Read my review of the 6 stop ND filter Little Stopper produced by Lee filter.
Lee Little Stopper, the review
Lee is known for the good quality of its ND and GND filters and this is evident from the details. As you can see the Little Stopper comes perfectly packaged inside a metal case. The Little Stopper is available both in the 100×100 mm and 75×90 mm formats. The package includes a little booklet explaining how it can be used as well as a handy business card-sized laminate with common shutter speed conversions.
This being said, you should keep in mind that the Little Stopper might not actually be 6 stops, just like the Big Stopper, but somewhere between 5⅓ and 6⅔ stops of reduction. My copy is in fact 6⅔ stops. The best thing to do is to test your copy once you buy it.
The filter is made of Lee’s high quality Pro Glass. This means that the quality is excellent but at the same time the filter is extremely fragile.
On the back of the filter is a 2mm foam gasket to lightseal the filter. If you are using the Lee holder, you must insert the Little Stopper in the first slot (close to the front of your lens), and you might use the other slots for your GND filters.
Little Stopper and Big Stopper
The weather of these days didn’t help me that much. I wanted to shoot some beautiful sunsets but so far this has proved to be impossible. So I simply tested the Little Stopper to check if the dominant is as strong as in the case of the Big Stopper.
I’ll update this post with more pictures in the following months.
I shot 4 pictures:
1° – without filter
2° – with the Little Stopper
3° – with the Big Stopper
4° – Little Stopper + Big Stopper
I set the white balance to 5150K for all the pictures but I didn’t correct it in PP.
Actually I didn’t even PP the pictures apart for a slight Light/Shadows correction in Photoshop.
The 4° test is really a nonsense test. But I made it just out of my curiosity. I don’t think I’ll ever use these two filters together.
The test is anyway interesting because, as you can see, the dominant is not that strong. Keep in mind that it is a 9 minutes exposure with a total of a little more than 17 stops. Honestly I thought that the dominant would be even stronger.
This is the result:
The Little Stopper is not really neutral, in fact it has a slight blue cast, but it can be quickly corrected by adjusting the white balance (if you shoot in RAW).
Why use a Little Stopper?
For this picture I used the Little Stopper
At six stops, the Little Stopper is ideal for those low-light conditions at the beginning and end of the day (when the Big Stopper’s ten stops may prove too much), allowing you to enjoy increased flexibility with exposure lengths.
In many shooting conditions, this means that detail and texture in areas of movement such as the sky and water would be retained, while still conveying a sense of time passing.
In this pictures I used the Big Stopper and this allowed me to use an exposure time of 20 seconds. But I lost most of the textures of the waves. The Little Stopper would have allowed me to retain the texture.
Is it worth buying it?
It depends. This type of filters can’t be used in every picture but it is also true that you cannot reproduce the effects of a 6 stop ND filter with Photoshop, not even closing the aperture of your camera. So in certain situations a 6 stops ND filter might be the only solution. It also depends from how many times you will use the Little Stopper. Spending 100£ for a filter that you will use once a year is certainly not worth, but if you frequently shot sunrises and sunsets this might be a perfect purchase.
I’m personally very satisfied with the Little Stopper. Keep in mind that the Little Stopper doesn’t replace the Big Stopper: they are two different filters that will help you to achieve different results. In any case, once you start using Nd filters you will never stop. They have tha advantage of helping you to capture unique images and help you to experiment more. More than that, the ND filters will force you to think more BEFORE you shoot, and this will surely help to emprove the quality of your pictures. In the following months I hope to test more thoroughly this filter and I’ll post the pictures here.