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Author Topic: Filters - Screw on or not ?  (Read 7374 times)

Haydn1971

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Filters - Screw on or not ?
« on: July 06, 2011, 08:16:32 AM »
Bought myself a handful of Cokin (P) filters last year, along with the holder and respective step rings for my lenses.  I've found the whole system a bit of a pain to use quickly, especially after getting a screw in 10 stop filter last month which is a breeze to use.  Got me thinking about what others used...  Yes, the Cokin system is cheap, I can use any filter on any lens, but what use is a flexible system if you don't actually use it ?

I'm now considering getting a handful of ND/GND screw in filters to join my 10 stop specifically for my current most used "landscape" lens, the 72mm 15-85mm EF-S.  I'm unlikely to be buying loads of lenses in the future, there is a slim likelihood of getting a 77mm 70-200mm (f2.8) at some point, but then I'm not adversed to buying the odd ND specifically for that.

I'm typically using the 0.9 ND or 0.6 GND, 95% of the time I'm using filters, and hardly use the polarising filter.

So, what do others do, use, are screw in GND's a pain, thoughts please ?
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Filters - Screw on or not ?
« on: July 06, 2011, 08:16:32 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2011, 08:38:36 AM »
after getting a screw in 10 stop filter last month which is a breeze to use

Screw-in filters are much more convenient.  One approach is to get filters in the largest size you'll use (perhaps 77mm), then get step-up rings so you can mount them on lenses with smaller diameter threads.  I tried to follow that plan, several of my lenses use a 77mm filter, so I have 77mm ND filters (B+W #103/3-stop and B+W #110/10-stop), and a 77mm Käsemann CPL, and also 67→77mm and 72→77mm step-up rings so I can use the 77mm filters on primes with smaller filter threads.  One caveat is that a step-up ring sometimes precludes the use of a hood (not always - for example, I can put a 77mm filter on my 85L and still mount the hood, but not the 35L or 135L).   But that only goes so far - I have a couple of lenses with 82mm threads, for which I have an 82mm Käsemann CPL, but there are no 10-stop screw-in ND filters as far as I can tell.  Also, for use with the 'holy trinity' primes I generally only need a 3-stop ND for wide open portrait shots outside, so I have just a 72mm B+W ND #103/3-stop for that, so I can use the hood with the 35L and 135L.

So, what do others do, use, are screw in GND's a pain, thoughts please ?

Screw-in graduated filters are just as convenient as any other screw-in filter from a practical standpoint.  However, from an artistic standpoint, I'd recommend staying away from screw-in filters for grad NDs.  The problem is that the dividing line (hard or soft) is smack in the middle of the filter - exactly where you usually don't want to place your horizon line.  So, with a screw-in grad ND, your composition options are more limited than a rectangular filter, where you can slide the dividing line up and down as needed. 

From a convenience standpoint, you can often skip the holder for your grad NDs - assuming a typical use (landscape shot from a tripod), many people simply hand-hold the rectangular filter in front of the lens for the shot.
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motorhead

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2011, 09:02:00 AM »
I use a screw in polarising filter and Cokin GND filters, often at the same time. You are right that its not exactly convenient so I tend to ignore the Cokin filter holder. I set up the polarizing filter for the effect I want, then simply handhold the GND filter close to the lens. That way I can adjust anything quickly should I feel the need.

More often than not I have the camera on a tripod when doing this.

I cannot imagine how a screw-in GND filter will ever be correctly positioned. The whole point is that the filter can be moved up and down and also tilted one way or the other as needed.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 09:05:11 AM by motorhead »

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2011, 10:00:30 AM »
The problem I have with Cokin filters (Split ND) is that you are putting a very cheap piece of plastic infront of a $1500 and up lens, IQ can be significantly diminished.  I use a B&W split ND and while I cannot change where the split occurs, at least the filter is on par with the lens.
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dr croubie

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2011, 10:07:21 AM »
I'm another screw-in user, and i've got the whole range of step up
21-37-52-58-62-72-82 and back down again, for everything from pinhole, lensbaby, niftyfifty, efs15-85 to 250mm f/3.5 Medium Format.
I've only got 2 CPLs, 72 & 58mm to match my efs 15-85 and 70-300nonL at the time (which i've since sold), with all the rings i can use them on any lens, and the rings cost less combined than the 58mm CPL did.

I've checked for size, but haven't bought the ring yet, that i can mount the 72mm CPL via a step ring on my 70-300L with the hood on, but i've also confirmed that i have to screw the step-ring onto the lens *after* putting the hood on, and will have to unscrew it before removing the hood to reverse it for the bag.


sometimes, it does get annoying the time it takes to screw/unscrew filters, last time i was at a zoo i just left the CPL on the whole time, didn't even take it off to go inside, just put up with the loss of light for a few shots (which were only memories, not portraits for enlargement).
but then, i've never used the cokin, can't comment on the time it takes for them, but probably just as long or worse. i'd be heading for cpl (i know you said you don't use them though) and ND in screw-in plus rings, the cokin-for-grad-nd arguement makes a bit of sense, i'll keep in mind i'll have to buy into that system if i ever want to go for them...
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dilbert

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2011, 11:25:14 AM »
As others have mentioned, the circular ND filters limit your choices in how you use them to mask a bright section. For example, I've used ND soft filters to dampen down a single corner (think about 1/8th of the frame) which cannot be done with something that masks an entire half.

