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I'm with you Rocky, I'm weary about buying an N1 unless I can use some kind of filters. One person said the P series wouldn't work on the 24-85 so another option would be the Cokin X series which is very expensive without a wide variety.
I would suggest looking into the LEE type system which is pricey but of unquestioned professional quality. Since the system can be used for 35mm and Medium Format there is all the coverage you could ask for. LEE makes special W/A adapter rings which actually reverse back on themselves to avoid vignetting. The Cokin system is a toy in comparison.
I have the Cokin P and it does not work very well with the 24-85 zoom (vignetting and not as convenience as regular filters). I have a feeling that the Cokin X may not be wide enough for the 17-35mm due to Cokin's filter holder is very thick in general.
I use three Contax PLs for my 17-35, 24-85 and 70-300 (also fits other 72mm C645 lenses). I got them from eBay in new condition with 30% less than the retail price.
Rocky, I don't think you need a PL for your 70-200. I would start with the one that you would the most first and see how things go. Or you may check out the LEE or Cokin X. Generally the quality of square filters are not as good as the regular ones. But they offer better price and a must if you use graduate filters.
Filters should not be a critical consideration to choose N1 or not. I struggled for nearly a year to choose an AF system after using MF for many years. I still believe that N1 is the best choice.
Going back to the PL issue. I actually intend to buy Contax PL and expect to have perfect match with N-lenses. Is there any testing/comparison photos that I can see? I know Contax brand is expensive, but if it's value for money....
For effects other than PL, I tend to use PS to save money. Also, it's not by habbit to use filter effect.
After getting a VS 24-85 I would like to be able to use graduated ND filters for landscapes. I will be using Velvia (the old ISO 50) and I am afraid the contrast between the sky and the desert will be too high.
After reading this thread I am still unsure what the best way to go is. Cokin P has a filter holder for wide angle lenses-- is this the one that gave you vignetting, Albert?
I've used the wide angle P series holder on the 24-85 without problems - just one downside - it only accepts one filter. However, it is a lot cheaper than the Lee system. Alternatively, you could buy the Lee holder and then use the Cokin Z-pro filters which work out cheaper per filter.
You could also hack a P holder and "thin" it so that you don't get vignetting. Also consider if you want a lens hood - both Lee and Cokin make a wide angle bellows hood - but they are expensive.
In terms of a quality comparison - opinion seems to be divided. A number of retailers have said that the Lee filters don't offer much more - although, I have also been told that the Lee ND Filters are more neutral in tone compared to the Cokin.
Thank you very much for your answers! The Lee system seems very tempting, but the truth is I have never been a big-time filter user. I have decided I want to try the graduated ND filters because that is specific a problem I have actually had with slides before--just too wide a contrast range for the film. One filter may be all I need.
Given the difference in price, I think I will try the Cokin P wide angle first and try it. If it does not work with the 24-85 I can still use it with other lenses.
And your point about the hood is well taken. I had not thought about it, but it is clearly an issue...
Juan, I used the Cokin P filter and it did gave me vignetting on the wide end. Although I don't remember if I had my regular UV filter attached also.
I use all Contax filters and some B+W filtes and they are great quility. I have not done any test (to compare image quality with the square filters), but why not use the best for your Zeiss lens, especially when you are shooting slide. They are not cheap, neither is your lens. Off course, your image is priceless.
If you need to use graduate filters, that is a different story. I would go for the Cokin X or the Lee system.
Thanks for your response. It' s really nice to be able to hear other users' first-hand experience.
I don't really use filters very much. In this case, I was trying to get information to address a very specific issue: sometimes I have been unable to get a decent landscape because the sky is too bright. If I expose for the ground to get some detail, the sky is all washed out. I use spot-metering and I bracket, of course, but the truth is that none of the slides has the right balance of shadows and light.
I have read that sometimes you can solve this problem by using a neutral graduated filter that will decrease the exposure of the sky by 2 or 3 stops. I have never tried it, though. So I would prefer to try it without investing a fortune (Lee system = $$$). It may not work, I may not like it...So this is an experiment very limited in scope [and yes, I know that sometimes cheap accessories end up costing an arm and a leg]
In the old controversy of UV filters, now I stand on the side of the non-users (does anyone want to buy my UV filters for the G lenses??). I have a "slim" 82mm B+W polarizer that I have carried in my bag and forgotten about, I keep saying to myself I have to learn how to use it...
By the way, I like your line about lenses price--""Our lenses are expensive--of course, your image is priceless" Someone could use it! ;-)
Right now I use a Contax 645 with the 95mm 35/3.5 Distagon. Finding the right filter holder has always been a challenge for this ultra wide lens with a large diameter. As a result when I use ND grads for landscape shots I normally would handhold it in front of the CPL. By the way I use a Lee ND square format ND grad filter.
It is obviously not as convenient as using a filter holder, but it does the job and best of all I don't have to pay for any filter holder. But remember I do use a tripod all the time when I plan to insert both the CPL and ND grad in front of my lens. Hope this helps.
I thought I should give a follow-up to my question regarding the Cokin P system with the holder for wide-angle lenses: as Albert said, it produces vignetting at 24mm-- even when no other filter is on the lens.
So the Cokin P system is NOT a viable option for the 24-85mm (on a happier note, the ND density filter did what it was supposed to do and allowed me to have the right exposure for the sky-- I will just have to never show the slide and crop the picture when scanning).
Thanks to everybody,