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Thread: Considering buying ND filters

  1. #1
    Member birdie's Avatar
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    Considering buying ND filters

    I've been wanting to buy a set of ND filters for a while now to assist with my seascape photos...

    Now i'm thinking of getting a set of the Cokin P series filters, I know this has been discussed many times on one of the other forums i use, and I've asked about it a couple of times... but its come time to bite the bullet...

    My main landscape lens is a Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 on a Canon 40D... (and eventually in a year or so I'd like to go full frame with a 5DMKII and either the 17-40 or 16-35 so basically the same angle of view)

    I was looking at buying a full set of Cokin P series filters, 1,2,3 stop solid ND filters, and 1,2,3 stop grad ND filters and case and all, but then someone suggested going to the Z series so i don't have to worry about vignetting...

    Now i'm wondering if i do need a full set or whether there is one or two i could get away with... like maybe the 2 and/or 3 stop nd grad...

    The other ND i'm going to get is the B+W 110 10 stop 77mm solid ND screw-on filter...

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    Member crazyjester900's Avatar
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    I don't think you need a full set i think your on the oney with 2 and 3

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    I tend to agree with crazyjester900 -- don't bother with one-stop grads.

    I tend to use my three-stop grad as a first port of call, and then stack my two-stop if I need the extra light reduction.

    If you're going to move to a full-frame camera with an ultra-wide lens, it's best to invest in the Z-PRO-size filters now rather than buying a set of P-size filters now and upgrading later. While the larger filters (6 x 4") are more expensive, you have the benefit of knowing they'll work with any lens, and all you need to do is buy an adapter ring suitable for the filter diameter of your existing lenses.

    I've provided a rundown of GND filters in another thread, which you may like to read -- it'll give you some information about GND filters which you might find handy.

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    Member dsaini's Avatar
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    Don't make the mistake i made. Rather than buying Original Cokin holders and rings, go for ebay clones. Price difference is huge while quality is almost similar.

    Also there is a company on ebay selling filters for both P and Z series, these are very good but significantly cheaper than Cokin and Lee.

    Cheers

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    I have 1, 2 and 3 stop P-series filters. I use the Chinese Tian Ya ones that are sold on eBay (by lots of sellers) and for a casual photographer, they are fine and are as cheap as chips.

    Note I never use the 2-stop filter.

    I also have a Tian Ya circular polariser for the P-series and it is surprisingly good. As least as good as my Cokin branded one and probably a match for my Hoya.

    The P-series is fine for MFT which I use and also fine for standard lenses and modest wide angle lenses in any cropped sensor camera. If you are going serious wide or full-frame, as Xenedis suggests, I would go for the Z-Pro size even if it means using a double stepping ring/adapter combo to mount it.
    Last edited by peterb666; 14-03-2010 at 9:40am.

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    Member harmo's Avatar
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    Howdy all,

    I bought a set of 1,2,and 3 stop ND filters which work very well. If I had a choice and the benefit of my current knowledge, I would've bought a 2,3,4 stop set instead, but that simply wasn't available. Broadly, I agree with what's said here but I'd never say that the 1 stop filter is useless. Stacking the 2 & 3 stop filters isn't always enough for my very slow shots, and the 1 stop still doubles the effect of the other two. Even though I'd love to get a 4 stop filter, I'd still carry the 1 stop with me because it's helped me more than once.

    Good luck with your purchase! As always, if anyone completely disagrees with me, please feel free to comment or correct me.

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    Member TimCz's Avatar
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    Lee also make a very good holder designed for really wide lenses that screws so the holder actually sits behind the lens. I use it on my 17-40 with my 5dmk2, and previously used it on my 30D with 10-20. Might cost a bit more, but makes a great difference i think - never see the edges of the holder ever.

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    Member gje38752's Avatar
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    Ive looked at the various comments, but I'll add another, it has been said a good quality Cir Polariser can substitute for a ND filter if so could a 2 stop ND filter be fitted as well to increase the effect.

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    Member Caring's Avatar
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    Magenta Cast

    Quote Originally Posted by birdie View Post
    I was looking at buying a full set of Cokin P series filters, 1,2,3 stop solid ND filters, and 1,2,3 stop grad ND filters and case and all, but then someone suggested going to the Z series so i don't have to worry about vignetting...
    I also invested in the Cokin P series a few months back by buying the ND Grad Kit and also an ND8 Neutral Density filter. Much to my horror, stacking any 2 or more Cokin filters resulted in an extreme magenta cast which ruined my sunrise photos.

    In the end, I replaced the filters with Hitech, which have been designed to fit into the Cokin P holder. Whilst these filters also have a colour cast when stacked, the cast is very minor and can be corrected by white balance if necessary.

    Based on my experience, I recommend staying away from Cokin, and looking at other brands such as Singh Ray, Lee or Hitech.

  10. #10
    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caring View Post
    In the end, I replaced the filters with Hitech, which have been designed to fit into the Cokin P holder. Whilst these filters also have a colour cast when stacked, the cast is very minor and can be corrected by white balance if necessary.

    Based on my experience, I recommend staying away from Cokin, and looking at other brands such as Singh Ray, Lee or Hitech.
    I have a mixture of Cokin, HiTech and Tian Ya (the cheap Chinese ones sold by the million on eBay).

    I find that they all give similar levels of purple cast under some type of lighting. The problem seems so start when you get to around 5-stops total.

    My HiTech 8-stopper (2.4) is the worst of the lot. But as I said, it very much depends on the lighting. When there is a bit or red coming into the image (e.g. sunrise or sunset), the purple can go off the scale and theHiTech 8-stopper gives a similar result to stacking my 3-stop Cokin GND with my Tian Ya 3-stop and 2-stop ND filters.

    Lee don't list any filters for the P-series holder. They do 100mm wide (same as Z-Pro) and 75mm for their own holder. The 75mm is meant for rangefinder cameras and compact digital cameras.

    Something I have found with all of these filters is that the edges tend to pick up the light and cause terrible flare which can appear as large sections of mottled milky low contrast splotches. The key is to try and cover the edge of your filters to stop them picking up the light. I piece of card or even your hand if you are not shooting ultra-wide will do the trick.

    As none of these filters are coated, they all suffer from the more conventional reflected bright objects when shooting into the sun, et al. I suspect that if you combine your filters into a single multi-layer bundle using a rubber band to hold them together, there would be less chance of that type of flare. Quite a few people, particularly those that hand-hold, use this method. Me, I cannot hand-hold a grad in the right place long enough without hitting the lens.

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