Neutral density filters make daytime long-exposure shots possible — but they also require some significant color tweaks in post processing to get the colors true to the original scene. Lee Filters, however, is promising shots that are virtually free of color casts with the new Lee ProGlass IRND neutral density filters.
The IRND filters were originally designed for cinematographers, but now Lee has spent two years bringing the filters into the still industry in sizes for the company’s Seven 5, 100mm, and SW150 filter holders. The still photo filters are available in several different strengths, including a two-stop, three-stop, four-stop, and six-stop, and for extra long exposures, a 10-stop and 15-stop.
Neutral density filters intentionally reduce the light coming through the lens to allow photographers to use a bright lens in bright conditions for more background bokeh. Stronger neutral density filters are used to create long-exposure images during the day.
The IRND filters from Lee are designed to overcome neutral density filters’ biggest shortcoming — color casts that don’t represent the original scene. Lee tackled that problem both with the design of the filter itself and by integrating an infrared and ultraviolet within a single filter. By blocking infrared and ultraviolet, the filters create a truer black.
“All filters in the range — whatever their strength — are designed to be free of color casts, with extremely accurate stop values, ensuring consistency in all shooting conditions and allowing for absolute precision when exposing images,” Lee said in a press release. “Their neutrality also means less time spent tweaking color balances in post production.”
The filters are designed with 2mm glass for added durability. The darkest filters, the six, 10, and 15 stop versions, also include a foam seal to prevent light leaks. Because they are designed for use with the Lee Filter holders, the filters can also be used in conjunction with other filters from the same company, including graduated neutral density filters and a polarizer.
The high-end filters, however, will come at a price — the filters are 132 British pounds ($170) for the Seven 5 system, 150 pounds ($194) for the 100mm system and 346 pounds ($448) for the SW150 system for each density.
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