HiTech v Lee Big Stopper review

Some time ago I did a brief tutorial on the HiTech big stopper (note this is their New version that isn’t subject to IR contamination).

As I mentioned I only bought the HiTech as the LEE had such a long lead time, however I kept my order on with the LEE as I wasn’t convinced with the HiTech.

Cost
HiTech = £69.99
LEE = £100

Winner = HiTech

Lead Times

LEE 7 Months
HiTech 5 days

Winner = HiTech

Construction

HiTech = CR39
LEE = Glasss

The LEE gives slightly better clarity of image (you can’t really see it at 600px), however it is very easy to break

Packaging

HiTech has quite a cheap looking plastic leatherette pouch
LEE has a very proffesional canvas Pouch

Both have a exposure guide.

Winner = LEE

Now to the results:

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Straight shot, 3 stop grad ND – F14 1/80 sec ISO 200 Auto WB=4600/+2

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HiTech Big Stopper +3 stop Grad ND Straight out of Camera – F11, 30 Sec ISO200 Auto WB=4900/-8

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LEE straight out of camera – F11, 30 Seconds ISO200 Auto WB=5450/-2

A few comments:

The HiTech has quite a strong Aqua caste
LEE is pretty neutral (slightly cool) -it must be said this is much better than my last LEE copy

Winner= LEE

To get a consistant exposure (30 seconds) both Big stoppers had to be set to F11, so they are both closer to 11 Stop than 10 stops.

Winner = Draw

The next stage was to take the RAW’s set a white balance off the same area (one of the stones in the wall) then use Auto in lightroom to balance exposure (note this is only for consistancy and not my usual workflow).

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Original WB= 3850 / +1

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HiTech WB= 8900 / +118

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LEE WB=6150 / +17

The above Just confirms my original thoughts that the LEE is far more neutral, particularly for the tint settings.

The final versions are the finished Lightroom files (done by eys to get the best IMO of each file)

big stopper7

Original Finished

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HiTech Finished

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Conclusion

I was very surprised, the HiTech filter performed very well, my preference is still the LEE, but only just for the upmost quality, however you can with care get more than acceptable results with the HiTech. As HiTech are more readily available they are probably goin to provide quite a challenge to LEE.

First published on ePhotozine 7th January 2012

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