Photography News issue 72

First test

PRICE: £220

LEEFILTERS.COM

For those who appreciate the qualities only filters can provide, an impressive piece of kit Lee Filters SW150 Mark II holder and adapter

lens combo fall about four inches off a pile of books, this bent two of the teeth backwards, forcing themover the petal hood and leaving a deep scratch. With a bit of a wrench they were freed, and I gently hammered themback tomake good, whereupon they fitted as before. The SW150 Mark II holder mounts onto the adapter easily, and though it only has two slots I seldom need more. If you’re using long exposure filters like the Little Stopper then the rear slot is set up for those, with the filter’s foam gasket connecting neatly to the light shield to prevent reflections and flare (obviously you’ll need to keep the latter free of dirt and sand). It can be easily removed if required but stays in place well. Filters slide in and out without issue, and of course the retaining screws can be loosened if required, even removing a whole bay if you want. The only reason to do the latter would be to remove vignetting from the holder’s front bay: shooting against a blank grey wall, it’s visible at 14mm and 15mm, but disappears at 16mm and beyond. This is only an issue using grad filters and shooting horizontally as, if using a full ND, the holder can be easily rotated through 90° so the bays fall out of frame. Overall, construction is very solid, with no flexing of the metal, and the locking pin worked perfectly. KS “AFTER A FEW LANDSCAPING TRIPS, I FOUND THE ADAPTER WAS BEST LEFT ON THE LENS ALL THE TIME, AS IT DOESN’T ADD MUCH WEIGHT”

Sooner or later, we all upgrade lenses, and I’ve just sent my Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 packing in favour of a Sigma 14- 24mm f/2.8 Art. Both great lenses, but that’s not what this review is concerned with – it’s about what goes along with such an upgrade, specifically the need for a new filter system. The Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 Art is so wide at 14mm that 100mm filters won’t cover the frame, and even though they do at the long end, its built-in petal hood and bulbous front element mean regular filters and holders can’t physically fit. Step forward Lee Filters’ SW150 system, which now has aMark II holder costing around £130. This incorporates a ‘Lightshield’ baffle to prevent light leaks, and will fit two 150mm filters. But as big as the SW150 holder is, it still won’t physically fit the Sigma 14-24mmor other similar lenses like

Nikon’s 14-24mm f/2.8, so you need an adapter, which Lee Filters produces in specifically engineered versions for lots of different lenses. The Sigma 14-24mm version is around £90. So nowwe’re at least £220 in without even buying filters to go in the holder. Is it worth it? Yes, for a variety of reasons. First, if you have one of these lenses, you can’t really do without such a system, and comparatively it’s on a par with rivals, price-wise. Second, it fits and works perfectly – with only minor drawbacks. Installation is more complex than a regular holder but that’s expected due to the adapter, and needs to be done with the lens off the camera. It works like this. First, you add a retaining ring to the front, which has little teeth that sit neatly in the petalled recesses to stop it turning. Next, the red-coloured compressor ring is slipped over the rear

mount. This has spaces in it so it can fit over the Sigma 14-24mm’s pronounced AF/MF switch, and there are two apertures that let you access the manual focus ring. Finally, a locking ring is added from the rear, fitting over the compressor ring, and screwing into the retaining ring at the front. With a few turns it’s locked and ready tomount the main holder. The whole process takes less than 30 seconds. After a few landscaping trips, I found the adapter was best left on the lens all the time, as it doesn’t addmuch weight and nor does it adversely affect handling. You can also add the 14-24mm’s lens hood while the system is in place, which was a welcome surprise. However, this also led to one issue, based completely onmy own error. The teeth that sit around the petal aren’t all that strong, so when I accidentally let my DSLR and 14-24mm

SPECS

Verdict The SW150Mark II holder and adapter are a not- insignificant investment, but one that’s well worth the price if your lens requires it. There’s simply no alternative, especially when it comes to filter effects you can’t replicate digitally like full NDs ›  Prices £130 (SW150Mark II holder), £90 (Sigma 14-24mm adapter kit) ›  Filter size 150x150mmx2mm ›  Materials Aluminium, plastic moulding ›  Filter slots Two ›  Weight 240g (holder); 180g (adapter) ›  Contact leefilters.com

PROS Easy to fit, well engineered, vital for certain shots CONS Minor vignetting possible and polarisers. There’s fractional vignetting, but nothing a minor crop won’t fix.

IMAGES The SW150 Mark II holder and adapter kit is robust and easy to get used to. It also provides the keen photographer in possession of bulky wide-angles with the ability to use these lenses alongside favourite filters

78 Photography News | Issue 72

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