In terms of Cokin, you can get higher quality filters from Hitech and Singh-Ray. There may even be others.

The real challenge with filters is that the companies making them are having solvency issues due to the only style now desirable are ND and CPOL.

There are also cost advantages. A new lens with a new screw size costs me the price of the Cokin adapter rather than the price of a new filter.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2011, 11:28:29 AM »
The problem I have with Cokin filters (Split ND) is that you are putting a very cheap piece of plastic infront of a $1500 and up lens, IQ can be significantly diminished.  I use a B&W split ND and while I cannot change where the split occurs, at least the filter is on par with the lens.


You can get better quality rectangular filters.  Lee makes good ones, Singh-Ray probably does too, if you can swallow their hype.  Both Lee and Singh-Ray are resin filters (like Cokin) but much better optical quality. 

Many people aren't aware that Schneider Optics (the parent company of B+W Filters) makes rectangular grad NDs from Schott glass.  They offer a 2-stop (0.6) soft-edge which comes in a nice kit with a two-filter holder and a 77mm adapter ring (B&H link).  The holder will also work with their entire line of 4" wide glass filters (square and 4x5.65", ND, grad ND, Pol, soft focus, color correction, etc.) - that line is known as the MPTV (motion picture television) series - here's the manufacturer link, you can find many of them available from B&H. 
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 11:39:35 AM by neuroanatomist »
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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2011, 11:28:29 AM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2011, 12:21:31 PM »
Thats where the old Hasselblad FC lenses with the bayonet mounting system for lens accessories was convenient.  Just one quick twist on or off.  The paint wears away very quickly though, so a lens looks used before its time.

BTW, the images showing the bayonet were taken with a Hasselblad 60mm Distagon and adapter on my 5D MK II.  I love that smoooooth manual focus.

Unfortunately, my Hasselblad system is going away to raise money for new equipment.




triggermike

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2011, 01:25:33 PM »
I have had, and others have shared a similar experience with, noticable color problems with Cokin ND filters. Their stronger ND's tend to create "purple" color casts. The graduated filters seem better, but the solid ND's are not true ND. Not knocking Cokin overall, or rectangular filter systems, just had poor exoeriences with the solid ND series.

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2011, 12:45:00 AM »
Since I've started using the Cokin Z filters I will never go back to screw ons again.   I have 3 adapters, 58, 77 & 82 which fit every lens I own. 

That being said, I do own a 105mm B+W CP for going on the front of the Cokin Z holder thanks to the Lee adapter.

As someone else mentioned, I've heard the same thing about full Cokins having color issues.   Thankfully I picked up a 3 pack of Lee's Polyester filters, hell, if Joey L uses them on his pimped out Mamiya 645 digital, figured I could too.    That and a set of Cokin 4x6 GND are all I've needed lately.

ronderick

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2011, 05:14:59 AM »
Looks like there's quite a number of people here who uses both kinds of filter types.

In my case, I have the B+W CP filters for screw-ons; on the other hand, for filters I use less often (such as ND or other fancy kinds) I leave it to Cokins. Again, the affordable price encourages you to try out ones you'll probably never think of trying if they're placed at B+W level *shiver*.

I've heard good things about Lee filters, but have yet to see one appear in my office. I won't mind trying it out... but would they fit Cokin filter holders, or would I need to invest $$$ for Lee filter holders?
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motorhead

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2011, 06:16:25 AM »
I know we drifting away from the original question, but I use the Cokin GND filters and have always been happy with the colour rendition. In fact Amateur Photographer did a test of the market a few years ago and every one they tested, from every manufacturer, caused colour casts of one type or another. Cokin were actually the best of the bunch, better than other, more expensive "Gold Standard" filters.

To be frank, any slight colour shift from whatever filter manufacturer,  is easy to correct when post processing.

triggermike

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2011, 10:21:06 AM »
The color rendition issues were with the Cokin solid ND's not the GND's and especially with the 2 and 3 stop versions. We're not talking about a slight variation here - we're talking about a full purple/magenta cast which is not easily addressed in post processing including RAW files. A quick internet search will provide plenty of examples with side-by-side comparisons which demonstrate the issue clearly.
I have many Cokin filters as well as B+W, Hoya, etc. and have no problems with them except these.

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2011, 10:21:06 AM »

JimKarczewski

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2011, 07:28:35 PM »
The Lee are cheap... due to the fact they are polyester.  $99 gets you .3, .6, .9 that fit in the Cokin Z or Lee holder...  which is about $20 cheaper (3 x $41) than the Cokin Z versions...

I occasionally use the full size of my GND for extra stops, but really anticipating the Lee Big Stopper to come back into stock sometime soon.

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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2011, 07:46:58 PM »
I'm going to get kicked to the curb for saying this, but in my opinion graduated neutral density filters are done.  I had a nice set and sold them along with things like the enhancing filter.  Lightroom Tres does the work for you in post-processing without degrading your image with another piece of glass to filter light through.  For polarizers and ND, the two filters I still can't do without, I stick with B+W.  The quality is unbeatable and they will last forever.  The filters are very thin for screw-on, and won't cause any vignetting on the 15-85mm.  NDs are available in a very wide range.  Plus, they come in a plastic box.  Who doesn't love plastic boxes??
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Re: Filters - Screw on or not ?
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2011, 07:46:58 PM »