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Cokin Filters Put Through Their Paces

ePHOTOzine member DouglasR has been testing Cokin filters. Find out more about him and his work here

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Douglas Ritchie, ePz member douglasR is a landscape photographer based in Scotland. He recently got his hands on Cokin filters for a real world test, so we had a chat to him about himself, his work and how he found the filters:

5 Stop ND

Taken using a Cokin 5 stop ND filter, © Douglas Ritchie

Tell us a bit about yourself - how did you get into photography?

I have loved Photography since primary school, my father was a keen photographer and had a darkroom under the stairs. I found it magical developing the film and then printing out black and white prints. I also loved the quality of my father's Rollei cameras, but after being handed some professional Nikon cameras while on a Photographic course at Saint Andrews university I was hooked on Nikon and have been using them now for over 35 years.

 

What attracts you to landscape photography?

My main attraction to landscape photography was through my love of the great outdoors and in hillwalking around Scotland. The west coast of Scotland, in particular, has amazing light.

8 stop

Taken using a Cokin 8 stop ND filter, © Douglas Ritchie

Filters are no doubt a key part of your kit as a landscape photographer. How important are they in getting a good landscape image?

As a Landscape photographer filters are as important as my camera and lenses and as such have to be very high quality, it stands to reason if you buy high-quality optics you will want high-quality filters. Modern software is amazing, but it is still always better to get what you can right in camera.

 

Tell us a bit about the Cokin filters that you've been testing and what they're good for.

I have recently had the good fortune to test 3 of Cokin's new Nuance neutral density filters, the ND 32 (5-stops) ND256 (8-stops) and the ND1024 (10-stops). Neutral density filters are wonderful for many reasons but in particular rivers and waterfalls, giving you perfect shutter speeds for creating movement on flowing water, and long exposure landscapes giving movement in the sky while retaining sharp details such as rocks and trees etc. They are also fantastic for seascapes, even taken in daylight where you can get 60 plus second exposures smoothing out rough seas, getting lovely movement on the clouds which in turn emphasises static details of rocks etc.

The Cokin Nuances range of Neutral Density filters can help tremendously with your Landscape photography, they are extremely well made using German Schott hardened glass with a special new coating process to ensure a uniform result and complete neutrality, free of infrared pollution. I love the way you can stack several filters with no hint of a colour cast.

8 stop plus 3 stop hard grad

Taken using a Cokin 8 stop ND filter plus a 3 stop hard graduated filter, © Douglas Ritchie

How is the handling of the filters?

The filters are very easy to use, they just slide into the Cokin Z pro filter holder and each filter from 5 stops up comes with a dense circle of foam that fits against the filter to stop light ingress during long exposures. If you are using a Cokin hard or soft gradual filter you simply line it up in the filter holder taking your light reading and focus, then slip the Nuance filter in behind and using many readily available apps or printable tables you can work out your exposure for the various densities.

I have found the filters to be very durable in many conditions including exposure to sea salt, mist and rain and are easily wiped clean.

The filters come beautifully packaged in a sturdy fitted box and the filters themselves are in a little padded slip in pouch for carrying in your case or bag.

10 stop plus 3 stop ND grad

Taken using a Cokin 10 stop ND and 2 stop graduated ND filter, © Douglas Ritchie

What would you say are the best features of the filters?

Without doubt, the best features of the new Cokin Nuance filters are their very high quality, durability, complete neutrality and they look and feel great.

I was looking forward to testing the new filters out in the field and very quickly they have become part of my go to filters, the 5 stop and the 8 stop will be used in any of my landscapes with rivers and waterfalls, they can just get you that perfect shutter speed and aperture to get your landscapes looking amazing. The 10 stop is excellent for daytime landscapes and seascapes and can add a real ethereal feel to your images. I heartily recommend the Nuance filters, they are a different class.

10 stop plus 3 stop

Taken using a Cokin 10 stop ND filter and 3 stop graduated ND filter, © Douglas Ritchie

If you could give 3 top tips to a budding landscape photographer, what would they be?

  • Get to really know your camera and learn about which shutter speeds and apertures to use.
  • Use a tripod, this is a must, it slows you down and makes you read the scene more and you can go for maximum quality with low ISO, smaller aperture for depth of field and you can forget about your shutter speed and concentrate on using your filters for amazing images.
  • Shoot at dawn and dusk, that is when the landscape comes alive.

 

Douglas Ritchie - www.caledoniaphotography.com

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Comments


meyeview 11 1.4k 1 United Kingdom
14 Oct 2015 9:43AM
a fantastic set of images.
i will be adding some Nuance filters onto my list for Santa.

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