I’ve posted about how I love my Lee Big Stopper a bunch of times. It’s one of my favorite Neutral Density filters because of the dramatic long exposure photos it let’s you capture at just about any time of day. I say “just about” on purpose, because I’ve always had one issue with the Big Stopper. I do a lot of shooting around sunset and sunrise. In fact, one of my favorite times to shoot is twilight, which means the sun has already set or is about to rise. Well, one of the problems I’ve had with the Big Stopper, when trying to shoot long exposures around those times, is that the shutter speeds get REALLY long.
What do I consider “really” long? For me, it’s anything more than 2 minutes. At that point, the water is just about as smooth as it’s gonna get (or as smooth as I want it). And the clouds are about as streaky and smooth as they’re gonna get. So anything more than 2 minutes is almost pointless for anything I shoot personally. But using the Big Stopper 10-stop ND, and low light, your shutter speeds can be 5-10 minutes long. And that’s just too long for me.
So I was really psyched when I found out that Lee just made the Little Stopper (no, I’m not kidding – that’s really the name). It’s a 6-stop ND filter made with the same quality as the Big Stopper. It’s nearly half the density (darkness) that the Big Stopper is, which cuts down the shutter speeds significantly. Plus, it fits in to my Lee Foundation Kit that I already have so I just needed to buy the filter. I haven’t used it too much yet, but I’m hoping to get out this week for some shooting. One thing I I thought was cool is that it comes in a hard case, which means it should hopefully hold up better in my camera bag. I actually broke my first Big Stopper because it came in a soft case, and, well… I feel one time and it ended up in pieces. Not that I plan of falling again, but it’s good to know that the case can probably hold up to more than the soft case could.
They’re pretty hard to come by in any major stores right now. I snagged one on eBay.com a few weeks ago. I may have paid a few extra bucks for it, but it was worth it to get my hands on one. Hopefully we don’t have a repeat performance of the Big Stopper where it takes months to get a hold of one.
Here’s the link to Lee’s website if you want to find out more about it. I’ll keep you posted with any photos or if I see any in stock anywhere else. Have a good one!
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I’ve had the opportunity to shoot the Little Stopper and compare it to other alternative ND 1.8 filters. Find my review here: http://www.achim-sieger.de/en/lee-little-stopper-review/
Thanks. I posted a link to it today 🙂
I just got mine, too 🙂
Hi Matt, Not related to this post, but I heard you mention on The Grid that you were coming to the UK soon. Can you give us a few details of when you’ll be here and where you’ll be. I am always so envious of all the photographic events that take place in the US; we have so few in comparison, so it would be great to know when you (and did Scott say he’s coming as well?) will be over here.
Sure thing. The info is all over here: http://www.photoshopliveconf.com/
Hope to see you there 🙂
Just curious, does the filter holder allow you to stack the Big and Little Stopper filters if you wanted to?
I have been using my 3 stop Hoya when my Big Stopper has real long shutter speeds. I haven’t been real happy with that solution because it is often not long enough. That s good news about the 6 stop filter. Lee has such amazing filters. I’m wondering if you are able to focus with it on your lens.
Hi Sharon – Still can’t really focus with it on the lens. Just a bit too dark 🙂
FYI…….B & H now has this in stock.
Good News, Matt! After watching your Long Exposure Video, I purchased a 6 and 10 Tiffen Circular NDs. I’ll be interested in seeing how the Lee and Tiffen compare!
I have had zero magenta cast from the Big Stopper, if anything it has a slight blue cast, which is much easier to fix than the magenta cast from B+W filters. I would bet the Little Stopper will be the same quality. I wonder how short the supply will be.
I’ve seen a lot of complaints about a magenta cast with the Big Stopper… any idea if the Littler Stopper is any better in this regard?
Hey Aaron – I get a blue-ish cast with the Big Stopper. It’s not a problem because it’s a one-click fix in post with the white balance eye dropper or Temp slider. It’d be different if my photos were posted straight from the camera, but everything goes in to Lightroom so the 3 second fix is no biggie.
Don’t let the complainers keep you from getting one – they’re both great filters. If you spend enough time on forums you’ll come to the realization that they actually hate everything in the world 😉
“If you spend enough time on forums you’ll come to the realisation that they actually hate everything in the world ;-)” Haha, wise words! Sadly they are very true!