters, but when I have the luxury of more equipment I take the Lee, especially when there is likely to be glare issues.

Doremus Scudder
28-May-2017, 07:57
If you have a lot of lenses with large (and different) filter sizes, then some kind of filter system like the Lee would make sense (if they go up to 112mm, that is...).

In your place, I would likely look for lenses with smaller filter sizes and then buy one set of good-quality, coated glass screw-in filters in the largest size and step-up rings for the lenses with smaller filter sizes. I shoot 4x5, not 8x10, so can get by with relatively smaller filters overall. All my lenses take, or have step-up rings t take, 67mm filters.

Best,

Doremus

Sweep
28-May-2017, 09:36
Why are you so keen on the 360 Symmar?

Well maybe I am not, but the 360 Symmar is a relatively common lens, demonstrates my dilemma as far as phrasing the question to the forum, and is possibly the worst case, i.e. 'oversized', filter thread on a 360mm.

Sweep
28-May-2017, 09:43
Its a hard choice. The Lee system is more flexible in that it works with all sizes of lenses (up to 95mm?) as long as you have an adapter ring for the filter thread size. Also the Lee system has a great hood that really improves images. The grads are less useful than in color work that is for sure which negates that difference. Also, the Lee filters are a bit harder to keep clean and are more easily scratched than a glass filter.


Yes, the adaptor ring is one of the main reasons for considering the Lee; the ability to buy just one 40 adaptor ring instead of four new Heliopan filters. The hood is something that I hadn't thought about but, after reading your reply, I have had a look at some YouTube vids on it.
Are graduated coloured filters, like red and orange, any good as that would seem an ideal solution for B&W where I could just emphasis the sky without negatively effecting the rest of the image?

Sweep
28-May-2017, 10:40
If you have a lot of lenses with large (and different) filter sizes, then some kind of filter system like the Lee would make sense (if they go up to 112mm, that is...).

In your place, I would likely look for lenses with smaller filter sizes and then buy one set of good-quality, coated glass screw-in filters in the largest size and step-up rings for the lenses with smaller filter sizes. I shoot 4x5, not 8x10, so can get by with relatively smaller filters overall. All my lenses take, or have step-up rings t take, 67mm filters.


Only have one lens at the moment but I will be able to afford to start building a filter system before I buy a second lens. I may actually never buy a second lens but want to fully research filters, and the possibilities to use with different lens threads, before I commit to one solution.

Thanks for your replies PJD, Angus and Doremus

...Sweep

Corran
28-May-2017, 11:27
Lee's "standard" foundation kit show that they have a 112mm adapter ring. However, you should realize it will vignette into the IC. It's basically a step-down ring, as the Lee system is really only designed to sit flush on the lens with up to 82mm lens rings, or using the "slip-on" Lee system, you can slip it over a 100mm-wide lens. But that being said, the 360mm Symmar has plenty of IC so it may not be an issue.

Also, I use GND filters even on b&w. It prevents blown highlights and makes the negatives easier to scan and print.

In my opinion though, I wouldn't drag the 360mm Symmar far into the field, unless you had a good reason for it. Plus that huge lens element and being single-coated (mine is, anyway) would be asking for trouble. I'd be looking for a 355mm G-Claron or some other process lens and stick with your 77mm filter size.

Here's the Lee kit and a large ring on top of my 360mm Symmar to show how much smaller it is:

165520

Lee I think does make an "oversized" filter system. Big $$$ though probably.

xkaes
28-May-2017, 12:35
I too would shy away from a filter thread that wide (112mm), but you MIGHT be able to get by with a narrower filter. I'm a 4x5 user, but have had to deal with the same issue. I don't even remember if I have two lenses with the same filter thread! I've standardized on 77mm -- which even works for my wide lenses (as long as I don't put TOO many filters on).

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the Cokin system. It seems similar to Lee and has four, space-sized systems. The L series is 100mm across, the XL is 130mm. Both are pretty pricey, and you might be able to get by with the L series on the 360mm. Their website is horrible, in my opinion, but their filters are nice.

