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View Full Version : Advice: Cokin Filter System


kenzed
31st August 2008, 01:05 AM
Considering one of the Cokin lanscape kits to get me started... not used any filters before. Is this a good starting point or should I be looking to buy a selection of seperate filters to experiment with? I have E520 with the two lenses that came in the bundle and I have also bought the OZ 70-300mm. I also have Adobe Elements 6 and Adobe PS CS3 which I use for editing.

fulhamphil
31st August 2008, 06:26 AM
Hi Kenzed, I started off with a cokin p series set of filters and found them ok for a while until i started getting a pinkish colour cast when usinng the nd grads, so i started to look elsewhere for a replacement system. I was going to buy the Lee filters landscape kit but found that expensive so i trawled the internet for something else and came up with Hitech filters which i now use with a lee filters holder and adaptor. You can find these filters at www.teamworkphoto.com. They are very good quality and are inexpensive once you've purchased the holder system. I use a 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 soft nd grad, a 0.6 grad and i'm going to purchase a 0.6 coral grad, and i find that adequate. Also i use polorisers which you can purchase good quality fairly cheaply on ebay. I hope this helps, regards, Phil.:)

Invicta
31st August 2008, 09:35 AM
I had the same experience as fulhamphil with Cokin grad and ND filters. The colour cast is a significant problem. The Cokin colour cast (CCC) is not limited to Oly cameras, my friends using the big two brands have exactly the same problem with CCC.

The key filters for digital cameras are:

Neutral density: use a ND 2 or 3 to control exposure and slow down shutter speed e.g. to blur waterfalls.

Polariser: useful for cutting though reflections which can not be done later in Photoshop.

Grads: Handy to have one or two but as you have CS3 you can do a great deal in photoshop with much more control. Process the photo in camera raw for the shadows and open as a smart object in photoshop. Duplicate the layer via copy so the layers are not linked. Double click on this new layer to open in camera raw and process for the higlights. Back in photoshop then blend these two layers and you have much more control of exposure than a grad filter. Handy to have one grad for extreme contrast situations but in CS3 you can do a great deal.

yorky
31st August 2008, 11:14 AM
I have found a ND grad filters useful this "summer" to enable me to get a little bit of detail in otherwise Grey overcast skies without burning them out. I have used both Kood and Cokin in the Zp size. I would like a polarizing filter but the price in this size is out of my range £130 ish so just carry on using a round one when needed.

Cathal
31st August 2008, 12:04 PM
I was having a discussion only the other day at my photography club specifically about the filters required in the digital age. Here's my view...

I'm old enough to have started at this photography thing just as Cokin were starting to kick off! Jean Cokin produced a "creative" filter system. Most of these are now really showing their age, and would be deemed very passe if you were to use them today. Also, their effect is easily reproduced in software.

Traditionally, photographers using transparency film required several filters as they had no other way of retaining colour fidelity. Hence, a series of warm-up filters, cool filters, and various colour corrects were almost standard issue. These are no longer required, as you can correct in software in seconds.

Likewise, black and white film shooters used red, green, orange and yellow filters to achieve various contrast effects. Again, redundant if shooting digital, or even manipulating scanned film.

So what do you need, and why?

[1] The single most important filter is the polarising filter. This reduces glare on glass and water particularly, enhances detail in skies, and also has a market effect on foliage. There are two types of polarising filter available. One is a linear polarizer, and the other is a circular polarizer. This refers to the way they polarize light rather than their form factor. To look at they are identical. With an AF camera, you will require a circular polarizer.

[2] Neutral density (ND) filters. There are two types of ND filter, which are known as ND, or ND Graduated. Typically, they come in three strengths, 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9. An ND filter has the effect of slowing down your exposure time (density) without introducing any type of colour cast. They are used when you want to use a slower shutter speed (e.g., capturing water) or the available light is too strong for the exposure options available to you. (As an aside, fixed aperture catadioptric or mirror lenses often come with a set of ND filters to allow some control over exposure). The graduated ND is far more useful in every day use. Here, the filter is used to reduce the range of exposure in a given scene. Typically, the latitude in exposure between the foreground and the sky would be several stops apart, and can be outside the dynamic range of the camera (if digital) or latitude of the film. All the finest landscape photographers will use ND grads almost constantly, and it is what gives their images such impact.

Other than the filters in [1] and [2], I honestly do not think you would require any others if shooting digitally. Regarding Cokin filters specifically, I have used them since 1981. I don't have their ND filters though, as they are not true ND. They have been know to introduce a mauve colour cast. However, check with their website as I understand they have since produced a true ND filter set.

The best quality are recognised to be those produced by Lee. They are made in the UK, are also used in the film industry, and have stringent quality control procedures. The caveat here though is they are expensive with an ND grad set costing around 100, and you will need their holder. However, they are a lifetime investment so that helps absorb the cost.

Check out the Lee and Cokin web sites for more detailed info. What ever way you go, make sure you get at least the "P" size system, so if you move to large sized lenses or systems, you can continue to benefit from your investment.

Zuiko
31st August 2008, 01:39 PM
Hi Kenzed, I started off with a cokin p series set of filters and found them ok for a while until i started getting a pinkish colour cast when usinng the nd grads, so i started to look elsewhere for a replacement system. I was going to buy the Lee filters landscape kit but found that expensive so i trawled the internet for something else and came up with Hitech filters which i now use with a lee filters holder and adaptor. You can find these filters at www.teamworkphoto.com. They are very good quality and are inexpensive once you've purchased the holder system. I use a 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 soft nd grad, a 0.6 grad and i'm going to purchase a 0.6 coral grad, and i find that adequate. Also i use polorisers which you can purchase good quality fairly cheaply on ebay. I hope this helps, regards, Phil.:)

I thoroughly endorse what you say about the colour cast with Cokin "ND" grads and join you in recommending the Hitech which in my experience are completely neutral. They really are a fraction of the price of Lee filters and fit a Cokin "P" filter holder!

HughofBardfield
1st September 2008, 10:38 AM
Interestingly, I only noticed the Cokin Colour Cast Problem on my E1. It was much less obvious on my E500 or E510. I've found that tweaking the Saturation sliders in Lightroom usually gets rid of the cast to my satisfaction, but YMMV.