Cokin Filters Guide

Cokin Filters

Cokin Filter Guide: It’s a Different World Altogether

Traditionally, camera lens filters have been screw-on type filters. The filters are screwed on the top of the lens, and it is ready to use, with the ability for adding more filters on top of the previous one.

While this is a convenient method because we use so many different lenses, we often require a completely new set of filters for different lenses, and it comes out cheaper in the long run.

To avoid this issue, the filter manufacturers are developing square filters, which can be added via adaptor and filter holders easily.

Cokin Expert Kit plus Holder and Rings

One of the popular systems is Cokin System which involves filter holder series and filters based on the widest focal length you intend to use. Therefore, the first step towards using the Cokin system is to identify the camera body or bodies you will be using, and the widest focal length you would be using.

After that, Cokin has three series. These can be deduced from below table:

Cokin System Series

M SeriesL SeriesXL Series
Sensor SizeRecommended Widest Focal LengthRecommended Widest Focal LengthRecommended Widest Focal Length
Full Frame25mm20mm17mm
Micro 4/3rd12mm9mm7mm

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*Credit Image Wex Photo Video

Now the series has been decided; it is about the selection of the filter holder. It is based upon the maximum number of filters you wish to stack-up together, the versatility you require, and the filter size of your lenses. Although there are adaptors and step-up rings to cover some of those factors up.

  1. M Series:

    1. Lightweight but fixed design.
    2. High-impact plastic
    3. Holder holds three filters.
    4. 49mm-82mm filter size range.

  2. L Series:

    1. Lightweight with a Modular design.
    2. Most versatile.
    3. The high-impact plastic that holds up to 3 filters.
    4. 52mm-96mm filter size range.

  3. XL Series:

    1. Lightweight but fixed design.
    2. High-impact plastic.
    3. Holds 2 filters.
    4. 62mm-112mm filter size range.

Cokin Filters Guide_#photoandtips

Filter Adaptors and Step-up Rings

Filter adaptors and step-up rings are how the filter holders are put over the lenses. Considering you have an 82mm filter size and an L series holder, you will need an L series 82mm adaptor to put it over your lens.

If you have two lenses of different filter sizes, all you need are different size adaptors for them, while the filter holders can be the same. Adaptors are low cost, and the main cost is of filters.

Therefore it saves much of the cost following the Cokin system and other similar systems.

I suppose you have a filter size range with a minimum being 62mm, and you have a lens with 49mm filter size – what do you do? There are no adaptors but step-up rings.

These step-up rings first help in stepping up the filter sizes to the necessary value. After that, adaptors and filter holders can be automatically used.

The Types of Filters

Some of the most common types of applications of filters in common photography genres are:

  1. Landscape Photography

Cokin Landscape Kit

Landscape photography is one genre of photography that is exceptionally blessed to have the availability of filters. Many filters affect landscape photography in varying degrees, often coming up with results vastly different and better as compared to ones that would have been without these filters.

a. CPL

CPL or Circular Polarizer filter is perhaps the most critical filters a landscape photographer carries. This helps the landscapes by

  • Making the blues of the skies darker and thus having the white puffy clouds stand out
  • Taking the reflections off the water a bit and giving it a more serene look.

b. ND

ND of Neutral Density filters cut stops of light. This is useful while taking pictures during sunlight and you want to use the slow shutter. A slow shutter helps capture movements of the clouds and water by giving them a motion blur.

Same is the case in case of waterfalls and rivers.

Landscape photographers love the beautiful moving skies and water, and the motion blur and an ND filter are a go-to. ND filter is of two types

  • Constant – which stops consistent stops of light.
  • Variable – in which you can vary the stops of light to cut out.

A constant ND of 2 stops will require you to slow down the shutter two stops while keeping the aperture and ISO same.

c. Graduated ND

Cokin Gradual ND Kit

Graduated Neutral Density filters cut the stops of light in one half of the frame. This helps in getting the exposure of sky and land correct in the same frame in case the skies are overexposed.

The filters of Graduated ND are generally rectangular, thus allowing you extra space to control where the gradation of transparent and translucent part occurs. Translucent part stops light while transparent allows all the light to pass through.

2. Portrait & Studio Photography

ND filters are an amazing addition to a studio photographer’s arsenal. While it is commonly considered that ND filters can be used only outdoors, sometimes in the studio, especially in larger studios, the light can be too much.

