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Equipment Need some advice on filters

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by smc8788, 8 Aug 2011.

  1. smc8788

    smc8788 Multimodder

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    So I'm looking at getting some graduated ND filters (and possibly some others), but I'm a little confused at all the different options and need some help choosing which ones are right for me. From what I can see there are two main brands, Cokin and Lee, with the latter being quite a bit more expensive. Is there really that much difference between the two or should I just go with the cheaper option? Also, I assume I can just buy any filter holder and use any other brand of filters with it (assuming they are the correct size of course). That brings me to my last question - what size should I buy? Cokin seem to do a range of sizes (A, P, X, Z series), but I'm not sure which would be most suitable for the lens I will be using - mostly a Nikon 12-24mm with a 77mm filter thread.
     
  2. ssR

    ssR Carbon God

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    there are several level of ND filters. the cheaper ones are made of optical resin. the more expensive ones are made of glass

    hitech and cokin are pretty much on the same level and are considered as the cheaper option. they might give you a very slight color cast over the images which is fairly easy to correct in PP

    in the mid range you have LEE filters while the SinghRay are considered as some of the best

    i use lee filter holder with hitech GND filters and the results are more than satistfactory in my eyes

    as for the size of the filters, when using a UWA lens you might wanna stick with Z-pro sized ones. P size might do the trick but can cause vigneting, unless you skip the use of a dedicated holder and just stick the filter directly in front of the lens
     
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  3. whisperwolf

    whisperwolf What's a Dremel?

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    Cokin have a wide angle holder for P type filters, and it works fine with no vignetting on my sigma 10-20 lens with 77mm filter ring. It depends on how seriously you want to take it and how often your going to use them. I picked up a set of kood nd and nd grad p type filters, filter holder, a couple of lens adapter rings and a wallet for less than the a lee grad filter would have cost me. I don't use them that often, they're easier to carry round for me, and I can deal with the colour cast (actually not that strong on the kood ones I bought) quite quickly. However if I loooooooved landscape photography and the early mornings that go with it and wanted the best equipment for the best shots I'd spend the cash on Lee's
     
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  4. outlawaol

    outlawaol Geeked since 1982

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    The P series is also cheaper in regards to the series. The bigger the more pricey they become. I use a P series Cokin set - stepping a high density to a low density gives some very nice results.

    For example;
    [​IMG]

    And
    [​IMG]

    If I recall correctly this was a +2 and a +1 ND Grad filter combo on both shots (I need to look at them again, haven't shot in awhile)

    Anyway, have fun with whatever you get. They are fun and there are some really nice filter colors to play around with too. :)
     
  5. smc8788

    smc8788 Multimodder

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    Thanks for the comments, though to be honest I think the Lee filters are a bit outside of my budget at the moment so I will probably opt for some Cokin/Hitech filters. If I like them or find I'm using them a lot them I will consider investing in some more expensive ones.

    I've just had a look and the Z-pro filters are at least twice as expensive as the P series filters and not much cheaper than the Lee ones, so I think I will take my chances with those. If you don't see any vignetting at 10mm then it should be fine at 12mm (though according to Cokin the P series is suitable for 28mm onwards and the Z-pro series from 20mm onwards, I'm not sure how true that is), and even if there is a little vignetting it's pretty easy to correct in PP. The downside of doing that seems to be that I will only be able to use Cokin filters with a P holder, as that takes 84mm filters instead of the more common 100mm filters that Lee and Hitech sell.

    Oh, and one last question - what would be the most useful filters to invest in first? I was thinking of getting a 0.6 and 0.9 to begin with (though may just see if I can find a set), but I'm not sure whether I should I be going with the soft edge or hard edge ones for landscapes, or do they both have their uses?

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  6. whisperwolf

    whisperwolf What's a Dremel?

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    Formatts hitech do a range of 85mm filters as well as the 100mm, the 85's are compatible with cokin p type from what I remember.
    As to what to get depends on what you are planning on taking shots of. Seascapes -> probably hard edge, mountains and valleys -> soft edge. Personnaly I don't like using hard edge grads, I'm more likely to merge two exposures instead.
     
  7. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    Whipserwolf is correct about the Hitech 85mm filters - they work fine with the Cokin P type filter holder. The Lee filters are the gold standard - they're one of the few manufacturers that make completely neutral ND grad filters. The Cokins tend to have either a magenta or green cast, while some of the earlier Hitechs have a magenta cast.

    I recently bought a set of 85mm Hitech filters for my Panasonic LX3 recently and they were much better than the older Hitech 100mm set I've also got - there's still a slight colour cast, but it's very very minor. Sharpness also seems to be a bit better too (like anything you stick in front of your lens's front element, some filters can cause a loss of resolution but the new Hitech 85s are very good in this respect).
     
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  8. Highland3r

    Highland3r Minimodder

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    Sorry to hijack this thread - A few guys have mentioned the slight cast from the cheaper end of the filters - exactly how noticeable is the cast? i.e would the "average Joe" notice?
     
  9. whisperwolf

    whisperwolf What's a Dremel?

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    It can depend not only on manufacturer, but batch to batch from the same manufacturer, I've not had issues with my grads, but I've had full ND's with very noticeable colour casts giving pink hue to all of the shot picture.
     
  10. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    I've had a few filters that were more noticeable than others and some that only showed their colours in certain lighting conditions (whether the filter is being front, side or back lit). It can be quite difficult to remove the casts, but it depends if that's important to you or not. Like whisperwolf says, different filters from the same manufacturer can have different characteristics from batch to batch... it's really difficult to nail down a specific problem
     
  11. veato

    veato I should be working

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    Obviously the optical quality won't be as good but Kood do P and Z-Pro type filters quite cheaply if you want to experiment.
     
  12. MazzaB

    MazzaB What's a Dremel?

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    Cheap filter holders are a pretty fair way to save a couple of quid. The Cokin p-series wide angle holder holds one filter wheras the normal one holds several - I use the wide angle on my wide lens, but the normal one on my standard zoom so I can use polarizing and ND filters together, AND a filter cap to protect themn from scratches. You can also get a cap to fit onto the filter holder to protect your lens as normal lens covers require the filter ring to be removed.

    I use Cokin p-series ND grads and circular polarised and am delighted with the results. My firiend has Hoya filters and they do a good job for the money. Most amatuers don't need to spend a fortyune on filters! spend it on your glass!
     

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