Off-brand Cokin filters..yay or nay?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Markw, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. Markw

    Markw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi all.

    I think I am going to start getting some use out of my Cokin P filters. I wanted to get some NGrads, some regular Grads, maybe a Cpol. Anyway, this is where my question comes into play. The Cokin Cpol is $75. The knock-offs on ebay are, as usually, significantly cheaper. I was wondering if these would work nearly as well? I have a Quantaray CPOL that works quite well to my standards, and I didnt know if these would work half decently? How about the Grads and Ngrads? These arent quite as expensive, and Ill end up buying the Cokin anyways, I was just wondering about others' viewpoints.

    Thanks for your help.
    Mark
     
  2. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I use a set of three P-series Cokin ND Grads... an ND2, ND4, and ND8... all of which are soft-graduated.

    Thus far, they are the only ND grads I've ever owned, and they've done well enough, I suppose. Since I haven't had the opportunity to use more expensive brands, though, I may just not know what I'm missing.

    There's no question that the Cokin grads do their job. I guess that's to be expected, but many people will try to convince you that cheaper filters are entirely a waste of time... as if the filters themselves can't even function. The Cokins may be cheaper, but they perform alright.

    I find that the ND2 is pretty much useless... the darker portion of the filter is still so light that I can barely realize any gains with it over just shooting the scene without a grad, at all. In fact, I've found that I almost always reach for the ND8 these days and let the ND2 and ND4 collect dust. For what it's worth, I oftentimes wish I had something even darker... though I'm not sure if Cokin makes a darker grad filter than their ND8.

    I have noticed some annoying characteristics when using them, but again, these problems may be inherent even with higher-quality filters that I haven't used yet.

    First of all, they sometimes have a tendency to promote lens flare. It's not always a big issue, but sometimes it does get pretty out-of-control. Second, they scratch really easily. I would recommend that you avoid holding these filters to the front of the lens. It's best to stick with the front-mounting bracket, instead... but sometimes it can be such a pain-in-the-a*s to set up.

    All in all, I'm happy that I bought them. They have served me well throughout a time when I couldn't really afford anything better. However, because they are so susceptible to scratching, they have started to pretty much wear out on me. And, in all honesty, I'm probably not going to buy another set of Cokins... it's time to see what difference quality makes. The Singh-Ray Galen Rowell series of grads have been calling out to me for some time now...
     
  3. Markw

    Markw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for all that!

    The question, though, was that instead of the Cokins, how does everyone think the off-brand filters would work with the Cokin system? Are they a complete waste of time?

    The Singh-Ray series are pretty far and beyond out of my league at the moment. Especially since I have many different filter sizes. This is why I am sticking to the Cokins until I can somehow manage to get all the same size filters (hopefully 77mm).

    Thanks again!
    Mark
     
  4. subscuck

    subscuck No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Have you ever thought about getting only the largest filter you need and using step up rings to use it on smaller diameter lenses? I wouldn't recommend step down rings, as vignetting usually occurs with them, but I always buy the filter to fit my largest lens and use step ups when I use it on a lens with a smaller thread diameter. Makes more fiscal sense then buying a filter for every lens, or trying to buy lenses that all have the same diameter. Something to think about. Like anything else, quality matters, avoid cheap ones.
     
  5. Idahophoto

    Idahophoto TPF Noob!

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    Singh-Ray is the best by far IMO. I have some Hoya and I also like Helopan (I know I misspelled it) B&W is pretty decent as is Tiffen, though of leading brands I think there the worst. I would not use any thing other than them. You may get fair performance from cheaper brand filters but I see no reason why you would want to try. Lenses are a fortune so makes no since why to put a 5 dollar wall mart bought filter on one. Stick with one of the better known brands you never need to guess about there quality.

    As far as Cokin themselves are concerned I only had one Grad from them awhile back and it was pretty good and they have been around awhile so I would think you would be fine.

    Yeah I always go 77mm thread even though I don't own any lenses anymore that uses it. Then I never need to buy more than just the one. but that is for the threaded ones.
     
  6. 786soul

    786soul TPF Noob!

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    I've got a set of Cokin P's: Grad NDs (ND2, ND4, ND8). I'm not sure about quality of the offbrand being worse because I went onto ebay and found a set of three ND filters (ND2, ND4, ND8) in the non grad form. $20 for the set and they work just as well. No complaints about them and saved me a third of the price plus taxes from in store. Mind you these weren't from hong kong, they shipped out of Quebec but $20 for three I thought I'd give it a shot.
     
  7. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow... sorry about that. That's what I get for messin around on the forums in the wee hours of the morning.
     
  8. Markw

    Markw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks. Thats exactly what I was waiting to hear. I just may get some and try them out. Hmm..we'll see. Id love to hear some more opinions too!

    Thanks
    Mark
     
  9. zeandroid

    zeandroid TPF Noob!

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    Mark, how are the filters from ebay working out for you? Can you give us your opinion on those if you did buy them?
     
  10. DerekMellott

    DerekMellott TPF Noob!

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    I bought some cheap ND filters from china and it was a waste of money, at least it wasn't much money. They tint the image too much and I have had a hard time getting the image to look normal in post.
     

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