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Lee Filters Seven5 Starter Kit Review

Lee Filters Seven5 is a compact filter system designed for those who don't need huge filters and is ideally suited for Micro 4/3 and other compact system cameras. Here we look at the Starter Kit.

|  Seven5 Starter Kit in Filters
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Lee Filters are known for their 100mm system filters and provide arguably the best range for professionals. The filters, designed to cope with full frame cameras and wide angles, are huge when used on one of the new breed of compact system cameras so Lee Filters developed Seven5.

Lee Filters Seven5 Starter Kit

Lee Filters Seven5 Starter Kit Features

The system is based around a compact two slot filter holder with interchangeable adaptor rings. It's a budget alternative to the Lee RF-75 which was designed for smaller SLR systems. The starter kit comprises the holder in a pouch case and a 0.6 Hard Grad filter also in a soft filter pouch.

It's all packaged in a presentation box and cost £112 from WEX Photographic - the adaptor, available in sizes from 37mm to 72mm, is sold separately.

Lee Filters Seven5 Starter Kit Nd Grad attached from side

All filters for the Seven5 system are 75x90mm, and there's a rotating polariser that clips onto the front and also fits the RF-75.

Lee Filters Seven5 Starter Kit Handling

The Seven5 holder is much thinner than the standard 100mm holder, but is metal and has a solid build. The filter slots are, like the big brother, screwed into place and are plastic with springs that grip and hold filters very securely. There's a lip on one side to grip the adaptor ring and a spring clip on the other side that secures the adaptor. You pull this spring catch to release the adaptor. It's very quick to remove the holder from the ring when it's screwed into the lens. This is great when using filters such as the Big Stopper that need to be removed to compose and focus.

You can also rotate the holder on the lens easily if you want the gradient at an angle.

Being 75mm means you can also use old Ambico and Hoyarex filters. Some Hoyarex with glass, such as Skylight and UV, don't fit due to them having a circular design within their mounted plastic frame. Most of the others do, including colour corrections and conversions, plus special effects such as starbursts and diffractions that Lee Filters don't produce.

The filters come in pouch cases, but don't have labels so if you accumulate a range you will need to create some form of id label or you'll be forever looking for the right one. The pouches act like soft cleaning cloths.

Lee Filters Seven5 Starter Kit Performance

The system holder locks onto the adaptor solidly, so it won't fall off accidentally, but it also removes quickly so is very easy to attach and remove.

The kit comes with the Hard grad which can be a little challenging to use in some situations - the soft grad might have been a better first choice for a starter kit. The filter, like all Lee Filters is extremely well made and has no colour cast. It delivers a really clean graduated edge making it perfect for landscapes. There's no degradation to image sharpness either.

It does exactly what we've come to expect from Lee Filters, and in a much more convenient size.

Seven5 Nd Grad | 1/250 sec | f/7.1 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
A hard grad is fine when there's a fairly clear divide between sky and ground like this - 1/250 sec | f/7.1 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200, but when you want to avoid something like a tree the hard grad is a bit too defined, even at f/4! You can see below the change in brightness with the defined line across the sky where the graduated filter is split - 1/1000 sec | f/4.0 | 9.0 mm | ISO 200.

Seven5 Nd Grad Tree | 1/1000 sec | f/4.0 | 9.0 mm | ISO 200

Lee Filters Seven5 Starter Kit Verdict

If you're a compact systems camera user, or a Cokin A series or Hoyarex / Ambico user you could switch to this system to gain access to the Lee Filters excellent graduated filters and, if Hoyarex or Ambico, use your existing range in the Seven5 holder. Hoyarex users who're thinking they don't actually need to buy the Seven5 holder may be disappointed. The Lee filters are too loose in the Hoyarex holder and would need padding to stop them slipping through. There is one exception - the Lee Filters Big Stopper fits snugly in the Hoyarex system. Overall it's a desirable product, but pricey.

  The Lee Filters Seven5 Starter Kit is a desirable product, but pricey.

Lee Filters Seven5 Starter kit Pros

Metal holder
Compact size
Quick adaptor clip system
Filters grip tightly

Lee Filters Seven5 Starter kit Cons

Filter pouch not labelled


Additional product shots and sample photos can be viewed in the Equipment Database.

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