X100T with Lee Filters Seven5 system

The FujiFilm X100 and the Lee Seven5 System

I am a massive fan of long exposure photography and the only issue I have ever faced with my X100/X100s was the challenge of capturing long exposure photographs during the day light hours.

I tried a few 49mm variable filters with little or no success and because the X100S/T/F system is all about simplicity the idea of struggling with step-up or step-down adaptors to attach an ND filter just didn’t make sense.

Lee Filters Fujifilm X100

To this end I found the X100s was my main everyday camera but I had to pack another system if I was planning long exposure captures. Welcome the Lee Seven5 Micro System.

When it comes to filters Lee are the gold standard and their recently released Seven5 micro filter system now includes an option for Fujifilm’s X100 and X100S/T/F cameras. I should also make it clear at this point the Lee Seven5 micro system isn’t just for the X100s and I plan to employ it with the X-Pro2 with various lenses.

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The Long Exposure

long exposureThe eBook covers everything from the equipment you will need right through to post-production processing in Adobe’s brilliant Lightroom.

This guide has been written with the beginner to the long exposure process in mind; however, the enthusiast and professional alike may find something of relevance also. The Book comes with 6 dedicated Lightroom Presets. The Long Exposure Ebook

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The Concept

I know a number of photographers who are slightly intimidated by filter holders and pure glass and resin filters and although the system may look daunting and sophisticated I genuinely experienced a much easier process of capture than with my array of screw-on ND filters.

I put the fact the system is easier to manage on the side of rivers (where dirt and water are an issue) down to the fact there is no more trying to match up screw threads with cold fingers.

I’ve lost one or two filters thinking it had locked successfully to the front of the lens when it hadn’t or had to start the process again as all the fiddling with the front of the camera had completely knocked it out of focus. You can take the Seven5 micro system on and off the front of the camera remarkably easily without having the issue of matching up threads or going near the focus wheel.

Lee Filters and X100s

My Seven5 system came with the attachment ring for the X100/X100s and I have also invested in a 58mm ring so the system can work with both the Fujinon 14mm lens and Fujinon 18-55 zoom lens.

As with any new piece of gear I naturally included a visit to my regular testing ground on Lough Neagh in County Armagh. I have visited this little jetty (top image) dozens of times with new lenses, tripods and cameras and with each visit I wonder just how much longer it will be there.

Oxford Island

Setting up the Seven5 System

I was shooting with the now famous Lee Big Stopper for the Seven5 system. The system is exceptionally easy to set up simply following these four simple steps.

X100s flixelpix

Remove the metal ring around the X100/X100s lens. Screw on the X100s Seven5 ring, attach the holder and insert the big stopper filter in the slot closest to the camera lens.

Lee Filters with the X100s Seven5

This process literally takes seconds and the glass/resin filters slide in and out of the holder easily. One thing to note, if your tripod plate is positional on the camera my advice would be to make sure the X100s is as close to the front of the tripod as possible.

X100s, lee filters, tripod.

I would also advice to alway remove the Seven5 system before taking the camera off the tripod, not only to avoid accidentally hitting the tripod head but also the filters are 90mms and there is no way to set the X100s down without risking damage to the filters, holder or camera. That said the filters don’t feel as fragile as I expected which is an additional reassurance but nothing something I plan to ever test intentionally.

All images are Fujfilm X100s. Photographs featuring the camera in action are the Fujifilm XE-1 and 60mm macro lens.

The Seven5 in Action

As well as the Big Stopper I am using a graduated ND filter with the Seven5 micro system. It was great playing with the different combinations even in situations where you wouldn’t necessarily be thinking of a long exposure, for example this shot of Dundrum Castle. [Note the Big Stopper should always be in the slot closest to the camera lens].

Dundrum castle

When it comes to using the Big Stopper filter I noticed that if I look for obvious contrast points in the scene the X100s is able to focus accurately with the Big Stopper attached.

Oxford Island

I am assuming readers are familiar with the process of long exposure photography so won’t go into the detail. If you haven’t ventured in to the realm of long exposure photography before then you should check out the Long exposure ebook for tips and tricks on capturing the perfect exposure. The ebook includes a rule of thumb for exposure durations with various ND filters attached.

