Cokin filters

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by thefizz, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,130
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Trim, Ireland
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have read on other forums quite a lot that Cokin filters are pretty crap compared to Lee, Hoya etc.

    I only own Cokin filters so I can't compare their quality to other brands.

    What is your experience with Cokin. Surely a coloured piece of plastic is a coloured piece of plastic, how can they differ.

    Peter
     
  2. eric

    eric Member

    Messages:
    1,586
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm with you man. Its all marketing! :smile:
    I used to buy ONLY B+W filters for black and white work. For some reason, I have a bunch of Tiffen and Hoya (yellow green and orange filters) and I cannot tell the difference or which ones I have on what lens. I'm sure Cokin is the same. Take pictures, don't worry.
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The coloured pieces of plastic are much the same. But the grey ones are where you'll see the difference - the Cokin ones just aren't colour neutral when used with colour film!
     
  4. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,130
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Trim, Ireland
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yes I heard that, so for B&W they are pretty much all the same.

    Thanks lads,
    Peter
     
  5. roteague

    roteague Member

    Messages:
    6,671
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Kaneohe, Haw
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have primarily Cokin, but I am going to replace them with the Lee series. I never noticed any problems with color neutrality, even though I shoot almost exclusively Velvia. The reason for swithing to Lee is just to have higher quality equipment.
     
  6. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Here's my story. I posted it on photonet a few years ago and a lot of people who use Cokin filters got enraged. Sorry, but it's my experience.

    Over the years, I have accumulated boxes of filters including several Cokin A filters from when they were first introduced in the 1970s. When I bought new EOS equipment, some of the new lenses took 77mm filters so I also bought several Cokin P filters to save money. I was mainly shooting color at the time and I seldom used filters anyway so the Cokins seemed like a good idea.

    One afternoon, I set up to shoot close-ups of flowers in my backyard garden. I was using a Canon EF 400mm lens with 1.4x Canon Extender. The flowers were in open shade, so I slipped a Cokin 81A equivalent filter over the lens. The image was so distorted through the viewfinder, I thought something was wrong with the lens or extender mounts. I checked everything to be sure and looked again. Still distorted. I took off the filter and everything was sharp. This got my attention. I got all of the Cokin P filters I had and tried holding them in front of the lens. ALL of them produced so much distortion, it was difficult to distinguish the subject matter. So I tried the same thing with the old Cokin A filters and they did the same thing. All of the Cokins looked fine when I looked through them with just my eye.

    I then tried other lenses. On wide angle and normal lenses, there was no effect at all. Starting at about 85mm and up, you could begin to see distortion through the viewfinder. With a 100-300mm Canon zoom lens, every filter went from just barely noticeable distortion at 100mm to causing the lens to fail to autofocus at something over 200mm.

    This was with every single Cokin filter I had. It was a 100% failure rate.

    I later printed some black and white negatives I had shot through Cokin P green and red filters using a Canon 20-35mm zoom. The zoom is pretty darn sharp. The negatives were okay up to 8x10 or a little more but they were definitely soft when enlarged more or cropped.

    I no longer use Cokin filters and I will not use Cokin filters again under any circumstance.

    I subscribed to Outdoor Photographer at the time I discovered the problems with Cokin filters. I remember one issue that had a portfolio by a photographer whose name I no longer recall (my brain has been afflicted with age, sloth and tequila). He was known to make heavy use of Cokin filters in his work. In that article he made the statement to the effect that Cokins worked fine for his photography since he used mainly wide angle lenses but photographers who used the Cokins on long lenses might find their pictures to be somewhat soft. No kidding!

    "The coloured pieces of plastic are much the same," Ole said.

    Not in my experience. I later bought a couple of Singh-Ray graduated ND filters to use in the Cokin P holder. The Singh-Ray's are plastic and look pretty much like the Cokin P grey graduates. The Singh-Rays are as optically perfect as any piece of Schott glass filter but they cost $100 each so they should be. The Cokin grads are cheap and they are optically awful.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I'm wondering if your Cokin filters may have been exposed to heat to cause the distortion.

    I've never used Cokin filters, but in the 1980s, Ambico made a competing product, and I went with the Ambico filters because they were 3x3" and not a proprietary size, so I could use the Ambico bellows shade either with their filters or gels or any other 3x3" filters. They were in the same price range, and are made of the same CR39 resin. I have many of them to this day, and they seem fine. I've tested them against various glass filters for flare and ghosting, and they aren't as good as multicoated filters, but they are as good in this regard as single coated filters and better than uncoated filters.
     
  8. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    David.

    I considered that. But the P-series filters were all essentially new and had seldom even been carried outside and the A-series hadn't been used in many years. Anyway, if they had been damaged by heat, I think it would have been noticeable to the naked eye.

    After I posted the story on pnet, someone posted their experience which pretty much mirrored mine.
     
  9. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

    Messages:
    4,049
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have had problems with some of the Cokins, but not all, the only way I will purchase one is if I can try it on a simular length lens that I will be shooting with, it seems as if for some time, they had some bad quality control problems, which lead to a large amount of them being distored, now the current cokins that I have been purchasing have been fine with no problems at all, but it does seem like they went through a bad period several years ago.

    Dave