Lee System - Initial Impressions

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by roteague, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I just purchased a beginning Lee system to replace my old Cokin system. My first impression has been that this system is of very high quality.

    To give you a better idea, I purchased:

    Foundation Kit
    Standard Hood
    72mm and 86mm Adapter Rings
    .3 Split Neutral Density Filter (4x6) Soft Graduation
    .6 Split Neutral Density Filter (4x6) Hard Graduation

    The foundation and adapter rings have a good feel to them, and attach to the front of the lens quite easily. The foundation is easily changed to fit your particular style - I never use more than 2 filters, so I just removed the extra holder (something you can't do with the Cokin). The filters cane in indidivual pouches, well labeled, and the glass (resin) looks much cleaner than the Cokin, in the corner of the filters I noticed 05/05 and I am wondering if this is the manufacture date of the filter (which would be nice). The hood can be mounted on either the foundation or on the lens directly - the bellows seems of high quality and holds without sagging - I'm going to test it today to check for vigenetting.

    I'm still planning on adding a few things - wide angle hood, 81A and 81B, as well as a hard grad neutral density .3 filter.

    All in all, I found the quality to be outstanding, and considering this is an expensive system, well worth the purchase price.
     
  2. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I love it too. I use the B&W/ warm up polyester filters which are light as a feather and plenty robust enough. A dropped resin filter is more likely a write off then one of these feathers. Great for part of a lightweight compact kit. I have resin ND grads. I was sceptical at the price at first, but now the investments has paid off - faultless.
     
  3. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    I agree that the Lee system is great. I have been using one for a few years, and still really like it. My only complaint is that I bought the normal hood with two built-in filter slots rather than the foundation kit plus hood, and as such it is very difficult to use with polarizing filters.
     
  4. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    I love the Lee system too.

    A word of warning: the wide angle hood is REALLY wide! I wish I had bought the standard hood because the wide angle hood is difficult to use on my Tachihara when I'm shooting in portrait format (the front of the bed gets in the way). Save your money and stick with the standard hood.

    I've just ordered the lens caps that Lee now makes so I can leave my adaptors on the lens at all times. It will make setup times quicker and protect my lens' filter threads should I ever drop one of them.

    I'm also going to stick a modified Lee lens cap to my Packard shutter so I can attach it to the front of my Nikkor 305 with a snap. But that's another story ....

    Cheers,
     
  5. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    Great idea Graeme! Thanks!

    Also, has anybody seen the new medium wide hood? It might be a nice compromise.

    http://leefiltersusa.com/NewCameraProducts/CamNewProdMedWideHood.html
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Graeme,

    What is the widest lens you have used this on? I've got a Schnieder 80mm as my widest lens.
     
  7. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Let me say straight out, I love the Lee system. It has simplified my life tremendously by allowing me to use one system (and set of filters) with all of my lenses and formats, which saves a lot of money. The only requirement is that you have an adaptor ring (or step-up or step-down ring) for all of your lenses.

    The wide angle hood, and wide-angle adaptor rings, are necessary when working with very wide angle lenses, regardless of format. If you use the regular hood there is a risk of vignetting. With other lenses the regular hood should be fine, and is less expensive.

    Sandy
     
  8. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    I've only got a Schneider 75 SA ƒ8 as my widest lens, so I can't be much more help than your own experience would show. I have used the hood with that lens and of course it works well - provided I don't want to take a portrait format shot. When I do, I must use the hood in the landscape format position or not at all.

    Now, if I had an Arca Swiss f-line ...... :wink:

    Cheers,
     
  9. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    Sandy, the problem is the extreme width of the wide angle hood. In portrait format, the flat bed of the Tachihara stops the hood from resting in a normal position when a wide angle lens is used, since the camera is a front standard focusing design.

    But as you say, the wide angle adaptor rings are desirable regardless of film format or whether the hood is used.

    Cheers,
     
  10. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I did a bit of shooting this afternoon with the Schneider 80mm and the standard lens hood. I noticed some vignetting at F22 if the hood was extended (note: I had the center filter in place). If I kept the hood folded flat I didn't notice any; of course, I will have to wait until I have the film processed to tell for sure. I only tried it in landscape format, not portrait.
     
  11. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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    I picked up a fairly comprehensive used Lee system a year or so ago and have been slimming it and refining it for a while now. I use it for LF and my MF SLR and love the versatility and ease of use.

    For my latest trip I got hold of some of the new lenscaps. IMHO a waste of money, even at £3 a pack. First, they don't fit over the standard-size flange that the filter holders and lenshoods attach to, instead they fit over the rear plate behind that flange, and so they don't work on my biggest, 105 mm adaptor ring. Worse, the fit is very crude and although they slip on easily I always had to heave quite hard to get them off - hard enough to worry about wrenching the lens thread and/or mounting. The crude fit means they don't help keep dust or lint off the front element when the lens is not in use. Finally, I have a couple of lenses in barrel, and even if you blacked out the lenscap the fit makes it hard to use as a shutter for anything but very long exposures.

    A shame. A more flexible cap that popped neatly off the standard flange would be a real boon.

    I use adapter rings in MF, and have a bunch for my 'normal' LF lenses, but they obscure the controls on small lenses like my 150 mm, and fitting them to my long process lenses with their oddball filter threads was going to require some relatively expensive custom adapters. Instead, I screwed a 105 mm adapter into my old Sinar circular filter holder and now fit the hood and filter holder(s) to that. I can slide the contraption forward to access the shutter controls, and then push it back to minimise the amount of light leaking in from the rear of the hood. Push it back all the way to the lensboard and the standard hood becomes a wide-angle hood, although the filter slot is then redundant. It sounds awkward, but works well and simply, and is a lot more compact and usable than the usual Sinar solution of an extra bellows and wobbly clips.