Serk Filter Adaptor Rings for Lee's Foundation Kit

It's a story as old as auto focus.  Someone orders a piece of Lee Filters gear to fill a hole and ends up spending better than half a year on the wait list.  In the not-too-distant past photographers had little recourse apart from waiting and, presumably, missing shots.  I knew this could happen to me when I decided to purchase a new walk-around lens that required 82mm filters as I had no adapter ring in that size with which to mount a Lee Filters Foundation Kit.  For clarification, Lee makes a filter system that uses a filter holder into which you place your 4x4 or 4x6 filters, but this whole assembly requires a lens adapter mounted onto your lens.  Anticipating this new 82mm filter thread equipped lens, I ordered the appropriate Lee filter adapter in what I thought was well ahead of time.  It wasn't.

I received my Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II but still had no way to attach my Lee filters.  With no end to the wait in sight I came across Chinese knock off seller Hody_CameraParts and their Serk Adaptor Rings.  Thankfully, these filter adaptors are priced at about a fifth of the Lee counterpart and all are in the maximally recessed "WA" (wide angle) configuration.  More importantly, the Serks are available for immediate shipping. 

Serk Filter Adaptor Ring with Lee Filters Adaptor Ring

It took about two weeks for the ring to make it from Shanghai to me.  The adaptor ring arrived in a generic plastic bag with no markings.  Apart from an ink stamped size on the face the ring had no markings either.  There is a 77mm Lee adaptor ring in the above image for comparison and it's clear the coloring is the same.  What isn't clear in the pic is that the Lee feels noticeably weightier and more solid than the Serk.  The Serk is made of a slightly smaller gauge aluminum.  The Lee is made from two pieces glued together whereas the Serk is one machined piece.  (Note:  Recently, Lee has moved over to a one-piece design, as well.)  This is where the story gets slightly humorous...

Serk and Lee Filter Adaptors. Notice the gap in the Lee (bottom) where the glue seam is visable.

The people at Serk were so intent on cloning the Lee part they added the glue seam to their design!  Of course, the Serk ring is one piece - it does not have glue anywhere in its design - and the seam plays no part in the operation of the ring but the people at Serk were leaving nothing to chance!

Canon has designed the incomparable EF 24-70mm f2.8L II with polycarbonate filter threads.  While I appreciate the benefits to polycarb here when it comes to galling and thread locking (don't we all have stories of filters getting stuck?), I was nervous about using a relatively cheap knock off filter adaptor in this situation.  What if the filter adaptor wasn't pitched just right and it ended up keying the threads on my brand new lens?  I screwed it on slowly, minding any resistance.  It went on smoothly, at least as smoothly as the Lee.  Historically speaking with regards to Chinese knock offs, it's probably a good idea to assume the manufacturing tolerance on these rings isn't up to Lee's standards and you should always test a new Serk ring by mounting it slowly at first.  As expected, the Lee Foundation Kit snapped on without a fuss and held securely.

After using the Serk Filter Adaptor for some time now I feel confident in recommending them as a replacement for the Lee Filter Adaptor.  Spend less on adaptor rings and buy filters with the savings instead.

Estes Park, Colorado. f/11 @ 1/400th sec, Singh-Ray G. Rowell 2-stop SS Graduated Neutral Density Filter.

In this age of multi-exposure HDR I still enjoy the organic experience of using neutral and graduated neutral density filters.  Anything that allows me to spend less time in front of a computer is like chicken soup for the soul.

And I'm still waiting for the Lee Filter Adaptor to arrive.  I'm off to go cancel that order.

-JD