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Round vs. Square ND filters for long exposures
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Dec 24, 2018 15:12:19   #
cathy.nordstrom
 
Hi, I am a new member and am learning so much from this forum! Now, I want to improve my long exposure skills. I own the square Lee mounting system and have a Big Stopper (10 stops). I am planning on getting a 6 stop next. It is a lot of work to set up the camera with the Lee system and I am now wondering if just using a normal round filter is a better way to go. Any thoughts on this?

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Dec 24, 2018 15:20:06   #
Haydon
 
The big problem with round filters comes when you decide using a GND to drop the level of the sky in exposure. You can't adjust the horizon properly. BTW the Little Stopper tends to be more neutral in color casting over the Big Stopper. I own both of them.

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Dec 24, 2018 15:25:11   #
MT Shooter (a regular here)
 
cathy.nordstrom wrote:
Hi, I am a new member and am learning so much from this forum! Now, I want to improve my long exposure skills. I own the square Lee mounting system and have a Big Stopper (10 stops). I am planning on getting a 6 stop next. It is a lot of work to set up the camera with the Lee system and I am now wondering if just using a normal round filter is a better way to go. Any thoughts on this?


Round ND filters are better for lenses that accept them because they remove the possibility of reflected light i trusion through gaps in the square filter mounting system. Also faster and easier to use.
I use the 150mm square ND and GND filters on my ultra wide lenses that do not have filter threads, and large diameter lenses over 82mm. I use screw on filters on those lenses 82mm and smaller.

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Dec 24, 2018 15:36:49   #
rgrenaderphoto (a regular here)
 
You already have the Rolls Royce of ND filters, why get a Chevy? I do agree that the Lee filter holder is a POS, so I always recommend the Breakthrough Photography X100

https://breakthrough.photography/products/x100-holder?variant=13005112836138

Which is a lot easier to set up, and the adapter rings only cost $10.

And, the Lee Big and Little Stoppers have foam around the side that is against the lens to prevent light leak. For fun, try combining the 6X and 10X for Big Stopper App's 15x settings.

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Dec 24, 2018 15:49:08   #
jeep_daddy (a regular here)
 
cathy.nordstrom wrote:
Hi, I am a new member and am learning so much from this forum! Now, I want to improve my long exposure skills. I own the square Lee mounting system and have a Big Stopper (10 stops). I am planning on getting a 6 stop next. It is a lot of work to set up the camera with the Lee system and I am now wondering if just using a normal round filter is a better way to go. Any thoughts on this?


You get used to them. I have the Lee Big Stopper and I love it. I've used several kinds and the Lee has the least amount of color cast. Once you have it set up simply remove by pulling on the spring loaded button, then compose and focus your camera, turn off autofocus, put the filter back on. Figure out your shutter duration and then take the shot. Isn't the Little Stopper 5 stops? I may be wrong. I'm thinking about getting that too, but I can buy a 3 filter gel set for $60 that consists of a 1,2 & 3 stop filter for a total of 6 stops. So I will probably go that route.

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Dec 24, 2018 16:21:23   #
wolfman
 
jeep_daddy wrote:
You get used to them. I have the Lee Big Stopper and I love it. I've used several kinds and the Lee has the least amount of color cast. Once you have it set up simply remove by pulling on the spring loaded button, then compose and focus your camera, turn off autofocus, put the filter back on. Figure out your shutter duration and then take the shot. Isn't the Little Stopper 5 stops? I may be wrong. I'm thinking about getting that too, but I can buy a 3 filter gel set for $60 that consists of a 1,2 & 3 stop filter for a total of 6 stops. So I will probably go that route.
You get used to them. I have the Lee Big Stopper ... (show quote)


The Little Stopper is 6 stops.

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Dec 24, 2018 17:08:26   #
cathy.nordstrom
 
The breakthrough brand is easier to set up than Lee? Wasn't sure if that is what you meant. I'll see if I can find something on utube that demonstrates it. That is my biggest complaint about the Lee system. And found a fantastic comparison sight that explains why my Lee Big stopper is sooo blue. If I go round, I plan on trying the Breakthrough brand. I guess I'm just getting lazy in my old age and want something that doesn't take so long to set up. Thanks for the input

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Dec 24, 2018 17:12:48   #
cathy.nordstrom
 
I have to confess I just sold my graduated filter set...again, so much work to use them...but am having a bit of seller's remorse because they do help solve the problem of evening out the exposures between sky and land.