P.S. Depending on your types of pictures, graduated filters (B&W and Color) can be very useful in B&W photography.

Corran
28-May-2017, 12:38
My experience with Cokin filters was that they flared horribly. They may have higher-end filters that don't but I never bothered. I have had good experiences with Haida filters which are a bit less expensive than Lee.

Eric Leppanen
28-May-2017, 16:39
Lee also sells a 115mm press-on filter holder which supports their standard 100mm filters:

https://www.robertwhite.co.uk/filters/lee-filters-100mm-system-115mm-push-on-filter-holder-1935.html

Using this holder plus a doughnut adapter (to accommodate lenses with barrel diameters smaller than 115mm) you should be able use the 100mm Lee filter system on a great many large lenses. On something like the 360 Symmar you shouldn't get vignetting unless you use some fairly extreme movements; the scenario you'd have to be most careful of is a square polarizer oriented such that the filter rails start to vignette when movements are applied. I used this setup on a 360 Sironar-S on 8x10 and it worked fine for me, and allowed me to standardize on 100mm filters even with large lenses.

A drawback, of course, is that the holder is pricey.

Regarding filter durability and flaring, Breakthrough Photography is coming out with ND grad filters made from coated Schott glass:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/breakthrough/dark-cpl-and-x4-gnd/description

No word on colored grads, though.

Corran
28-May-2017, 18:50
Eric, do you have a good source for the "donuts?" In the USA preferably. I have been needing a 90-100mm donut for years but haven't found one.

Eric Leppanen
28-May-2017, 19:42
Eric, do you have a good source for the "donuts?" In the USA preferably. I have been needing a 90-100mm donut for years but haven't found one.Lee does indeed sell a 90-100mm donut:

https://www.robertwhite.co.uk/lee-filters-donut-adaptor-100-90mm.html

Apparently they are no longer selling it in the USA (the usual retail suspects don't seem to be stocking it). I would suggest calling Lee USA (they are located in Burbank) and see if they will sell it to you directly (I've purchased from them in this manner in the past). Otherwise Robert White ships to the USA and I have always found them easy to deal with.

Another option is to have donuts custom made by SK Grimes. I don't recall how much these cost me, but I had Grimes make several donuts for my Lee 115mm diameter (100mm filter size) filter holder.

Corran
28-May-2017, 20:10
Thanks, perhaps I will call Lee USA. I looked on the Robert White site and found the one you linked, but shipping is more expensive than the item. That was my problem in the past - when I found someone selling them it was always in the UK and shipping was exorbitant. So I put it off and made due. Honestly a lot of times instead of using a GND I use a matte-finish darkslide to "dodge" the sky.

angusparker
28-May-2017, 21:23
Yes, the adaptor ring is one of the main reasons for considering the Lee; the ability to buy just one 40 adaptor ring instead of four new Heliopan filters. The hood is something that I hadn't thought about but, after reading your reply, I have had a look at some YouTube vids on it.
Are graduated coloured filters, like red and orange, any good as that would seem an ideal solution for B&W where I could just emphasis the sky without negatively effecting the rest of the image?

Yes, there a quite a few specialized filters that go beyond the regular yellow, orange, red, green - more options that the regular screw in filter especially when combined with grads.

I'd go with the Wide Angle hood rather than the regular as it protect against vignetting and give you similar flare protection.

Sweep
2-Jun-2017, 12:46
Just a word of thanks for everyone who posted a reply.
Not sure which way I am going to go with the filters as I don't think there is a decisive argument one way or the other. I do like the Lee wide hood which is something I hadn't considered but as funds are now running very low I might have to go for one or two Heliopans first
That being said I have just bought a box of Provia 100F, as I have to see what 10x8 slide film looks like before it becomes extinct, and which would benefit from Lee grad, but I cant really justify the Lee grad system just for one box and I don't think I would be able to make regular purchases of that stuff due to the huge cost.

...Sweep

Corran
2-Jun-2017, 12:50
Here's one more tip. Buy a nice padded case for your grads. I just dropped my soft case a couple days ago and my favorite GND ($120) shattered :mad:.