Lee Filters is one of the biggest and most widely-known filter manufacturers. Its products are used by many professional photographers, but the company faces increasing competition from other brands.
The current Lee Filters Lee100 Polariser was introduced in March 2019, along with a new Lee100 Holder. The filter replaced the earlier version, which is bigger, heavier and requires an additional ring to be mounted onto the original filter holder. The new Lee100 Polarizer is about half the depth of the original and it has clips rather than a thread to mount it in the current Lee100 holder.
As usual, the Lee100 Holder mounts onto a lens via an adapter ring which must match the lens’ filter thread.
Lee Filters uses high-transmission polarizer glass with a subtle warm tone that’s designed to help intensify natural colors.
The filter is supplied in a zip-closed semi-rigid case with a plus interior to keep it safe and scratch-free during transportation.
Mount: via Lee Filters Lee100 Holder
Construction: metal and glass
Build and handling
There are two metal rings around the glass of the filter. The rear one, which sits closest to the lens, is the wider of the two and it holds the plastic clips that allow the filter to be snapped onto the Lee100 Holder. The front ring has deep knurling, like a cog, which make it easy to grasp and rotate to get the polarization effect that you want.
Instead of screwing onto the front of a lens or onto the filter holder, the Lee100 Polariser snaps on using its two clips that must be aligned with catches on opposite sides of the holder. It’s quick and easy to do, but it’s worth doubling-checking that both clips are secure before you let go of the filter. Removing the filter is another matter. Basically, you need to press down on one of the clips as you lever the filter away from the holder, but there’s a knack to it and you need to press on the outer edge of the clip. Ideally, this needs to be done with the filter holder removed from the lens.
As you’d expect from a company with Lee Filters reputation, the Lee100 Polariser does a great job of cutting down on reflections, boosting colour saturation, enhancing a blue sky and making clouds more distinct. This is done without noticeably reducing the amount of detail visible in images when the are compared at 100% on a computer screen. There is, however, a subtle warming effect which can be removed in post-capture processing of raw files if it’s not desirable.
Just as Lee Filters claims, using the filter at full-strength reduces the exposure by around 1.6EV.
Because the polarizer clips onto the Lee100 Holder, it can be used in conjunction with up to two rectangular filters, for example, a neutral density filter to extend the shutter speed and a graduated ND to balance the exposure of the sky and the land. However, the clipping system means that it’s not possible to use the polarizer with other filter holders.
The Lee Filters Lee100 Polarizer does an excellent job and is made from high-quality materials, with a cog-like front ring making it easy to adjust the degree of polarization even when you have cold hands or you’re wearing gloves.
While the clipping system makes it easy to attach the filter to the Lee100 Holder, it takes a while to get the hang of removing it and I can’t help thinking that a magnet might gave been a better solution.
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