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Buyers’ guide

Picking the right filters can have a hugely positive effect on your photography, so here’s our pick of systems and models that’ll give you plenty of bang for your buck


Lee Filters LEE85 Discover Kit

MODERN CAMERAS ARE amazing things, but as good as they are, filters are still an essential part of creative photography. Sure, there are things you can do in a digital camera that replicate the effect of some filters – for instance shooting in Raw mode and adding graduated filters in processing. But there are lots of things you can’t replicate, too, like controlling light levels for longer exposures with a full ND or reducing reflections with a polariser. And besides, there’s a tactile pleasure in using filters that really puts you in touch with your photography, adding to the enjoyment as well as keeping your focus on shooting rather than editing.

Now, you may already have a stack of filters, but there’s always room for more! You might also like to invest in different strengths of ND or invest in a type of filter you’ve not used before. What’s more, technology moves on, and that’s just as true for the optical technology that goes into filter manufacture as it is for cameras and lenses. Designs change, particularly when it comes to filter holders, which get progressively easier to use, while glass gets tougher and easier to clean. So, check out this selection of PN recommended filters and suppliers that you can trust to deliver great results, and think about picking up a filter system for the year ahead.


Despite its streamlined size and weight, the LEE85 holder is made from sturdy aluminium, and it includes handy modular blocks, letting you reconfigure it with one, two or three filter bays. There’s also a slot for a clip-on polarising filter at the front. The Discover kit is a great way to get started, coming with the holder, a 0.6 Neutral Density Medium Grad, 58mm, 67mm and 72mm adapter rings, a pouch and accessories.

Lee Filters’ gear has been a mainstay of the filter world for as long as anyone cares to remember, and many thousands of photographers have cut their teeth on it. The company makes a dizzying range of filter sizes and types. Designed for a new generation of smaller and lighter cameras and lenses, there’s the LEE85 Filter System, perfect for those who want to travel light but without compromising on quality.

H&Y Quick Release Magnetic Filter Frame System


Tiffen Pro100 Long Exposure Kit

Available in several kit forms as well as on its own, Tiffen’s Pro100 Holder has two bays and takes the company’s 4mm thick 100x100mm and 100x150mm filters. Strong and light, the holder is made from aluminium, with rubber and plastic blades. It comes with 77mm and 82mm adapting rings, and 49mm to 72mm rings are also available. All rotate smoothly to help adjustment. The Long Exposure Kit includes two 4mm filters: one ND 1.2 (four stop) and one IRND 3.0 (ten stop), making it a nice starter option for landscape photographers wanting to experiment with movement in their shots. The extra thickness of the filters (most are 2mm) gives them a reassuringly solid feel, and Tiffin’s 4mm range is extensive, so there are plenty of options to add to your kit.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective upgrade on your existing filters, H&Y’s Quick Release Magnetic Filter Frame System is a great way of getting it. Regular square filter systems use slots into which you insert the square filter, but with this kit you can add and remove filters a lot faster using magnets. Magnetic adapter strips are fitted around your 100x100mm or 100x150mm filters, and these attach to adapters on the holder. The nice thing is that they can be used on lots of popular models like those from Lee Filters, Formatt-Hitech, B+W, Nisi and, of course, H&Y’s own K Series holder. What’s more, though they’re secure, the filters can be slipped up and down with a little pressure when you need to reposition a graduated ND, and you can stack them in an almost gapless way, reducing light leaks and reflections. Frames cost £23 and £25 respectively, and each comes with a case and cleaning cloth. The adapter strips for the holders are £15.

26 Photography News | Issue 84

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