Doin' The Maths

on December 18, 2015

Nothing in this column is a surprise to anyone reading it - not even to the writer - Oh, sure, the owners of the business have learned to turn on the computer with the latest posting by using a long stick and shielding their eyes while they do it...but they are a cautious lot anyway...

What I am about to suggest may be hot stuff or heresy or hooey - and you can decide which for yourself - but here goes anyway...

The landscape shooters of Western Australia may be doing themselves an injustice - by doing a product an injustice. In particular when they overlook the Cokin range of filters in favour of other systems they might miss out on affordable opportunities.

Okay, it's your money. And if you come in and buy something it becomes our money - feel free to throw dollars at us all day if you wish - no complaints from the cash register side of the counter...but...

The Cokin system of filters has been an established product for longer than most realise - we saw it in the 1970's and it has burgeoned since then. If we remember some pretty horrible uses of the idea in the 70's and 80's...well, everybody has to have a adolescence and wedding and portrait photographers are no exception. I can take the high moral ground here as I never actually made a wedding portrait with the bride and groom in a brandy glass. I contemplated it, but never had the courage to try it.

The modern kit from Cokin that supplies three regular or three neutral density filters as well as a basic filter frame is the bargain of the shop. The filters come in a hard plastic organiser case, the filter holder is sturdy and light, and as it can be adapted onto lenses anywhere from 52mm to 82mm, it can go on the front of most of your glass.

The filters are certainly varied - and good quality. There is a useful, if bewildering, variety of graduated neutral density filters in 4 different sizes - you can accommodate some pretty big lenses. There are blue and amber varieties. There are lots of plain colour filters, if you think that is a help.

And now we address the elephant in the corner of the camera bag...some people have been told... and retell the idea... that the Cokin neutral density filters have a colour bias - in some cases people refer to it as magenta and others find some other tint to complain about. Believe what you will, but consider that nearly every cameras nowadays have a colour correction program built into the WB section of the menu. If you have convinced yourself that you are seeing a magenta colour balance, go in there and dial up a slight green correction. If your camera does not have it in the WB or you don't want to fiddle, crank in a slight green correction in the RAW converter.

And there you go - the aesthetic results you want from a plastic filter system that may be every bit as good as another plastic filter system...but at a fraction of the price.

But don't let me stop you from spending money.

Uncle Dick