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Matt Grayson explains about three important filters in the Cokin Creative filter system.
Invented by Jean Coquin, a French photographer, the Cokin Creative Filter System has become one of the largest ranges of filter systems available today. They come in various sizes according to the skill level you feel you're at. The A system is for amateurs and consists of smaller filters to fit standard focal lengths. The P system is for professionals and the filters are larger to accommodate wider focal lengths or lenses with a larger front element. These two sizes are widely copied by independent companies so that the systems can be integrated with each other and I think it's a true testament to how popular the systems are. Two newer systems have been introduced from the original concepts called X-Pro and Z-Pro. They're even larger than the P series and are designed for use on medium and large format cameras.
The systems break down into separate parts which sounds annoying when you're buying them but is in fact a very intelligent way of doing things. Attached to the lens is a filter ring which then attaches to an filter holder which you then slide your filter into. The great thing about this is that it means you can simply buy a new filter ring for each lens that has a different filter size. With other filter systems, you have to buy a new filter and if you're looking at a circular polariser, it's a lot of money.
There are many filters available in the Cokin catalogue but we'll cover some of the most important ones you'll need if you're deciding to invest in the system.
Cokin Creative filter system: Graduated filters
The graduated filter is coloured at one end and fades to clear.
Cokin P graduated filters range in price from around £16 to £19 and are available from Warehouse Express here:
Cokin P graduated filters
Cokin Creative filter system: Polariser filters
Polarisers are an important part of photography because they're possibly the only filter that can't be replicated in post-software. They work by cancelling out or allowing polarised light - depending on where the filter is positioned - and if you allow the polarised light to come through, a camera won't record the non-polarised version so the information is generally lost. With a polariser, you can cancel some reflections from water and windows, deepen blue skies and increase saturation on bold colours such as green or red.
Circular polariser filters cut polarised light allowing you to remove reflections on glass and water.
The Cokin P Circular polariser costs £69.99 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Cokin P Circular polariser
Cokin Creative filter system: UV filters
UV filters do little to adjust the image unless using a strong type. Mainly they're there to protect the lens.
There are some possible downsides to using a UV filter such as a loss in quality even though the filter is clear. The quality of the filter will determine how well it performs and remains in the background. The Cokin UV filters aren't screwed into the lens filter thread in the same way other manufacturers do, so you won't get the worry of the lens hood not fitting correctly or possibly vignetting the image if you have a wide lens.
The Cokin P UV filter costs £11.99 from Warehouse Express here:
Cokin P UV filter
Cokin Creative filter system: Summary
The Cokin Creative Filter system is so adaptable to your shooting style, you should be able to get better results almost immediately. The three part system is set up to ensure you get as much value for money as possible
The great thing about using filters is that it takes all the ground work back to the front-line where it was all those years ago in the days of film.
It means you have to think more about your photographs, slow down and take your time to work out what you want to achieve. My advice is to invest in the system, get out and take some photographs. Enjoy seeing what different effects you can create by using the filters in different situations and by merging them together.
For more information, go to the Cokin website here:
Cokin Creative filter system