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LEE Filters LEE85 Develop Kit Review

We review the LEE Filters LEE85 Develop kit, which comes with the LEE Filters big stopper, and graduated filter, designed for smaller mirrorless and DSLR cameras.

| Lee Filters LEE85 in Filters

Handling and Performance

LEE Filters LEE85 Develop Kit Review: LEEFilters 85 Developer Kit (5)
The LEE85 system is designed to make it easy to add up to 3 filters to a smaller camera system such as mirrorless cameras, or smaller DSLRs, and is available in a number of different configurations depending on what you want from your filter kit. We are looking at the LEE85 Develop Kit, which includes a Big Stopper, a graduated ND filter, and the LEE85 system, priced at £291.60.


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LEE85 Develop Kit Features

LEE Filters LEE85 Develop Kit Review: LEEFilters 85 Developer Kit (4)

The LEE85 system was developed for smaller DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras, with an 85mm wide filter size, making it suitable for a range of smaller lenses, making it easier to take with you, rather than the larger 100mm system.

The LEE85 system is available in a number of different kits, and we are testing the LEE85 Develop kit, which includes the "Big Stopper", LEE Filters 10 stop ND filter, and a 0.6ND Medium Grad filter. You also get a travel case, which includes a short strap, so you can attach it to another bag or tripod, a longer strap, so you can put it around your neck or over your shoulder, and a belt loop on the rear.

The LEE85 Holder can be configured with 1, 2 or 3 filter slots using the included modular guide blocks so that you can have it set up as you need. You might want to add a third filter, or you might simply want to have just one filter on at a time. You can also clip the LEE85 Polariser into the front of the filter holder.

The kit comes with everything you need to get up and running, with filter adapters in 58mm, 67mm, and 72mm sizes. Other sizes are available if your lens uses a different filter size. You'll also find a handy guide in the kit, as well as a travel guide to give you guidance on the exposure needed or you can download the LEE Stopper Exposure Guide app.

LEE Filters LEE85 Develop Kit Review: LEEFilters 85 Developer Kit Fujifilm XS10

LEE85 Develop Kit Includes

  • LEE85 Filter Holder – includes 1, 2 and 3 filter guide-blocks
  • 0.6 Medium ND Grad (2 stop)
  • Big Stopper (10 stop) – with storage tin
  • 58mm, 67mm and 72mm Adaptor Rings
  • LEE85 System Pouch – with shoulder strap and belt loop

LEE85 Develop Kit Handling and Performance

LEE Filters LEE85 Develop Kit Review: LEEFilters 85 Developer Kit (2)
LEEFilters 85 Develop Kit - Box Contents (Case not shown)

The kit comes with popular lens filter sizes, including 58mm, 67mm, and 72mm, and you simply screw the correct size onto the front of your lens. The filter holder then clicks on to this, letting you add the Big Stopper 10 stop ND filter, and/or the 0.6ND medium grad filter. The Big Stopper ND filter has a soft foam area to stop light leaks from getting through to the lens and comes in a protective metal case.

The 0.6ND medium grad filter has a useful grip tab at the top so you can easily move it up and down when needed, without getting fingerprints on the shooting area.

The filter holder comes fitted with room for two filters, but you'll also find in the box a small pouch with additional filter guides, to let you use 1 filter or up to 3 filters. There's a small tool provided to help you change this if needed.

There's also a handy case to keep everything safe and dry, and there's both a medium-sized shooting guide, as well as a more compact exposure guide that you can keep stored in your wallet.

Everything feels extremely well made, with solid plastics and metal touches. The main control knob has a grippy textured metal finish to it, and the mainframe is made of metal and feels built to last.

LEE Filters LEE85 Develop Kit Review: LEEFilters 85 Control

The main control knob (also called the Green locking device) has three positions, locked, loose (so you can turn the filter when needed), and unlocked, so you can remove the filter from the lens when needed. This makes it easy to take the filter holder off when needed, and when it is in the locked or loose positions it feels extremely secure, so you don't need to worry about it falling off. In the loose position it lets you rotate the filter if needed, but this did feel a little tight at times, although I expect we will get used to this over time. You'll want to make sure you're using a lens that doesn't rotate when focusing, and switching to manual focus is recommended, as some camera systems can struggle to focus accurately through a 10 stop ND filter.

Lee Filters LEE85 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The Big Stopper needs no introduction really, being known worldwide and a quality 10 stop ND filter. What is new, is the LEE85 system, which uses 85mm wide filters to give you a more compact system, designed for mirrorless and smaller DSLRs.

The Big Stopper 10 stop ND filter makes it possible to take long exposure photography, and still get great colour in your image, without having to correct or process the image further, unless you want to adjust it to taste. One thing to be aware of is that the longer the exposure, the more any movement will be picked up in the camera, and you could also find yourself watching as the weather or lighting changes, which will affect your exposure. Something experts in this area are probably used to. If you have a Panasonic or Olympus camera that has Live Time / Live Bulb or Live Composite modes, then you can watch the exposure happening while you take the photo and this can be a great way to work out the exposure. If you shoot in raw then you have the ability to correct for any exposure issues, and it's a great way to tweak the image to get the best results.

The 0.6 GRAD ND filter was used to reduce the brightness of the sky and has stopped the foreground from looking dark and dull, giving extra colour thanks to a more balanced exposure. It's also made the clouds look more dramatic in this shot. Thanks to the ability to rotate the filter when needed, it's possible to line up the horizon with the filter, and this has made it very difficult to spot any line in the image where the ND part of the filter starts.


Value For Money

In terms of a square filter kit, the LEE85 system offers a great package, with different configurations available, depending on your needs, and the price of the LEE85 Develop kit, at £291.60 is great value for money. Alternatives from other manufacturers are similar in price, or more, but often use 100mm filters, which makes the system larger, and less suited to smaller camera systems.


LEE85 Develop Kit Verdict

The LEE85 Develop Kit is a great way to get started with filters, and the inclusion of the Big Stopper means you're set up for long exposure photography straight away. The grad ND filter will be great for anyone who is shooting with the sky in the frame, and the only thing we'd add to the kit is a lens cloth, however, it's likely you already have a number of these available. The system works really well, gives great results, and is good value for money. There are a number of great instructional videos available on the LEE Filters website which make it easy to get started using the system straight away. Highly Recommended


LEE85 Develop Kit Pros

  • Great instructional videos
  • High-quality manufacture
  • Seals to prevent light leaks
  • Protective case included
  • Holds 1, 2, or 3 filters

LEE85 Develop Kit Cons

  • None that we can think of

Overall Verdict

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