To get shallow depth of field in such scenarios, ND filter is of immense value as it helps in cutting down stops of light, and thus allowing a wide open aperture to be used instead of a stopped down the aperture to cut out excess light.

Cokin Filter Systems are a beautiful addition to the filter management because you have to buy the main glass only once, as also the filter holder.

The step-up rings and adaptors are all you will be spending on, and those aren’t really as costly and valuable as the glass – the main part of any filter.



*Credit Image Wex Photo Video

How Do Filters work?

If you’ve ever looked at a professional’s photographs and wondered why they looked so much more realistic, intriguing, or dramatic than your own, the answer: Filters.

Because the human eye and cameras do not respond the same way to all colours, filters are most often used to adjust the colour of light from the scene, so that the shades reproduced on camera correspond to those we see with our eyes.

A colour filter permits light of its colour to pass through and, to varying degrees, absorbs or blocks the light of other colour.


Cokin Filters Guide

Cokin Filters Guide

Nearly all filters, because they reduce the light entering the camera, require a larger aperture or a slower shutter speed than you would use without a filter.

The change, although now frequently given in f-stops, is traditionally specified as a filter factor – a number that indicates how much you must multiply your exposure.

A filter factor of 2, for example, tells you that you must double the amount of light-the equivalent of a one-stop change. A factor of 4 requires four times as much light-the same as a two-stop increase.

When you purchase a filter, be sure it is the same size as the diameter of your lens, adapter or holder.

Cokin Filters Guide

Cokin Filters Guide

Cokin Filters Tips

  • A Cokin Filter System allows you to put different filters on the lens of the camera.
  • Different lenses use different ring sizes for their accessories.
  • Buying a filter on every size for every lens you own can get expensive.
  • This system works by having one holder that attached to many lenses with different ring sizes.
  • You use the same holder, and you switch the ring to fit the lens you want to use.
  • The system will allow you to have different effects on the image.
  • Cokin filter system that can be used with film and digital cameras.
  • With digital cameras, you can see the results right away so you can check as you go.


Cokin Filters Guide_#photoandtips

How to choose your filters


Skylight 1A– Adds warmth to pictures and reduce blue casts in backgrounds or dark areas, where the sky is reflected. It may be left permanently on the lens for protection.

U.V.– This protective filter absorbs ultra-violet rays without affecting colours. Good for black and white films.

Polarizer-Suppreses non metalic reflections, improves contrast.

Yellow– Absorbs ultra-violet and reduce blue and violet rays lighten foliage tones.

Orange– Enhances the sharpness of yellow and red tones and absorbs blue, dramatic effects in landscape with nice sky and strong contrast with blue and yellow.

Red– Absorbs ultra-violet, blue, green and yellow. Perfect for sky and night effects.

Green– Increases contrast in pictures by lightening green subjects.

Yellow-Green– Used for outdoor portraits, adds natural tones by lightening skin.

ND– Allow you to reduce the light if you wish to use larger apertures for smaller depth of field.

The Cokin Creative Filter System has three main components:

  • Filter holder

    Cokin Filters Guide

    Cokin Filters Guide

  • Adapter ring

    Cokin Filters Guide

    Cokin Filters Guide

  • Filter 

    Cokin Filters Guide

    Cokin Filters Guide

There are four different sizes of filters available:

  • A series (small size fitting diameters from 36 to 62) and Hasselblad
  • P series (medium size fitting diameters from 48 to 82)
  • Z-Pro series (large size fitting diameters from 49 to 96)
  • X-Pro series (XL size fitting diameters from 62 to 112)

What are Cokin filters made from?

Cokin filters are manufactured from CR-39 organic glass originally launched for the vision lens industry, CR-39 organic glass boasts several major features: Extra lightweight Highly resistant to shocks, meaning that photographers, videographers and cameramen can handle the filters in complete confidence and safety.

Excellent optical transmission and high compatibility to colouring

For more information on Cokin filters, take a look at the Cokin website and UK Cokin.

See where to buy Cokin filters:







Cokin Creative Filter System

By – Worldview Productions, Jason Edwards checks out the Cokin Creative Filter System and tests the graduated grey filter on a cloudy day at Dove Lake in Tasmania.

Cokin Filter System – What is it?

By – Cameras Direct


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