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Thread: 4x4, 4x6 Filters: Lee vs. HiTech, etc.

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    4x4, 4x6 Filters: Lee vs. HiTech, etc.

    I'm looking to revamp my filter kit as I have collected numerous round filters with threads and some square and rectangular filters and holders and the collection is a bit of mess now. It's obvious that I need to consolidate. Most of the filters have been purchased with DSLRs in mind, but now I have some medium format lenses to accommodate in sizes which I don't have covered. I need to order some adapter rings for my filter holder and will also order some new ND plates as well.

    My question:

    What differences have others here observed in terms of optical quality between such filters as the Lee resin ND filters and similar products from HiTech or others? Some love Singh-ray, while others complain that there isn't optical superiority to justify the price. Have you done comparisons or read meaning reviews with such comparisons?

    Again, referring only to ND and Grad ND in 100mm or ~4inch size. Any other input would be gladly accepted, though I'm not looking for Schneider or Schott glass versions at this time. However, if you have observed remarkable differences between the resin models and water white glass I'd be interested in your findings.

    Thank you for any thoughts.

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    Re: 4x4, 4x6 Filters: Lee vs. HiTech, etc.

    Hi Scott,

    I've used a few of these systems in large format (6x9, 4x5, 8x10). Optically, you will not notice any difference unless (heaven forbid) your stick an ND grad in front of your 400/2.8 lens.

    Lee system: Good holder, grads are 100x150 mm.

    Hitech system: I always used Lee holders, never seen a Hitech holder. Hitech filters are slightly thinner so you can save some weight. Grads are 100x125 mm. Hitech does custom orders, as I believe Lee does. For example they can make a sharp-edge split-ND for you. Very nice folks at Formatt, catering to the cine industry with their glass range and photographers with the Hitech resin range.

    Cokin X-Pro/Z-Pro: The X-Pro system really is for cinematography. Filters are huge (5x7"), thick and heavy (guess the weight of a 118 mm glass polarizer hehe). Optically equal to Lee and Hitech. Z-pro 100 mm filters are directly compatible with Lee holders.

    Glass filters: Very fragile, really only for cine use. Don't even go there.

    Singh-Ray: Overpriced, overhyped. Some unique variations that might save the day.

    I would recommend that you get Lee holders, and then mix Lee, Hitech, and Cokin Z-pro filters as you see fit.

    I read somewhere that theoretically, the resin used should be optically superior to glass. What it comes down to is surface flatness, though I have to say that making two parallel flat surfaces isn't exactly rocket science.

    Lars
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Re: 4x4, 4x6 Filters: Lee vs. HiTech, etc.

    Lars,

    Thanks for this info. Recently I've been using the Cokin Z-pro holder because I liked that it can be mounted in reverse on very wide lenses, as well as the fact that one can easily remove one or two of the filter slots if they're vignetting. Lee has been a good holder too.

    I've not done any direct comparisons between Lee and Hitech as I don't have any two which are the same (I own very few of this type of filter now). I did notice that the Hitech is only 1.5mm thick (compared to Lee's 2mm) which allows it to slip through if used in the first slot of the Cokin Z-pro holder. The other slots are tight enough to hold it firmly (for placing the grad ND line, etc.), but I see that Lee makes strips to add thickness to the Hitech filters.

    I need some new ND filters and at least one more Grad, so will place an order now. I've not found any negative reports of the Hitechs, so maybe I'll go that route. Those that I own have been fine so far.

    Thanks very much,

    Dale

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