New Nisi 150mm Square Polarizer for the Lee SW-150 Holder

Nisi Cavision 150mm PolarizerI have recently written an article about how to use a polarizer with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and the Lee SW-150 holder. The drawback was the limited selection of polarizers. The only available CPL at this time was the Cavision which is rather expensive and inconvinient to use at it is 4mm thick.

At Photokina 2014 I found an alternative CPL from Nisi Digital. As you might already know it is not possible to rotate the polarizer independently of the ND grad filters in the Lee Holder. That makes it essential that the polarizer delivers full polarization in either straight or 90° rotated orientation. Unfortunately my tests with the Nisi CPL showed me that this filter gives full effect only in 45° orientation. A no go for everybody that wants to use CPL filters together with ND grad filters.

Nisi CPL Label

I have been discussing with Nisi about this issue and fortunately they have now developed a new version of the 150mm square CPL filter. Version II has now the same polarizing axis as the Cavision polarizer. Due to it’s thickness of only 2mm and it’s lower price tag compared to the Cavision polarizer it’s a no brainer and I can highly recommend the Nisi polarizer. In terms of the Lee SW-150 holder the filter fits perfectly into the standard 2mm guides. Light reduction is somewhere around 1,3 stops.

You can buy the Version II Polarizer from this Link.

19 Comments on “New Nisi 150mm Square Polarizer for the Lee SW-150 Holder

  1. A great blog and lovely photos!

    Have you considered giving the Nisi holder a try? It seems to be well machined and cost effective. Additionally it has a 77mm adapter so you could use the same filters on all lenses.

    Would like to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Hello Dave,

      I have never considered buying the Nisi Holder. Simply because I own the Lee SW-150 and I don’t see a need to have different holders.
      I am fine with the Lee and never considered switching to any other brand.

      The Nisi holder is quite well made. That’s true. However it has no lens adaptor as the Lee holder. With the lens adaptor from Lee, the SW-150 stays always in perfect position on the lens. The Nisi holder has to be positioned and aligned everytime you mount it on the lens. In that case the Lee is more simple and convenient to use. If you don’t mind adjusting the holder everytime you use it the Nisi might me good choice.

      By the way… Lee also offers an Adaptor ring to use the Lee SW-150 on standard lenses.
      http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera-directory/camera-dir-list/category/sw-150-system-adaptor

      Cheers
      Achim

    • Achim,
      I took you advice from your 1st Nikon 14-24 lens blog and bought the lee 150 system, a cavision polarizer (4mm) and several neutral density filters (2mm). Then I ran into the problem that the lee 150 system does not accommodate 3 baffles for the filters (only 2 2mm or the 4mm). I re-read you blog and noted that you said ” I never used these (lee) original baffles” but you did indicate what you used in their place.

      My questions are;
      – What baffles did you use?
      – In the picture of those baffles, it appears that you had mounted 2 2mm baffles closest to the lens and then the 4mm baffle most distant from the lens. Is that still you recommendation?

      I appreciate you blog and solutions. I like the system just haven’t been able to use the polarizer and split density filters together and would like too.

      Regards,
      Charli

      PS – When do you want to come tour Canyonlands and the other National Parks in UT, AZ and WY. You have a standing invitation and tour guide.

      • Charli,

        you probably misunderstood me. Sorry for my bad english. I am not a native speaker.

        You have to differentiate between baffles and filter guides.
        Filter guides are the small plates that hold the filters. As you said the holder comes with 2x 2mm guides.
        If you want additional guides you’ll get them as accessories from Lee. They are available in 2mm and 4mm.
        I’ve heard from a User that Cavision now sells a Polarizer in 2mm too.

        Baffles are the big plastic light blockers that are mounted in the back of the holder.
        I never used them and developed the flare blocker instead.

        Thank you for inviting me to Canyonlands. Currently I have no plans to come over as Patagonia is the next spot on my bucket list.
        But I will keep it in mind 😉

        Cheers
        Achim

  2. Good point about the Nisi. I guess it depends on the difficulty of attaching the device and if one consider this convenience to be worth the $250 premium.

    • Oh yes. For sure you would save a lot with the Nisi. But as said before… since I already own the Lee holder I never thought about “downgrading” to the Nisi.

  3. Hi Achim and guests, I am the Irish distributor for Nisi products and have sold item to happy customers all over Europe, so if you are looking for any Nisi or Haida products I can supply them for you and save on import taxes. You can find more details on our Facebook page, facebook.com/camerafiltersireland

  4. Hi Achim, (I also sent this comment in a private email)

    I’m in a quandary choosing between the Nisi and Wonderpana Freearc systems for my Nikon 14-24mm lens on a D800. I value your opinion highly. You convinced me that the Nisi filters are better quality (true?). My major concern with Nisi is the CPL. My understanding is that you can’t vary its polarization because a square filter has only two positions (full or none depending on how you insert it). Am I correct? The 145mm round Fotodiox filter has true adjustable polarization levels. However, with Wonderpana, you cannot stack the CPL and ND filters, which are threaded, with a rectangular GND which is nice to be able to do. Please give me your opinion!

