Staggering Through The Darkness With The New Lee Filters

on November 24, 2015

Well it is strange, isn't it. For a hundred and fifty-odd years photographers have been trying to get more sensitivity out of their recording surface - sensitising plates, using speed-increasing developers. pre-flashing plates, etc. Developing flash power, flash bulbs, and eventually electronic flash to a very sophisticated level. Making lenses with wider and wider apertures...

And then Lee come along and clap a dirty great black sheet of plastic in front of all the other developments and ten stops of light disappear. People are thrown back to heavy tripods, cable releases and counting their exposure times on their fingers...

The power of fashion, eh? Well, what the heck, Misty waterfalls, glassy oceans, deserted streets - it's almost like Grand Final Day at 2:00 or Christmas Eve in the workhouse.

Up until now many of the fancier wide angle lenses that people wanted to use for landscapes and interiors were handicapped by the design of their front elements. They bulged forward in such an alarming fashion that no filters could be put on. Heretofore in this class of optic only the Nikon 14-24mm f:2.8G ED lens was catered for - Lee made a holder kit called the SW 150 and a matching set of filters for it. Big. Really big. But everyone wanted graduated neutral density filters for landscape, so the kit sold well.

Now the range that can be catered to has enlarged with the Lee SW 150 Mk II. The following lenses can match to this filter holder:

Nikon 14-24mm F:2.8G ED
Nikon 14mmF:2.8D AF ED
Canon 11-24mm
Samyang 14mm f:2.8
Sigma 12-24mm f:4.5-5.6 DG
Tamron 13-30mm f:2.8
Tokina AT-X 16-28mm

The filters are the 150 size and you can get a variety including the popular graduated Neutral density and the very dark Big Stopper.

As well as the additional mountings, there is an improvement to the rig with the inclusion of a rear light shield in the basic pack. It makes sure that there is no light bouncing from the sides or back of the holder to give ghost images or flare that degrades the image. Of course there is the classic foam sealing of the Big Stopper filter contributing to this glare protection.

The picture of the Big Stopper is not just gratuitous advertising for my little studio - it uses a standardised business card to let you see just how big the dark filter actually is. That's a serious piece of plastic in that tin box!

The devices to which these filters fasten are large. The lenses to which the filter is fastened are large. The camera bodies to which the lenses are attached are large. Hopefully the wise photographer will also realise that they need a sturdy and ( large) tripod to support the whole. And they will be going out a long way on difficult tracks to take pictures of landscape...because that is where they keep the landscape. Good luck troops, and ignore that chuckling sound coming from inside the studio as you head out into the rain.