Neutral Grads: Cokin vs Singh-Ray

Discussion in 'Nature' started by roland_vink, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. A few years ago I bought a Cokin grey grad filter to try out for landscape
    shots. After having some success with it decided to treat myself to a couple of
    Singh-Ray "Galen Rowell Graduated Neutral Density Filters", which are regarded
    by many as the best on the market. The filters arrived yesterday, I haven't had
    a chance to shoot but inspected them closely and noticed a few things:

    - Reflections from the Cokin are bright and sharp, while those from the
    Singh-Ray are slightly blurred.

    - When looking at the filters at a steep angle, reflections from the Singh-Ray
    are rippled and distorted, the Cokin reflections are flat.

    - Running my eye down the edge of the filter, the Singh-Rays are curved along
    the length while the Cokin is straight.

    Filters should be absolutely parallel and flat otherwise they introduce
    distortions to the image, yet my expensive new Singh-Rays appear to be worse
    than my Cokin. I haven't shot any pictures yet but I'm concerned that my new
    filters are not as they should be. Is that normal for Singh-Ray or do I have duds?
  2. Cokin's aren't neutral which is why they don't call them neutral.
  3. I'm not asking about which is neutral or not. As for Cokins being called "grey" instead of "neutral", it may just be a matter of translation from French. As far as I am concerned, grey is neutral (unless it is warm grey or cool...) The color difference between the Cokin and Singh-Ray not great anyway, similar to the variance between lenses, DSLRs or films. In other words I haven't found it an issue (yet).
    At this stage I am not concerned with the color, but more about the possible lack of quality of the Singh-Ray filter (it's not flat) and the effect on sharpness.
  4. rnt


    Is it possible the Singh-Rays are coated and the Cokins are not? That would account for the difference in reflection.
  5. Both are resin filters, I don't think they are coated. The color and brightness of the reflections is the same, only the Cokin produces a crisper reflection.
  6. 'I haven't shot any pictures yet but I'm concerned that my new filters are not as they should be. Is that normal for Singh-Ray or do I have duds?'
    Hi Roland, it appears you have received damaged goods. Why not call up for an exchange?
    In my experience, it seems Singh-Ray grad NDs are more susceptible to warps and scratches than, say, Lee, which are thicker and more rigid.
    Good luck,
  7. Roland,

    I have owned the Singh-Ray and Hitech neutral density grads and the Cokin gray filters. Singh-Ray is better far and away than either Hitech or Cokin. If you have imperfect filters I would send them back to Singh-Ray. Their customer service is very good and I am sure you will be pleased. Because I am using wide lenses more and more I have become interested in the Lee system of 4X6 filters but for 35mm Cokin p mount I have not seen better than Singh-Ray. When I first started out with Hitechs I was very happy until I had some shots done with Provia that showed magenta edge color and defects where there should not be any. Others on have complained of that very problem with Hitech. The Cokin grey grads are exactly that and should not be expected to perform as well as true neutral density grads. Good luck. Andy
  8. Obviously I don't know how bad yours are, but looking at my Singh-Rays I see a few distortions and the filters are not completely flat. Apparently this has never caused a problem because I tend to scrutinize my slides for sharpness fairly closely. If you are still concerned your only solution of course is to shoot some pictures through them. Be aware that once you scratch the edges by sliding them into a filter holder Singh-Ray may be much more reluctant to take them back unless there is a genuine flaw.

    I will also say that I tend to handle new Singh-Rays very gingerly and am immediately suspicious of any gradation and color differences that I see from my other Singh-Rays. This is often just nervous remorse that comes from spending $100 on a piece of gray resin the size of an index card. Once I use them they are usually fine (exception was when I got a two-stop that was actually 3-stops and had a strong color cast).
  9. Thanks everyone, I'll try a few shots (handheld to prevent damage) to see how they perform. I assume super-wides and super-teles will highlight defects if any are to be found. I'll also contact Singh-Ray to see if my filters are within spec.
  10. hey roland,

    my singh ray (galen rowel ND) is a little warped just from the camera bag.

    never had any problem though with it, mine is fitted for the lee system.

    as stated above singh ray's customer service is excellent.

    if you have concerns just give them a call, they are very helpful and also very easy to talk to.

  11. I am using Singh Ray filters too and they are really great
    I think they are the only one to have a vari-ND
  12. Cokin does call them neutral. I don't know the idea they don't comes from. I have old cokin filters and they're also called neutral. Doesn't mean they are though.
  13. Hi Rowland,
    What was the result of your Singh filter concerns?

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