Cokin Filters

Orange 029  030  031

Using tungsten film in daylight will produce a bluish cast in the photograph. These filters correspond to the Wratten Series 85. The 85 series will produce natural colors when shooting with tungsten film outdoors. A #85 filter will decrease the color temperature from 5500K to 3400K and produce slightly cooler results than an 85B.

NOTE: Whereas the 85 series is used for tungsten film under daylight conditions, use the 80 series of filters (Blue) when using daylight film under tungsten lighting. 


An 029 (85A) decreases the color temperature from 5500-3100 degrees Kelvin 
An 030 (85B) decreases the color temperature from 5500-3200 degrees Kelvin 
An 031 (85C) decreases the color temperature from 5500-3800 degrees Kelvin 

Center Spot

These filters have a clear spot in the center which has no filter effect. The surrounding area is treated, either colorless with diffuser effect or more or less intensely colored. This means that the subject in the center of the picture is reproduced clearly while the surrounding area  which is often distracting is changed, usually colored or darkened. The main area of use is for portraits.

Filters with 060 numbers are for lenses in the focal length range between 50 and 250 mm, those with reference numbers in the 070's are intended for wide-angle lenses of between 20 and around 40 mm but work best with any lens length.

The transition from subject to background, and also the size of the clear circular area, depend on focal length and aperture. The transition is more gradual when the aperture is opened wider. The circle becomes larger as focal length is increased. The circle becomes larger and less clearly defined if the filter is placed further forward. The distance between your lens and the Center Spot filter can be varied by using the Cokin Modular Hood and a Coupling ring.

Center Spot filters are the perfect solution to the problem of background composition. Whether Surrounding area should be of the same color as the subject or of a contrasting color is a matter of personal taste. When the light source is behind the photographer, the center spot filter appears dense. With backlighting, particularly if the light strikes the filter directly, a soft. And glowing effect is produced. The size of the central area also depends on the groove into which the filter is inserted.

Colored Vaseline

Both the amateur and the devoted art photographer will derive pleasure from these "paints". To produce painting like effects, spread a very thin layer of Vaseline on the Basic Cokin filter (376). The four colors of this set yield innumerable variations. 

Helpful hints: Place the basic filter in the Filter holder. The filter should not be inserted into the rear groove but placed far forward. Apply a very thin layer of Vaseline. As you look through the finder adjust the quantity and color of the Vaseline's  to your liking. And try Elmer's glue. It's not as messy and can be peeled off when your done with it. 

Note: The result does not depend on the thickness of the layer quite the contrary. Vaseline-free areas will preserve a sharp image, so you can experiment with sharp and blurry effects. Vaseline washes off with water so you can reuse the basic filter for other pictures. 

082 Color Diffuser

With this set of metallized films of variable colors (cold and warm) you can create romantic pastel like effects. By simply crumpling the metallic film you increase the diffusion and enhance the effect. To keep part of the image sharp, make one or more holes in the film. 

The best way to use the Cokin Colored Diffusers is to cut out a piece and place it in the gelatin filter holder (194). Or push the whole diffuser between the filter holder and lens hood (255). Lenses of any focal length can be used . The Colored Diffuser may be combined with any other Cokin filter. 


By diffusing highlights, these soft-focus filters create halos of varying intensity, depending on their strength (Cokin Dreams No, 091, 092, 093). They can be combined with any other filter for special creative effects. Try the Diffractor (040) In night photography the Dream filters will provide a soft halo around bright points of light.

Helpful hints: Focusing is tricky. Check the effect through your viewfinder, and see how it changes gradually during focusing. Stopping down the lens reduces the halo and diffusion, gradually changing it into a double Image. Avoid wide-angle lenses, the effect is not very pronounced with lenses less than 40mm. Remember that the halos visible only with light subjects against a dark background. 


101 Close up +1
102 Close up +2
103 Close up +3

This is one of the filters that work great on your digital camera. Close-up lenses are no substitute for macro accessories such as a bellows unit and extension ring, but they do allow you to take close-up shots covering a subject field with the area of half a postcard, taken at a range of down to around 25cm, with a standard lens. Their main advantage; they do not block any light, so they only alter the reproduction ratio and greatly increase the working range of standard and telephoto lenses. For reasons of quality, stopping down to at least f/8 is recommended. 

Graduated filters

120, 121 Gray 
122, 123 Blue 
124, 125 Tobacco 
126, 127 Mauve 
128, 129 Pink 
130, 131 Emerald 
132, 133 Yellow 
150, 151 Fog 

The need for the Cokin Graduated filters, specially designed for color, arose from the advances in color photography, These filters are made in a wide range of compound colors that blend harmoniously into the image. They permit selective color enhancement or modification without changing the subject. Use the Cokin Graduated filters to reduce the excessive brightness range that frequently arises in two parts of the picture, for instance the difference in light between the foreground and the sky in a landscape shot. Color film, especially slide film, has a very limited capacity to cope with this brightness range. With the Graduated filters, you can achieve a more natural rendering of such subjects. Apart from their more technical application, the graduated filters are capable of an infinite number of effects. You're limited only by your imagination. The Graduated filters, like the Cokin Polarizer, should be part of the basic equipment of any photographer who aims for high image quality. 

