UK based filter company LEE Filters is producing their filters for the first time in a circular form, no longer needing to use a filter holder. Aimed at both stills and video shooters, the Elements range comprises neutral density filters called Big and Little Stoppers, a circular polarizer, and a variable neutral density filter.
The filters are available in four standard sizes of 67mm, 72mm, 77mm and 82mm. LEE Elements comprises five filter types: Little Stopper (offering 6 stops of light reduction), Big Stopper (10 stops of light reduction), CPL (circular polariser) and two densities of VND (variable ND, providing 2-5 or 6-9 stops of light reduction). The press release states that each LEE Elements filter “incorporates the highest quality multilayer-coated optics, providing class-leading optical performance, including with wide-angle lenses, and making them ideal complements to the latest lenses and camera sensors.”
The filters apparently feature a “rugged and robust black anodized aluminium frame, and their innovative design enables quick and easy attachment and operation without the need for a filter holder, in any environment and even when wearing gloves.” Nowhere does it tell us why this system is easier than any other screw-in circular filter system, and unlike other filter brands, these don’t appear to be magnetic which really do make changing filters quick and easy.
The filters all feature threads on both sides so that they can be stacked and used together. The variable ND filters come with stops marked on the edges for accurate use as well as mechanical stops to avoid accidental cross polarisation. The company claims that the rotation of each filter is smooth and silent and have scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, as well as fancy-sounding hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings (water and fingerprint repelling for you and me).
Each filter comes complete with its own carrying pouch and will be available later this month from the LEE website. The Big and Little Stopper will cost from $270, the VND from $340, and the circular polarizer from $200.