FlixelPix X100s

Colour Cast

Like any ND filter colour is altered during the long exposure capture process. The Big Stopper produces a blue colour cast which can be easily corrected by shooting RAW and adjusting the white balance. I still correct the colour cast even when planning to convert to black and white with Google’s Silver Efex 2.

Lee Big Stopper Colour Cast

In Lightroom you can adjust the temperature to correct the cast but remember it is best to shoot in RAW as this is considerably less effective on JPG files that don’t contain as much information. I was testing the Big Stopper on a very sunny day, probably one of the sunniest we have had in many months and the sky was very blue by default. Just remember to consider this when correcting the cast that the aim isn’t to remove all the blue from the image but to get a correctly balanced image. I took a shot without the Seven5 system attached so I had a better reality of the scene, there was certainly more blue than I would have remembered.

The Irish Sea

Take Everywhere

I tend to take my X100s everywhere and the Lee ring, holder and glass fit into a nice little envelope and are a perfect addition to my travel kit. I think I have taken more long exposure images in the last two days than I have in the last month and the Lee system has really put the fun back into shooting.

I should say that the images in this post should really be considered as test shots I have focused (excuse the pun) on getting to know the Seven5 system and the X100s as a long exposure camera so they are not the best I have taken. They were also captured in probably the worst time of day for taking long exposure images 2pm-5pm).

Drama at St John's point

I have gained a real sense than the Lee system is going to open up a new chapter in experimental photography. I was able to create some new dramatic effects mixing a grad filter with the Big Stopper. The fact I was limited to the 35mm view point meant I experimented more on where I positioned the camera.

For example in this shot I placed the camera so the sun was directly behind the lighthouse, there was a surreal look to the image and the walkers along the front of St John’s point. I added a bleach bypass and a little vignette in Lightroom.

Long Exposures in the sun

As I mentioned early the big problem I faced today was the amount of light. It was remarkably sunny so my long exposure captures were anything from 8 seconds to just twenty. I highly recommend using the start and end of the day for long exposure work, although a ten stop filter technically means you can shoot at the height of the sun in my opinion it simply isn’t worth it.

The Mournes

What about the WCL-X100?

The X100s ring isn’t compatible with the WCL-X100 wide angle lens. If you want to use the system with the WCL-X100 you will need to purchase an additional ring at just under £20. The good news though is the ring will work with any 49mm threaded lens.

St John's Point

After a few days at my local photography locations it is clear (as expected) the X100s is a powerful landscape camera. Some may be put off by the 35mm static lens but it forces you to consider composition, I moved around my locations much more that with the X-Pro1 but creativity comes from challenge.

Depth

In Conclusion

I am hooked. I love long exposure photography and the Lee Seven5 renews the excitement of capturing at any time of the day. If you want to venture into the realm of long exposure photography and have a compact camera then the Lee Filter Seven5 compact system is without doubt the way to go.

Some photographers may be put off by the initial cost of the system but I am considering it to be more cost effective to run than my previous screw on ND filters.

In the past I was having to purchase separate ND filters for each lens or camera I used but with the Seven5 system you only need to buy the holder and filters once then buy adaptor rings for each lenses size. In short, this means if I get a new lens in stead of £60 for an ND filter I just need to by a new adaptor round at around £19. The example being the 58mm ring I purchased at £18.50 that means I can now use the same system on the Fujinon 14mm lens and 15-55mm zoom lens.

I can’t wait to master the Seven5 system, I think they are really going to open up a whole new chapter in X100F long exposure photography and I suspect additional filters will be my favoured birthday and christmas presents for some year to come.

Links

Lee Filters Seven5
My Long Exposure Set on Flickr
The Long Exposure eBook
My first images with the X100s Pre-production camera
The X100s Story so Far.



Comments

  1. Hi Flixel,

    Just wondering – how much did the filters you used on this post cost in total? The Lee site is a bit vague when it comes to prices….

    Thanks!

    Mark

  2. I don’t want to name specific retailers but there are a few that stock the microsystem at good prices. The initial setup costs might appear initially off putting but remember this is scalable for other lenses and camera systems.

  3. I am not sure about specific cameras but if you check the filter size for your lens and check that size on the Lee site. Most sizes are supported.

  4. Hi,

    You said that you can use is with the 14mm. But did you try it ? Don’t you have any vigneting with the 14mm ?

