View Full Version : Product review - Lee Filters Gel Snap

Chad Jarvis
7-Apr-2000, 18:27
Respond if you feel you must... Just received my new Gel Snap today after I finally decided to satisfy my curios ity about it. The holder was $20 from B&H, which I realized was far too little to spend; I had to drop at least $50 if I was going to take the time to call. S o while I was at it I ordered a black and white set of 4x4" polyester for $47.95 . I figured that the whole deal was, well, a deal. I had no idea how pleasantl y surprised I was. Not only did I get a really nice little filter holder (truly the rubberband arrangement sounds a lot cheesier that it really is), but I also got a set of 4x4" poyester colour temperature (85B, 85C, 80A and 80C) with the filter holder. Bonus! Next to getting a Wollensak 6.25" for $98, this is proba bly the best deal I've ever gotten on a piece of photo gear.

David Nash
7-Apr-2000, 18:50
Hi Chad

I was also pleasantly surprised to get the filters when I ordered the filter holder.

However, don't do what a friend of mine did. After receiving his filter holder, he snapped it onto the lens of his Leica 35mm camera and went out walking on the Scottish hills in knee-deep heather. When it started to rain he put the camera under his jacket to protect it from the elements, and continued walking.

You've guessed it. When he stopped in order to take his first photograph of the day, there was no sign of the filter holder - it had come adrift. We suspect it is being used as a rain-hood by the local haggis...

Larry Huppert
7-Apr-2000, 21:13

Maybe I could sell the free Gel Snaps I got when buying filter sets. On ebay I might be able to get $30 or $40 each if they sell for $20 new at retail.

I guess you catch my drift - to me, they are worth about as much as I paid for them. They don't handle 4 x 6 grad filters, and I wasn't wild about their ease of use. It is good to have the filter parallel with the lens - you can get sort of close w/ the Gel Snap. They aren't big enough to solve some otherwise difficult fitting problems with large lenses and filters. You better load up the right filter before you *carefully* place it on your lens because the mechanism is too stiff to be able to easily make a change once it's on your lens. The real bonus is when you aren't careful removing the gel snap, and that big rubber band goes scraping across the front element of your nice lens. It can't be good for the lens coating.

I keep my Gel Snaps around knowing that some day I'll find a good use for them. With a little extra mounting hardware, you might be able to turn them into automotive cup holders.

Brian Ellis
8-Apr-2000, 08:29
I sprung for the gel snap also. It works fine as long the front of the lens is large enough to keep some tension in the rubber band and thus hold the filter onto the lens. However, it doesn't seem to work with lenses that have smaller front elements. In my case, that means it doesn't work with my 150 mm G Claron and my Nikon M 300. Also, since it isn't feasible to rotate the holder once it's been placed on the lens, it doesn't work with a polarizer filter. So I would give it a mixed review.

As an irrelevant aside, I think it's ridiculously overpriced. The "gel snap" is a rubber band and the little plastic gizmo into which you place the filter couldn't cost more than a $1 or so to manufacture. For this they charge $20? I know all about research costs, marketing costs, distribution costs, etc. but still, $20?

Chad Jarvis
8-Apr-2000, 09:35
Well, golly... I'm sure glad everyone shared their horror stories BEFORE I bought the damned thing.

Larry Huppert
8-Apr-2000, 10:06

The Gel Snap *does* solve some subset of the filter mounting problem (whether you like the solution is another issue). It is not a general purpose replacement for a full featured mounting system like Lee or others sell. You don't see Lee packaging Gel Snaps with Grads or Polarizers. I'd guess the previous response is pretty accurate about their cost. Ask B&H or Badger about the cost of a polyester filter set with and without the Gel Snap. If I remember, there was only a couple dollar difference at retail.

John Sarsgard
9-Apr-2000, 18:48
Maybe you all can save me some grief on inexpensive filter options. I have most of the filters I need for my 4x5. I bought 67mm glass screw in filters because they are good quality, easy, and all my lenses take 67mm or smaller, so I just use step up adapters for the smaller ones. Only one more problem to solve...grad ND filters that you can move up and down, put at an angle, etc. So I think I need to get Lee or Hitech poly grd ND filters and some kind of holder. Question: since Hitech makes filters that will fit the Cokin P series holder, which you can get for less than ten bucks, is there any reason I should buy a hundred dollar Hitech or Lee holder for what I want to do?