The Lee Filters Lee Elements Little Stopper is a six-stop neutral density filter that screws into the filter thread of your lens. The Lee Elements version of the filter is simply a more convenient version of the filter available in the more traditional full 100 and 150mm square filter systems that Lee Filters is well know for.
Enabling a full six stops of exposure reduction, the Little Stopper is a little more reserved than its better-known sibling, the Big Stopper. This new version joins the rest of the Lee Filters Lee Elements range of screw-in filters and offers a quick and convenient way to extend exposures.
The filter comes packed inside an ultra-tough plastic case that, aside from the small label, is identical to the rest of the Lee Elements filter range. This might not have the wow factor of the old metal or fabric cases, but ultimately the new style case is spot on when it comes to durability and function.
The filter performs excellently, reducing the light passing through the lens by the advertised six stops. As with the rectangular filter system version, the AF and metering on the Sony A7 III and Canon EOS R work without issue until the light really drops or small apertures are used.
Checking over the images and despite the exposure reduction, there are no signs of colour cast or vignetting when using the 24-70mm lenses.
If you’re looking for a high-quality six-stop ND, then there are few to rival the quality of the Lee Elements Little stopper, but, as always, you will pay a premium.
- Easy to use
- Superb optical quality
What is the LEE FILTER LEE ELEMENT Little Stopper?
- Neutral Density: six stops
- Filter diameters: 67, 72, 77 and 82mm
In looks and use, the filter is almost identical to the LEE ELEMENTS Big Stopper. Of course, the difference between the two is the density which here with Little Stopper is six stops as opposed to ten with the Big Stopper.
Again the filter arrives in the excellent and ultra-tough plastic case; the insert inside tightly holds the filter in place so that it’s held firm when in transport.
Using the filter is straightforward; screw it directly into the filter thread of your lens, and then once in place, the Little Stopper is ready to use. While the LEE ELEMENTS Little Stopper is a filter that you would usually use in isolation, a filter thread is incorporated into the front of the filter. This means a Matte Box, lens hood, additional filter or something else could be added if required.
The filter does little to affect the camera’s metering or AF performance. If the light is low or there is a slight focus or metering issue, then, as with the Big Stopper, I found that opening up the aperture and then focusing before switching the lens to manual focus would inevitably solve any focus issues.
When it came to metering, the Sony A7 III and Canon EOS R both coped with the addition of the filter without issue. Checking the histogram of the images after they’ve been shot highlighted any need to extend or reduce exposure times.
Installing and removing the filter is easy if you don’t overtighten the filter onto the lens thread. Once finished, it can be popped back into the case and into a side pocket of your backpack or jacket. The filter is far quicker and more convenient than the bulky filter system equivalent.
Back in the studio and checking through the images, the quality of the filter is instantly apparent. As with the Big Stopper, there is little to no colour cast or signs of Vignette on the wider end of the 24-70mm lenses.
The colour and tonal detail are all well preserved despite the long exposure, which all goes towards helping to produce high-quality, detailed images.
Like the Big Stopper, the quality of the LEE ELEMENTS Little Stopper is excellent, with very little to fault. At first, I was unsure about the slightly thicker design of the Big and Little Stoppers. Still, in use, the additional thickness and texture around the edge enable good purchase when attaching and removing the filter.
The Big Stopper often overshadows the LEE ELEMENTS Little Stopper; however, the effect on images is just as profound in use. On those slightly cloudy days, the Little Stopper is a better choice enabling you to capture smooth flowing water without the fear of burnout in the highlights.
It’s also great on sunny days, enabling more detail and texture to be captured without blurring to the extent of the big stopper. For the most part, this filter is easy to use, able to focus and expose without the need for calculations in most situations.
The Little Stopper is the filter you go to after buying the Big Stopper and enables you to refine the technique of long exposures. When using the Little Stopper, you need to be more aware of your camera settings to get the shot you want, but once you’ve mastered it, the Little Stopper will enable you more flexibility than the Big Stopper.
The Little Stopper is a great option when the light is lower, and the Big Stopper is just overkill. The Little Stopper is the progression of Neutral Density; if you’re new to long exposures, go straight in and have some Big Stopper fun; once you know what you’re doing, take a step back to the excellent refinement of the Little Stopper.