    As for the 100mm device, it’s not adviced by Lee Filters to use it without special WA adapter ring under 16mm for an APS-C. Then, I guess with the smaller Seven5 system, it won’t work, since this system doesn’t include any WA adapter ring.

    Could you please confirm it ?

    I’m on the point to buy a filter holder and your experience is very helpful.

    Thanks for all !

    Regards.

    JMi

  5. It`s exactly the same as those Cokin filters I used to have in the 80`s…
    I wonder if I could make this fit in the X system.

  6. Hello , do you have the polariser?? It seems incredibly expensive at £215, I realise these are lee filters but I am currently using b&w germany filters and they weren’t that cheap either, just wondering how they can justify the cost or am I missing something, hoping that they just release a package with the one holder the hard grads and the polarizer and the big stopper avail seperate. Maybe they do already have this but thankyou for the explanation and review of your experience from someone who has bitten the bullet already.

  7. I think the polariser is the most expensive of the range. I’d love one but can’t seeing being on the afford list for quite a while. The big stopper is a fun filter though.

  8. Thanks for all, David. I didn’t find any thing on the Lee Filters website, but I contacted them to know and they confirmed me that the Seven5 holder is suitable for the 14mm, even with the polarizer ! Then, that’s really good !

  9. There is a new adaptor specifically for the X100s as the threading is different. I know retailers are beginning to stock them but hard to get at the minute.

  10. I can’t find a dealer that’s even heard of the adaptor for the x100s. Could you elaborate and/or suggest a US dealer “in the know?”

  11. Hello David,

    I have the Lee 100mm system for my Canon 7D. Do you know if I only buy the 49mm adapter ring for my system, I could use it on the X100S?

    Best regards,
    Bruno

  12. Bruno, the adaptor for the X100s is difference as the tread is the different. The X100s adaptor only works on the new system though.

  13. Fab analysis and review, thanks. I’ve just bought the x100s and you have helped me obtain all the info I needed to work out which bits of the Lee system I needed to buy for this camera.

    I probably could have figured it all out myself, but you have saved me a ton of time!

    Cheers

  14. Hi

    Quick question on how did you get your lee seven adaptor ring to fit the Fuji 60 mm macro lens. I have just purchased both and found that the depth of the front of the lens to the thread is greater than the depth of thread on the adaptor so they will not fir together.

    Any help

    Steve

  15. Steve, I just have the adaptor for the X100s and the 14mm / 18-55mm lenses. I haven’t used it with the 60mm and I am not sure that I would. The 60mm has, almost a 90mm full frame equivalence and I tend to shoot landscapes – 24-35mm. Sorry that isn’t much of a help.

  16. Hi Steve, you need to fit a 39mm uv filter first which allows the lens to retract fully. Then you use a 39-52 (Kood do one)adapter and you’re away.

  17. Hello David,
    If Lee Seven5 adapter ring for fuji x100/x100s is out of stock!!! Can I use 49mm Adaptor Ring for Seven5 and RF-75 instead of the original one??

    Best Regards,
    Poppy

  18. Hi,
    Thank you for this post. I also enjoyed your ebook on long exposure and although I do not have all the necessary equipment yet, I am planning to start anytime soon!

    I am thinking of buying the WCL-X100S wide angle adapter for my X100s and add a 8-stop Kenko Pro ND8 filter (can always add the 3 stops of the internal ND filter). Do you think the X100s will be able to AF properly with the filter on? At least MF should be OK with the filter on I guess, especially at the forgiving small apertures…

    Any issue with that approach in your opinion?

    Thank you

    Antoine

  19. Great photos 🙂

    One thing i’m wondering about, though. What about the weight of the filter holder + filter(s)? How does the small objective on X100s hold it against the weight?

  20. Yes, using tripod of course. I’m just wondering if the filter holder and filter can cause any damage on the lens, since the lens seems fragile.

  21. No, the Lee system it is very well designed it doesn’t add much more load than the lens hood being attached and much less than the WCL-X100 attached.

  22. Ok.

    Two last questions though, regarding adapters to Fujifilm X100s and Lee Seven5-system:

    1: Lee has made an special adapter to the camera, but will it mean, that i have unscrew the special ring between the lens and the hood each time i will use the Lee system?

    2: Wouldn’t it be easier to just use a 49 mm standard adapter and just attach Lee directly to the lens without having to take the special ring of the lens every time?

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David

David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.

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