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Thread: Nd filters and filter holders

  1. #1
    kaneohebud's Avatar
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    Nd filters and filter holders

    I thought I would open a discussion on ND filters. I have been using Cokin filters and a Cokin holder and am becoming more and more dissatisfied with them. The Cokin holder continually falls off the lens (yes, I did screw it on). The graduated ND filter is leaving a noticeable line across the images.

    Seeking comments from users of alternative ND systems. I am thinking seriously about rebuilding my kit.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    Bud - When you say 'falling off the lens', do you mean the adaptor ring is unscrewing, or that the holder is falling off the adaptor ring.

    Is it a 'P' or 'Z' system you have?

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    kaneohebud's Avatar
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    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Bud - When you say 'falling off the lens', do you mean the adaptor ring is unscrewing, or that the holder is falling off the adaptor ring.

    Is it a 'P' or 'Z' system you have?
    Even though I screw it onto the lens, the adapter ring falls off the lens if it is touched at all. I have the "P" system.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    Notwithstanding your dissatisfaction with the quality of the filter itself, the issue of the thread on the ring adaptor not holding onto the lens surely means that it is faulty. I don't wish to be insulting, but is the ring adaptor you are using the correct size for the filter thread of the lens? It's just that I've never heard of this as an issue.

    I suppose the obvious alternative, if you are thinking about changing brands, would be Lee. However, that would be quite a step up in price compared to the Cokin 'P' system.
    Last edited by Donald; 4th October 2012 at 08:37 PM.

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    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    I think there are several topics included here...

    Regardless of brand, graduated ND's have challenges when using them. I've got the Cokin system, both P and A systems if I look back enough years in my box of neglected accessories. I rarely have a situation where the line on a grad works nicely. I live in the mountains and my horizon lines are almost never a straight line. I probably own at least 3 or 4 different grad ND's and haven't used one for at least 10 years. I'm a huge fan of shooting things right in the camera and do very minimal post-processing. However, for those situations where someone might consider grad ND, I'll go ahead and bracket and use (subtle!) HDR. The "inflexible" line is just too undesirable for me.

    Now, the only reason for me use use rectangular filters instead of round is grad ND's. But, since I don't use grad ND's, then I don't have a need for *any* rectangular filters. So, my *current* filters are all round. And by the way, the only filters I use anymore are polarizers, UV (for when I'm in harsh environments) and (heavy/dark!) ND's.

    Being an "all round" guy, I run into that same problem that some of my filters just simply won't thread onto some of my lenses without lots of time carefully screwing and unscrewing (multiple times!) until I can get something to hold. It's really subtle, but the quality of the threads seems to correlate to the quality (and cost) of the filters and lenses.

    So, as you look to "rebuild", I think the key is to get quality filters especially related to the rings (brass, etc.) as much as what's inside the ring.

    With as much power as there is with post-processing, how many filters do we even need anymore. I already mentioned that it's polarizers and ND's for me, plus the occassional protection. How about others? How many filters do we need?

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    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    When I bought my Cokin filters at a Cash Converters thinking they were what every photographer needs along came a sheet of plain glass and some tubes of colour ....that could be the solution of a grad ND which follows the line of the hills or mountains?
    Does the adaptor fall off the lens or does the holder fall off the adaptor ... a new adaptor if the second situation should not break the bank.
    Except for a little play some months ago I have not used my filters in decades.

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    kaneohebud's Avatar
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    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    Donald, yes the adapter is the correct size for the lens. It doesn't unscrew, it just falls off. I guess the quick and easy fix would be to get a new holder.

    I use high quality ($$$) UV filters on all my lenses. And, I use a ($$$) polarizing filter on my 24-105L for landscape work. I've been using the graduated ND for bright skies but I think Dave may be right and I'll give up on them. I think I'll upgrade my 7D to a 5D MK iii that has HDR built in.

    Cheers!

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    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    There are two common brands of filter holder: Cokin & Lee. Putting this "nicely", Cokin are not known for being the "quality" option out of those two. My suggestion is to invest in a Lee foundation kit, with appropriate adaptor rings.

    In terms of the filters themselves, Cokin again have a reputation for being "budget" quality. On the surface, their more expensive up-market cousins like Singh-Ray may appear to be "over-priced for what they are", but the devil is in the detail; low-quality filters typically have a disproportionate response to infra-red wavelengths, resulting in a colour cast that's darn near impossible to completely null in post-processing.

    I use Singh-Ray GND filters exclusively -- and recommend them without hesitation. You generally only need 2 by the way; 3-Stop Hard Edge and 3-Stop Reversed Hard Edge.

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    kaneohebud's Avatar
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    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    Colin:
    Just the info I was looking for. I put all of them on my B&H wish list. Many thanks.

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    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    As I said you need a new adaptor ring of the correct thread for your lens not a new holder. Obviously if it falls off it has not been screwed on properly in the first place.

  11. #11
    kaneohebud's Avatar
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    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    How dumb do you think I am?

  12. #12

    Re: Nd filters and filter holders

    My major problem in using the Grad ND filters is photographing sunsets, the filters have the ability to alter the color of the scene towards the red. I mean extreme RED! Otherwise, in other landscape photography the Grad ND filters work OK. I have gone back to doing the HDR photography using 3 stops of exposure, -1.5, O. +1.5. Which works. I will also use 5 stops of 1 stop difference when I feel this will provide a better photo. Have not had any problem with filter holders or filters coming off the lens. Anyone else experence the same problem of color shift for sunset photos when using the Grad ND filters? Filters are Cokin.

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