The Little Stopper from Lee

26 Mar 2014

The Little Stopper

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a “not so big stopper” ever since I got my original Big Stopper when it launched a few years ago. The popularity of the Lee 10 stop neutral density filter was unprecedented and demand was far greater than production could keep up with. Photo sharing sites such as Flickr were awash with minimalist style long exposures and I was as keen as everyone else.

Canon 5Diii, Zeiss 50mm
30 Seconds at f11.
Lee Little Stopper & Lee 0.3 Soft Grad

The Little Stopper in it's padded tin.

The design of the square ND filter is the same as the original Big Stopper with a foam gasket to stop light leaking in around the edges of the filter holder. It's available as 100mm x  100mm (for the DSLR 100mm Lee System) and 75mm x 90mm (Compact System Cameras such as the Fujo X-Pro)

It is supplied in a metal tin with foam padding as pictured above. My Big Stopper was one of the first to ship and is just in a padded sleeve rather than a tin, although I believe they also now ship in a tin. Although I have never broken a Big Stopper it certainly feels less secure that the new Little Stopper does. This seems a good decision by Lee.

The very cold colour cast which was the main issue with the Big Stopper, is not anywhere near as noticeable with The Little Stopper. The image of the groyne on Swanage beach only needed warming by just under 500k which seemed very reasonable for an overcast morning. The camera was set on shade. 

For the shot of The Pinnacle, below, I was able to achieve a 30 second exposure quite easily just after sunset using the Little Stopper (on a base exposure of 1/2 second without an ND), which was about the right exposure time to soften the water enough without becoming too long of an exposure where keeping the tripod still may have become an issue. The Big Stopper would have required 8 minutes without factoring in the fading light at that end of the day and a 4 stop ND would only have given me a shutter speed of 8 seconds, which would have been too short to soften the water enough. Admittedly I could have tweaked aperture and or ISO, but my lens is sharpest at f11 and having the new filter in the bag is a great addition.

The Little Stopper is the ideal choice for long exposure photography at either end of the day, in lower light conditions which make the Big Stopper just a bit too big.

The Pinnacle

Canon 5Diii, Zeiss 50mm
30 Seconds at f11.
Lee Little Stopper & Lee 0.6 Soft Grad

You can download my Long Exposure Calculation Chart here.

The Little Stopper is available from Robert White Photography.