View Full Version : Lee vs. Singh-Ray graduated neutral density filters

Jim Becia
4-Mar-2013, 14:14
I'm looking to buy a couple of graduated neutral density filters. Anyone have an opinion on either of these brands, or have a recommendation for something else. It needs to be at least 100mm in width which is about 4 inches (I think,) and at least 150 mm long (6 inches.) Thanks. Jim

4-Mar-2013, 14:30
I've got the Lee grads - full sets of both soft and hard grads. I've never used or seen the Singh Ray to compare the two but can definitely recommend Lee. Very high quality, no colour cast, does what it says on the tin basically!

Lachlan 717
4-Mar-2013, 14:53

Do you want these for use with colour or B&W?

Greg Miller
4-Mar-2013, 15:24
You might want to consider Singh-Ray for their reverse neutral grad. The filter is darker at the transition point (between clear and density) and then becomes less dense higher up on the filter. This is perfect if you like to shoot with the sun low on the horizon (when you need more density on the horizon and less density higher in the sky). This is my most used GND filter.

Joseph Dickerson
4-Mar-2013, 15:44
My experience is the opposite of Welly's. I have four of the Singh Ray filters, but have not used the Lee's.

The Singh Rays are fine, completely neutral, which is a problem with some brands (read Cokin), and don't seem to be overly prone to damage. However, I am pretty careful with any filter(s) that cost me $100 each.

Sounds like either Lee or Singh Ray would do it for you.


john borrelli
4-Mar-2013, 17:02
I have Singh Rays I use them in a cokin p holder. I dislike the cokin holder intensely but the filters are the best. I have not used Lee filters or hi tech, etc. I wish Cokin could have come up with a simple lock for the holder though. You lock the ring against the holder, screw the holder on to the lens, unlock the holder from the ring put in the filter, adjust the filter, then lock the holder to make the exposure and unscrew the holder from the lens, it could have been that simple!

I don't think you need to use grads with black and white film but others may correct me on this. With color slide film they are helpful. I was able to match a magenta sky with some purple loosestrife that I would not have been able to do without the grad for one of my favorite images. Remember to view the scene at the taking aperture and use post-its on the darkened part of the grad filter, of course take the post it off before exposing the film. If the area you are trying to darken is irregular then it's the darkroom or photoshop instead.

Jim Becia
4-Mar-2013, 18:36

Do you want these for use with colour or B&W?

I shoot color transparency.

4-Mar-2013, 20:45

I also have a set of both hard and soft Lee GND's. They are great, and are color neutral. I have heard good things about the Singh Rays too, so I doubt you'd go wrong either way.

I have been (pleasantly) surprised in that the hard grads never seem to produce a very hard line. That makes the filter placement less exacting than it might otherwise be. I don't know if others' experiences are like that, or if it is just because I tend to use them with wide angles on 4x5 or what. But based on that I might suggest you start with the hard grads and see if that is suffficient for you. Perhaps others can comment.

I like the Lee holders very much, either the stand-alone holder (Foundation Set) or the ones build into the lens shades. For each lens I have a Lee "wide angle adapter ring" permanently installed, and I use a Lee lens cap over that for protection in storage. I don't like the Lee caps very much (not nearly as refined in design as the rest of the system), but with the adapter rings they make it a snap to set up quickly when the light is changing - takes about 5 seconds to remove the cap, snap on the holder or hood, and insert the filter. Otherwise you have to screw in the adapter ring each time you want to attach the holder.

One note about the Lee system - I don't know how it is right now, but a year or so ago things were in very short supply.

Hope this helps


Mark Stahlke
4-Mar-2013, 21:05
I own and use both Lee and Singh Ray filters. Both are high quality, color neutral and accurate. There is a difference in the gradation. See the attached photo but pay no attention to the color balance.

4-Mar-2013, 22:10
I own both and other than the transitions being different, i can't tell a difference but i have not done any tests. The sing rays gradations are easier to see if i recall. I use a black piece of card clipped to the filter to line up the edge for more precise placement.

C. D. Keth
4-Mar-2013, 22:36
The fact that those filters look different in the same photo on the same light source means that at most one of them can really be color neutral. I wonder, which one is it?

Bill McMannis
5-Mar-2013, 18:13
I have Singh-Ray, Lee and a few Hi-Tech filters. The Singh-Ray is the most is the best, IMO, for having neutral effects of color.