What has the better optical quality? Lee filters or Hasselblad Carl Zeiss filters?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by ted_smith, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

    Messages:
    446
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Having Googled this with all the obvious words, I'm amazed to find that there doesn't seem a dedicated post or article about it.

    I own the Lee filter system and 3 ND grads, all of which I originally bought for my 35mm rig. Now that I own a Hasselblad, I'm buying the appropriate lens adapters so that I can use it with that too. However, I've been looking at the dreamy softening filters that both Lee and Hasselblad do or have manufactured.

    At ffordes.co.uk, as an immediate example, there are several second hand Hasselblad Softars 1, 2 and 3 (http://www.ffordes.com/category/Medium_Format/Hasselblad/Hasselblad_V_Series/Filters) for around £30, give or take or there's some brand new ones for about £150. An equivalent 'Lee Glass Soft Focus No2 Filter' also comes in at around £150 brand new (http://www.dalephotographic.co.uk/m... Focus/142494/Lee Glass Soft Focus No2 Filter).

    So - which are better, optically? Lee or the Carl Zeiss Hasselblad ones? I ask because I'd prefer to keep collecting to my Lee set so that I can use it with both my Blad and my F5 but, if the Lee filters are no where near as good as the Carl Zeiss Hasselblad ones, then I'd rather build two seperate sets - one for my Nikon and one for my Blad.

    Ted
     
  2. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,433
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    NE U.S.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If they aren't scratched, the used softars are just as good as new ones. Probably "better" than the Lee equivalent, especially at 4x+ the price.
    Though for a soft focus attachment, I'm not sure how you would judge which is better optically. It would really come down to which one gives you the most pleasing fuzzy result.

    As for other types of filters, I'd be surprised if the Lees are better, but they may not be that much worse, if they were, they wouldn't sell so well.

    Since you already have an investment in the Lee system you're probably better off to continue working with it, and you will easily be able to switch them between systems. If you need a particular filter, like the softar, that you can get at a good price buy that if it's something you can easily dedicate to the Hasselblad.

    The Softar wouldn't preclude you from adding a Lee in front of it, if you needed to, though there would be some risk of vignetting.
     
  3. MDR

    MDR Member

    Messages:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Austria
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Good Lee Filters not cheap ones are very likely superior to Zeiss Hasselblad ones. Lee Filters/Lighting provides filters for the Motion Picture Industry and is in fact a subsidiary of Panavision.

    Dominik
     
  4. wildbill

    wildbill Member

    Messages:
    2,851
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Lee lighting filters are not related to Lee camera filters as far as what they're made for. Lee is the industry standard for the movie industry lighting but not for camera filters. No one uses anything but glass filters on movie cameras.
     
  5. MDR

    MDR Member

    Messages:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Austria
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wildbill I agree with you when you say that nobody uses their camera filters in the MP Industry but they do make glass filters and they are quiet good. Tiffen MP Filters they are not but Zeiss is in my opinion often overated especially their filters.

    Dominik
     
  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,648
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use B60 Heliopan filters.
     
  7. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,416
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There is a difference in the way a Softar renders the light compared to a "regular" soft focus filter. I can't describe it but if you can find images online it should help.
    @ $30 ea, for the Softars. I'd most likely go with them. But since you already have the Lee system that makes a strong argument for Lees.
    If you do portraits with both the Nikon and Hasselblad, it should be possible to get adapters to use the Softars on the Nikon.
     
  8. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,361
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would get a #1 or #2 USED Softar and use it awhile and judge the results. All soft-focus attachments render the scene differently, and I personally think the #3 Softar is a little strong. But as someone stated, "...It would really come down to which one gives you the most pleasing fuzzy result."