Principle of the Cokin Graduated filters 

The dense area covers less than half of the filter but can be adjusted vertically and by rotation. In fact, there is no need to split the image into precisely equal parts. The Cokin Graduated filters permit infinitely variable renderings depending on the distance of the filter from the lens, the position of the filter in the holder and the density of the graduated filter used. The effect of a graduated filter is very pronounced when the shot is taken with a super wide-angle lens at a small aperture. The short focal length and large depth of field combine to make the transition to color clear and distinct. Conversely, the effect will be subdued and the transition to color will be subtle when the shot is taken with a telephoto lens at a large aperture, 

Contrast control

With the Graduated filters, you can reduce the brightness range of an excessively contrast image. By subduing bright areas (sky, water, snow, sand), the filters bring the contrasting light within a range that color film emulsions can handle. This is particularly important with super-wide angle lenses 17 to 24mm which cover not only views of great breadth but also of considerable brightness. Consider a landscape. Because of the difference in brightness between sky and foreground, the sky is actually overexposed, and appears colorless and uninteresting. A Cokin Graduated gray filter reduces this difference by bringing out the clouds. A Graduated Blue restores the sky to its natural color, even if it is overcast or if you shoot against the light. Indoors or in town the graduated filters can reduce the intensity of light sources in the picture. They reduce flare and ghost images in the lens and improve subject contrast. Have you noticed that with a flash the foreground is often overexposed? A Graduated gray filter (or two such filters combined) can restore the balance between the main subject and the foreground/background.

Cokin Graduated filters can be combined with each other, either in similar positions or with the densities opposed, to selectively color certain portions of the subject. The pink or tobacco filters, for instance, can enhance sunset effects.

Helpful hints: Carefully adjust the height of the filter in the holder and check the result in the view-finder, stopping down the lens to check depth of field. Check also for vignetting when using the A Series filters with certain ultra-wide-angle lenses. Cokin Graduated Filters can be used in combination with virtually all filters of the Cokin system. Graduated filters can even be combined with each other if the effect of one Filter is not enough.

Using more than one Graduated filter

When using color-print film and using filters to apply special colors to your images, notify your photofinishing agent. Most use computerized printers today and these will try to color-correct to operator input standards, thus possibly removing what you have added.

Gray ND

152 X2
153 X4
154 X8

Neutral Density filters have several uses and offer the possibility to achieve otherwise unachievable results. ND filters appear gray and reduce the amount of light reaching the film. They have no effect on color balance.

They have four main uses:

1. To enable slow shutter speeds to be used, especially with high speed films, to record movement in subjects such as waterfalls, clouds, or cars.

2. To decrease depth of field by allowing wider apertures to be used, which helps separate subjects from their background. 

3. To decrease the effective ISO of high speed film (above ISO 400) and allow it to be used outdoors in bright situations. 

4. To allow cine and video cameras (which have fixed shutter speeds) to film subjects such as snow, sand or other bright scenes which could cause overexposure. 

5. By using a ND over the lens or flash, you can bring it much closer without it overpowering the image.

Cokin 152 (exposure adjustment = approx. 1 stop, reduces ISO 1/2) 
Cokin 153 (exposure adjustment = approx. 2 stops, reduces ISO 1/4) 
Cokin 154 ("P" series only; exposure adjustment = approx. 3 stops, reduces ISO 1/8)

Using Neutral Density Filters With Flash 

Many times we would like to do some macro shots and this requires us to get real close to our subject. Most of the time the light is dim enough to where we have to shoot with maximum aperture and still have long exposure times. The problem here is a very small depth of field. The solution to getting more depth of field when shooting so close is to use flash. But what happens when you find out that the manual says that you have a minimum distance of about 5-6 feet? This is the time to use a neutral density filter on the lens or flash.

To get proper exposure you could leave the flash on automatic and use a 2 stop ND filter (Cokin 153) on the flash to cut the distances in half. If you want to get closer or use an f-stop other than what is available for automatic flash you need to use the manual setting and calculate the flash to subject distance using guide numbers. 

In the manual for your flash there will be a small chart or a single listing with a guide number (in feet) for a particular ASA of film. An example would be the Vivitar 283 has a guide number of 120 (feet) with 100 ASA film. Now with that number and either the f-stop you want to use or the distance required you can find out the other number.

Here are the formulae:



To find an unknown guide number for your flash you will need to do some test exposures and use this formula for the image with the perfect exposure: 


By looking at the information for the Vivitar 283, we find that with 100 ASA film the automatic operating ranges give the closest flash to subject distance of 2 feet in the PURPLE mode at an f-stop of 11. If we would like to use f22 for maximum depth of field, we would need to use the manual setting (full power) and the flash at a distance of just under 5+1/2 feet. 

  120 / 22 = 5.4545454 ( 5.5 feet) 

If we don't have the ability to keep the flash so far away, we need to bring it closer in by using a ND filter to cut down the intensity of the flash exposure. This can be done by putting the filter on the lens or on the flash. It would be better to put it on the flash so that you can have a brighter image in the viewfinder for focusing 

Let's assume you have a flash bracket that allows you to have it about one foot away from your intended subject and your lens can focus on it that close. By now using the distance in the formula we find the required f-stop is 120. The nearest full f-stop to that is f 128 and we don't have that on the lens so we need to cut the flash exposure by 5 stops. We could do this with a P153 and P154 together on the flash or we could use a 2X teleconverter and a P154. This way would give the added magnification without changing your closest focus. Either way your effective f-stop is 128 and the flash to subject distance of one foot will give perfect exposure. 

Back to photography tips main page.
800 Burton Avenue, Suite 107
High Point, NC 27262
336-882-BULB (2852)

Order Line: 800-692-3051
Technical Support Line: 336-882-2854
Fax Line: 336-882-2819

Hours: 8 AM to 4 PM EST Monday through Friday

Sales: Address changes, invoice copies, tracking and delivery confirmation numbers, order status, product availability, payment options, shipping quotes, returns, damage claims

Technical Support: Help finding a product not listed, determining the correct lamp for your application, lamp handling and premature lamp failures

International Orders: Large international orders that require special shipping arrangements and quotes

If you have compliments, complaints, suggestions, or help with areas not listed above please contact:

Ron Miller
General Manager