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Xposure 04: New Issue

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Big Stopper and Little Stopper

These creative long exposure filters reduce the light entering your lens by approximately 10 stops (Big Stopper) or 6 Stops (Little Stopper).

Watch the Big Stopper Video

Inspiring Professionals

Big or Little?

The names of our long exposure filters have nothing to do with their physical size and everything to do with creative options.

The Big Stopper & The Little Stopper are both available for our core 100mm System, the popular Seven5 System for compact system cameras and the SW150 System for ultra-wideangle lenses. “Big” or “Little” refers to the light stopping power of each – not their size.

The Big Stopper is a 10 stop filter.

The Little Stopper is a 6 stop filter.

These technical differences translate to a lot of flexibility for your creative photography

Little Stopper

Here the Little Stopper is used by Jeremy Walker to retain texture in the sea and sky while still giving a sense of time passing.

Why use a Big Stopper?

By greatly extending exposure times the Big Stopper has the effect of allowing anything that is moving in your image to become blurred or ghost like, for example clouds, waterfalls, rivers, and the sea.

The filter can also be used on cityscapes to blur people or on roads and motorways to blur traffic.

Big Stopper Pro Glass

The Big Stopper

Shot with a Big Stopper
Jeremy Walker

The LEE Big Stopper increases the exposure by ten stops, this allows the slight motion of the sea and sky to be captured.

Exposure: 2 minutes at f11

Shot without a Big Stopper

Xposure 04 - Click to read our latest online magazine

Xposure Issue 04 Highlights

  • Commercial photographer Karl Taylor captures the (nearly) impossible.
  • Differences and similarities between the LEE 100mm, Seven5 and SW150 systems
  • Chris Prescott takes filters to the edge.
  • Composition with wildlife photographer Luke Massey.
  • Anatomy of a Seascape.

Xposure Past IssuesView previous issues

PDF downloadDownload PDF (33MB)

The Big & Little Stopper with Jonathan Chritchley

The Big & Little Stopper with Jonathan Chritchley

In this video fine art photographer Jonathan Chritchley demonstrates how to get the most from the Big & Little Stopper. Practical tips and creative inspiration for anyone exploring long exposure photography.

Why use a 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.

Little Stopper

The Little Stopper

Shot with a Little Stopper
Mark Bauer

The LEE Little Stopper increases the exposure by six stops, this allows texture and detail to be retained in the sea and sky while still giving a sense of time passing.

Shot without a Little Stopper

How to use the Big or Little Stopper

  1. First compose your image before fitting the Big or Little Stopper.
  2. Take a meter reading without the filter in place, and set your desired aperture and shutter speed.
  3. Use the exposure tables to find the correct exposure. Your filter will have come with a printed exposure table.
  4. With the Big or Little Stopper inserted into the slot nearest the lens, attach the filter holder as usual and make your exposure.
  5. Always use the sturdiest tripod you can when making long exposures, and take care not to knock the camera or tripod. Cover your viewfinder before releasing the shutter to avoid light encroaching onto the sensor or film and causing flare.

Both the Big Stopper & Little Stopper can be used in conjunction with other filters such as Neutral Density Graduated Filters.

Other filters should be set up and positioned in the filter holder as normal before using the Big or Little Stopper, remembering to keep the slot in the filter holder nearest the lens free for the Big or Little Stopper.

Big Stopper
Exposure Guide

Normal Shutter
Big Stopper
1,000th 1 second
500th 2 seconds
250th 4 seconds
125th 8 seconds
60th 15 seconds
30th 30 seconds
15th 1 minute
8th 2 minutes
¼ 4 minutes
½ 8 minutes
1 second 16 minutes
2 seconds 32 minutes

Little Stopper
Exposure Guide

Normal Shutter
Little Stopper
1,000th 15th of a second
500th 8th of a second
250th ¼ of a second
125th ½ of a second
60th 1 second
30th 2 seconds
15th 4 seconds
8th 8 seconds
¼ 15 seconds
½ 30 seconds
1 second 1 minutes
2 seconds 2 minutes
Shot with a Big Stopper, 0.6 Soft Grad and Polariser
Chris Prescott

Danny MacAskill at Loch Coruisk, Isle of Skye during filming for 'The Ridge'.

Composite image using these filters:

Professional hints:

White balance

Use of the Big or Little Stopper may result in a slight colour cast. It's worth conducting some tests to learn either which colour-correction filters to use in conjunction with them, or which white balance settings to apply. If shooting Raw, any colour cast can be corrected easily at the post-production stage.

Reciprocity failure

When making long exposures, film users need to take reciprocity failure into account. Different brands and speeds of film respond differently to long exposures, so always refer to the manufacturers' recommendations first. To be completely sure, carry out tests with your chosen emulsions and bracket your exposures.

Quick Start Videos

Get up to speed fast with our videos that explain the LEE Filter System and how to use it

Product Directory

Complete product information for filters, holders, kits, sets and accessories

Advice from Professionals


Before LEE Big Stopper

After – Big Stopper & LEE 0.9 ND Grad Hard, Colour Corrected

After LEE Big Stopper

A Full Range of Stopping Power

Neutral Density Standard Filters

ProGlass Neutral
Density Filters

Little Stopper
& Big Stopper

We offer ND filters with a full range of stopping power

The Big Stopper (10 stops) & Little Stopper (6 stops) are both very dense neutral density filters. Other ND filters are also available from 0.3 ND (1 stop) to 0.9 ND (3 stops).

Ultimate flexibility

ND Filters can be stacked together, or used with other filters, so you can respond to almost any lighting situation.

Specialist filters for digital

When shooting digitally, light at the infrared and ultraviolet ends of the spectrum can be problematic. The ProGlass range of filters has been designed with this in mind. These glass neutral density filters are optimised for use with digital cameras, as they absorb more infrared and ultraviolet light than traditional ND filters. The result is a punchier image, with less discolouration in adverse lighting conditions.


Before LEE ND Standard

After – LEE 0.9 ND Standard

After LEE ND Standard


Polarising filters are used primarily to reduce reflections. This can be useful when photographing skies, water, glass etc.

Inspiring Professionals

Reimagined for tablets these new eBooks take you through stunning landscape photos and the exact filters and techniques used.


Join leading landscape photographer Jeremy Walker for a day or weekend at our photographic workshops around the UK.

The System

  • Adaptor Ring

    screws onto camera lens

  • Filter Holder

    attaches to the adaptor ring

  • LEE Filter

    slides into the filter holder

More info

LEE Filters Quick Start Videos

You can view all our videos with Closed Captions and Translations (beta) on our YouTube Channel LEEfiltersTV

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