    Thanks in advance,
    Larry

    • Larry,

      I have never tried the Wonderpana System in the field.
      I have just seen it at a photography fair in Germany.
      Didn’t like it at all. The ND grad filters are massive. Extremely thick and I doubt that they are color neutral.
      The other drawback you’ve mentioned already….

      I also would not buy the Nisi holder. This one is crap.
      To mount it on your lens you need to squeeze it on to the hood.
      You need to squeeze it that strong that you squeeze the whole lens and the lens elements won’t move as easy as without the holder.
      A friend of mine observed that. In the end you can probably damage the lens with this holder.

      I have recently moved from the Lee SW-150 holder to the brand new Haida 150mm holder for the 14-24mm f/2.8.

      The Haida holder is perfect. You can use both the extremely color neutral Lee ND grad filters and the perfectly color neutral Haida 150mm ND filters.
      There is a foam gasket at the front of the Haida holder that seals the ND filters against light leakage.
      You can shoot ND 3.0 without flare issues with that holder.
      The Nisi 150mm square CPL fits in this holder too.

      And yes. You have only two positions to use the Nisi CPL in such a holder.
      But this doesn’t matter to me. For full polarization it will be always 90° rotated anyway (with the new Version II of the Nisi CPL).

      BR
      Achim

      • Thanks so much for your informative and immediate reply! I now have a third option to seriously consider 🙂

        Larry

  5. Hi Achim,

    While I have used my Haida 150mm holder with my two Haida and two Nisi filters only a few times, vertical scratches near the center of the top and bottom edges have appeared on two of my four filters. One is a nano coated Nisi reverse GND and the other is a Haida GND. The only place where these filters rub against anything is when sliding the filters over the Haida rubber gasket but that shouldn’t be causing scratches. Have you noticed anything like this?

    Larry

    • Hi Larry,

      I am not using any coated filters. As GND’s I use Lee exclusively.

      Scratches are likely to show up at the corners where you slide the filter into the holder. I would not expect the foam gasket to cause scratches.
      Doesn’t look nice however it will not effect image quality as the area is outside the field of view.

      Best regards
      Achim

  6. Hi, I am using Lee sw 150 mark-2 holder for nikon 14-24 lens and nisi 100 mm v3 holder kit for tamron 24-70 mm lens.
    pros and cons:
    Lee : holder good, adapter always remains on lens fixed, however it has only 2 slots for filter. also, slight unmindfull , you may drop your holder on the ground,while fitting and removing extra cautions are to be taken. three slots are preferred-one polariser,2 nd grad (nd) and 3rd big stopper. which is missing in lee.
    for nisi: wonderfull holder-3 slots and no chance for dropping, lee and formatt hitech filters are perfectly fitting into it.
    rest up to you.

    naresh /karaikal india

    • Hi Naresh,

      thank you very much for your thoughts and experience.

      I have sold my Lee SW-150 (Mark I) holder and also don’t use my 100mm filters anymore.
      Some time ago I switched to the Haida 150mm holder which works fine for me. I can shoot ND, ND Grad and square polarizer at the same time. There are adaptor rings for 77mm or 82mm thread lenses available for this holder. Gives the benefit of carrying only one set of filters and not two.

      Greetings to India
      Achim

  7. Hi Achim, thanks for the information but please can you explain why 45deg cpl filter is a no go when combining with grad filters and the pros and cons between 45deg and 90deg?

    Many thanks

    Paul

    • Hello Paul,

      sorry for my late reply…

      As long as the filter is in 90° polarization you can place it straight in the holder and get 100% effect in reflection removing (e.g. from water surfaces)
      At 45° polarization you need to rotate the holder by 45° do get the same effect. As long as you use only a polarizer this isn’t a big problem. However when you combine a neutral density grad filter with a 45° polarizer you will never get 100% polarization effect when the holder is straight in scenes with straight horizon.

      Best regards
      Achim

  8. Hi Achim, I have the new Nisi polalizer and use it with a Haida 150mm set up. I’ve noticed that it creates a vertical band of darkening in the sky instead of the uniform sky darkening that all other polarizers I’ve used. Roatating it just moves the ‘band’ which is approximately 1/3 of the width of the frame, horizontal.
    Have you heard of this from anyone else?
    Thanks,
    Jay

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