View Full Version : Filter Questions

John Hollenberg
23-Feb-2004, 22:28
I have been shooting landscapes on color transparency film without filters and have run into situations where I would like to use a polarizer, a warming filter, or graduated neutral density filter. Spent quite a bit of time combing the archives for information, but still have some questions. I have the Lee Prohood that fits the Cokin P holder, but really don't care for the Cokin holder much--just seems flimsy to me. My LF cameras are the Arca Swiss Discovery and Wista DX II (latter for backpacking). Lenses are 90 (least used), 135, 210 (favorite focal length), 300 and now a 450 on the way. The largest thread size for my lenses is 67 mm, with the exception of the 90 mm lens, which is 82. I already have a series of 4 warming filters size 72 mm which I bought for another camera.


1) I am considering getting the Lee foundation kit instead of the Cokin P holder and buying ND grads to fit this (don't have any yet). Can anyone who has experience with the Lee holder and the Cokin P holder comment on differences and their personal preference?

2) If I get the Canham Compendium hood for the Arca Swiss, will the ND grads work OK with it, or would the grads necessitate using the standard hood from the Lee system?

3) I have narrowed the polarizer down to Heliopan or B+W, probably a warm polarizer. Don't think I need the Kaesemann type polarizer as most of my shooting is in Southern/Central California. For anyone who has used both, what is your current preference and why? The article on this web site on filters showed B+W warm polarizer to be most neutral, but others have commented that the Heliopan is very neutral. Are there other options besides the specific ones I see listed at B&H and Adorama? For instance, only a few warming polarizers are listed in those two brands, and it isn't always clear whether they are the 81A, 81B or KR1.5 (which I gather has a touch of red in it). I was planning to get a 72 mm filter and use step-up rings for that and my current warming filters, but still am not sure if the polarizer can be used attached to the lens with the Lee hood attached directly to the polarizer, or if I would be better off with a compendium hood when using the polarizer.

4) For those who have used both Lee and Singh Ray grad ND filters, which do you prefer and why? I would probably start with 2 stop soft and perhaps 3 stop hard.

Thanks for any input. This forum is certainly a great resource.


Don Boyd
24-Feb-2004, 05:02
John, I am using the Lee system with Singh-Ray and Tiffen 4 inch filters and have no experience with the others you mention. As you know, the Lee system uses adaptor rings for lenses of different sizes. With 5 lenses in three brands (Nikkor, Rodenstock and Fujinon in 90, 150, 200, 300 and 450 mm) I need only 3 adaptors. The Singh-Ray grad ND 2-stop soft and 3-stop hard are a good combination although I find that I don't use them often here in the southwest. Tiffen makes motion picture filters and I am very happy with their 4 inch polarizer, 812 (warming,) and 2-stop ND I have. I also have a.9 Ultra Contrast filter but have not had a chance to use it yet. I have just started using the standard Lee compendium hood that slips into the holder and it seems to work well also, although I have to make sure it is pulled all the way back when using it with the 90mm or it will vignette. I also use all of the above on my Pentax 6x7 system. I bought many of the filters from 2filter.com and the fellow there (Jim?) is quite helpful and very knowledgeable about different brands, their quality and attributes. If you call ask to speak with him as the others appear to be just order takers.

Dan Baumbach
24-Feb-2004, 09:45
I have used Lee and Singh-Ray filters. I switched to Lee when Singh-Ray didn't make a filter large enough for my center filter. The system is very sturdy and the filters are top quality. I also use a Lee Polarizer which I screw into the Lee filter adapter. In this way I can use a polarizer and ND Grad together.

Both the Lee and the Singh-Ray filters are top quality. The edges of the Lee hard grads are softer which I like and their adapters are sturdier and more expensive than the Cokin.

I'm very happy with the Lee filters. I got a book from them where I can store all of my retangular filters instead of having a bunch of separate pouches with Singh-Ray.

Even though Lee filters are readily available in the US, I found Robert White's web page gave the best description of them and even with shipping I believe I saved a bit of money over B&H.

- Dan.

John Hollenberg
24-Feb-2004, 11:54

Thanks for the input. Is that the 105 mm polarizer you are using with the ND grads (and is that the size one has to have to use the combo)? Can the Lee hood be used on top of this combo, or do you just use a hat to shade everything from direct sun?


24-Feb-2004, 15:04
I haven't done much color with my 8x10, but I've done quite a bit in MF (6x4.5). I use the Cokin "P" system - I have one holder, and a ring on all of my MF anf LF lenses. I really like it, and I also use the same compendium hood (Lee) for all of the lenses. I use regular old Cokin rasin filters, and have never had a problem with the optical quality of the filters, either shooting trans film in 6x4.5 or black and white in 6x4.5 and 8x10 inch.

Once again, due to budget, I use the Cokin polarizer (glass, rotating) and the cokin ND grad. The polarizer works fine, I haven't noticed any problems with it as opposed to any other polarizer. As to the ND grad, I have been warned that Cokin resin ND's have a color cast, but I've never noticed this either on the chromes or on the prints, and I have used it pretty extensively in the islands.

Dan Baumbach
25-Feb-2004, 12:06
It's the 105mm Polarizer. I don't know about using Lee hoods on top of this. Robert White answered all my questions very promptly. Why don't you email them.

- Dan.

Tim Werner
27-Feb-2004, 18:24
I've used my Lee hood over everything. As long as you have the correct size adaptor to fit on to the front of the polarizer. (that is if there is a screw mount in the front.) You might also want to look at buying a Lee polarizer which fits directly into the filter slot on the rear of the hood. I use one of these and I'm quite happy with it. Though this does require the filter/hood combo kit, as opposed to the "hood only".