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Dec 24, 2018 17:14:56   #
rgrenaderphoto (a regular here)
 
cathy.nordstrom wrote:
The breakthrough brand is easier to set up than Lee? Wasn't sure if that is what you meant. I'll see if I can find something on utube that demonstrates it. That is my biggest complaint about the Lee system. And found a fantastic comparison sight that explains why my Lee Big stopper is sooo blue. If I go round, I plan on trying the Breakthrough brand. I guess I'm just getting lazy in my old age and want something that doesn't take so long to set up. Thanks for the input


The Lee filter holder adapter rings are overpriced at $57 and the threads are not deep enough for a secure hold on top of a circular polarizer. If you're not careful, the release pin gets loose, and you have to resort to the toothpick gambit. And, shooting RAW, I've never found the Lee filters to be blueish.

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Dec 24, 2018 18:22:49   #
Haydon
 
cathy.nordstrom wrote:
The breakthrough brand is easier to set up than Lee? Wasn't sure if that is what you meant. I'll see if I can find something on utube that demonstrates it. That is my biggest complaint about the Lee system. And found a fantastic comparison sight that explains why my Lee Big stopper is sooo blue. If I go round, I plan on trying the Breakthrough brand. I guess I'm just getting lazy in my old age and want something that doesn't take so long to set up. Thanks for the input



Again, the color cast on the Little Stopper is barely noticeable compared to the Big Stopper. I didn't opt for the Lee Circular Polarizer. Dreadfully overpriced. I'm using a B+W CPL on front and then stacking a Big/Little Stopper with the Lee GND's. I realize many love Breakthrough but I'm apprehensive with any of their products after the fiasco I saw on Canon Rumors with customer service. CS according to several there was between abysmal and nonexistent.

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Dec 24, 2018 18:26:54   #
Haydon
 
rgrenaderphoto wrote:
I've never found the Lee filters to be blueish..


I shoot RAW always and the color cast on the Big Stopper is quite strong nonetheless.

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Dec 24, 2018 18:32:35   #
martinfisherphoto
 
No mention of the size you need to use. I believe you can purchase 82mm and smaller round filters. If your lens is bigger than that than you need square type with holder
cathy.nordstrom wrote:
I have to confess I just sold my graduated filter set...again, so much work to use them...but am having a bit of seller's remorse because they do help solve the problem of evening out the exposures between sky and land.

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Dec 24, 2018 19:32:46   #
cathy.nordstrom
 
If I go round, I'll need a 72mm. My thought was to save the big stopper when I need a much longer exposure and use the 3 or 6 stopper for those shorter exposures and perhaps it would be less time consuming and I would use them more. Love the shots I get with Lee but hate the setup time.

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Dec 25, 2018 07:48:30   #
billnikon (a regular here)
 
cathy.nordstrom wrote:
Hi, I am a new member and am learning so much from this forum! Now, I want to improve my long exposure skills. I own the square Lee mounting system and have a Big Stopper (10 stops). I am planning on getting a 6 stop next. It is a lot of work to set up the camera with the Lee system and I am now wondering if just using a normal round filter is a better way to go. Any thoughts on this?


Square filters have the advantage when using GRADUATED filters. Otherwise circular works fine.

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Dec 25, 2018 14:03:46   #
BobHartung
 
MT Shooter wrote:
Round ND filters are better for lenses that accept them because they remove the possibility of reflected light i trusion through gaps in the square filter mounting system. Also faster and easier to use.
I use the 150mm square ND and GND filters on my ultra wide lenses that do not have filter threads, and large diameter lenses over 82mm. I use screw on filters on those lenses 82mm and smaller.


Agreed. I have taken to carrying a small roll of gaffer's tape to block direct sun from penetrating between stacked square filters.

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