David Noton and Joe Cornish discuss grad filters

There’s an interesting series of videos appeared that were produced by Lee Filters with conversation between the revered landscape photographers, Joe Cornish and David Noton. Epsiode 2 sees them discussing the changes digital photography has made in capturing the moment, and why they still use graduated filters. It’s not like the usual manufacturer produced media as there’s no mention of Lee filters, and well worth a view.

Here’s a list of current used graduated filters for sale on PhotographyAttic:

B+W 77mm 502 Grey Grad 25%
Cokin A 120 Gradual Grey 1
Cokin A 122 Gradual Blue 1
Cokin A 123 Gradual Blue 2
Cokin A 124 Gradual Tobacco T1
Cokin A 151 Fog 2
Cokin A 198 Gradual Sunset 2
Cokin P 120 Gradual Grey 1
Cokin P 121 Gradual Grey 2
Cokin P 122 Gradual Blue 1
Cokin P 123 Gradual Blue 2
Cokin P 124 Gradual Tobacco 1
Cokin P 125 Gradual Tobacco 2
Cokin P 198 Gradual Sunset 2
Cokin P 665 Gradual Fluo R2 red
Cromatek G210 Dark Green Graduated Filter
Cromatek G211 Light Yellow Graduated Filter
Cromatek G212 Dark Yellow Graduated Filter
Cromatek G215 Light Sepia Graduated Filter
Hitech Yellow 3 Grad 100 System 94mm
Hoyarex 527 Gradual Y2
Hoyarex 521 Gradual G2
Hoyarex 522 Gradual B2
Hoyarex 523 Gradual T2
Hoyarex 524 Gradual M2
Hoyarex 525 Gradual P2
Hoyarex 526 Gradual E2
Lee 100×150 Pop Red Grad Hard
Tiffen 77mm sunrise grad
Tiffen 77mm blue grad
Unbranded 84mm ND Grad 0.3
Unbranded 84mm Cool Blue Grad 0.3
Unbranded 75mm Square red grad
Unbranded 75mm Square Green Grad
Unbranded 75mm Square blue grad


Why Hoyarex filters are often scratched

The Hoyarex filter system was really good: high quality filters.. Great variety of options in the range. Some glass filters. Solid holder. And a really useful rubber hood. But the Hoyarex System had a big flaw! And that has become evident over the years as more and more filters become scratched.
scratched Hoyarex filter
It’s not due to use either! These scratches occur when the filters are stored in their plastic case. The resin filter catches the edge of the case, which usually bends a bit in the middle. So after being jostled around in a camera bag the rubbing effect causes the resin to mark or scratch. Hoyarex filter case scuffs filter

So here’s a tip to prevent further wear. Buy a packet of lens tissues and wrap one over the filter at the top end that sticks out of the case. Then the filter wont get rubbed. You can use toilet tissue, but a lens tissue is softer and has no fibres that will come off and cause dust problems. tissue placed in Hoyarex filter case

View the entire range of Hoyarex filters here


Hoyarex Skylight 1B filter

The Hoyarex Skylight 1B filter – cat number 011 – is one of the most valuable filters in the Hoyarex range, yet is often overlooked, because its not a special effect filter.
Hoyarex Skylight 1B filter
But this underused filter will do two things to ensure your photography improves.

Firstly, and most importantly, the filter is a lens protector. The Hoyarex system is made so that when a filter is placed in the back slot it removes any possibility of dust reaching the lens. So if the holder is left on with a filter inserted the lens wont get dust falling on the surface or scratches. The skylight is the obvious choice as it has no special effect value. It’s also one of the few filters in the Hoyarex range that’s made from glass so optically very good.
Hoyarex filter in to Holder
But the filter has another use. A skylight filter has a very slight pink tint that has a warming effect when shooting in hazy days, so landscapes can be photographed with slightly more clarity. skylight filter pink tint

Using the filter in the back slot near the lens means there still another slot free for a special effect filter when you want to add a graduated effect, sepia tone or spot for example.  Hoyarex holder screwed on lens  Photographyattic has the Hoyarex 011 Skylight 1B glass filter for sale here


Spot filter effect

An interesting and under used  filters in the Cokin range is the Incolor 061. It’s part of the spot color range, and unlike many of the other colour spot filters this one is very practical and can be used in different ways for different effects. The spot filters with colour can sometime look quite poor if not used well, whereas this one can be adjusted to give a soft focus style effect or a lovely white vignette. This makes it perfect for wedding photography or portraits.

Spot Incolor 062 Filter

The filter is available in Cokin’s A and P series and has a small hole in the centre.  When placed in front of the camera lens the hole either appears small or large, hard edged or soft edged, depending on the lens focal length and aperture used.

To get a large soft edge you should take photos using a longer focal length (around 50-80mm is fine with this filter) and use a wider aperture. If you want a more pronounced circle, use a wider lens and a smaller aperture.

spot incolor 062 texture
The texture on the filter can be made to look white/grey or neutral depending on how parallel it is to the ccd/film…and if light is reflecting on the rear surface.

062 Spot Incolor holeYou could focus lock on the filter so the subject through the hole is blurred and the filter texture sharp. This makes interesting creative shots.

spot incolour 062 in useA longer lens and wider aperture was used here. Notice how soft the edge is and how neutral the filtered area is.

spot incolor 62 softHere the filter was adjusted so the spot was on the face. You can do this if the filter is hand held in front of the camera. The filter was held further away and angled so light reflected on it.

spot incolor 62 softHere’s the filter being used to it’s best. Good choice of aperture and focal length gives a lovely diffused vignette.

spot incolor 062 hardAnother version with a slightly more defined effect. Using the filter like this is great for wedding photography and romantic portraits.

You can buy the filter here: Cokin A series 061 Spot In color Filter


Linear or Circular Polariser?

In the early days of the polarising filter there was just one type – the linear polarizer.  The circular type arrived when the cameras with advanced metering (and later focusing) systems became popular. The Canon T90 and Olympus OM4 both had new advanced TTL metering that would be affected by the way a linear polarising filter worked. So a circular polarising filter had to be used instead.

Later, when autofocus came along, some systems got confused by the affect of the polariser. So, as a rule of thumb, use a linear on old manual and semi automatic cameras and circular on newer modern multi menu models.

If you do have a linear filter and a modern sophisticated digital SLR it will still work, but you may get inconsistent exposures. This is easily rectified by looking on the LCD preview and reshooting with necessary compensation applied.


Understanding Filter Factors

A filter factor is highlighted on many filters as a multiple (or x). It’s simply the amount you need to increase the exposure by to compensate for light absorbed by the particular filter being used.

x2 is a one stop increase
x4 is two stops
x8 is three stops
x16 is four stops

If, for example, you have a x4 orange filter on the lens, the exposure has to be increased by four times – that is two full f/stops or shutter speed increments.

Lets say you have an exposure of f/5.6 (aperture) and 1/125sec (shutter speed) and add the x4 filter. You would either have to adjust the aperture two stops to f/2.8 or the shutter speed two stops to 1/30sec or both one stop so the exposure would be f/4 at 1/60sec.

Fortunately with modern through-the-lens (TTL) metering and automatic cameras the filter factor is taken care of, but you need to make the necessary adjustments when using manual cameras or manual exposure with flash.

To make things a little more complicated, some filters, such as the polariser, have variable exposure factors as you rotate the filter, and others have incremental factors such as 1.3x which makes it hard to adjust if you have an older camera with only full stop increments.


Hoyarex Filter System Guide

Hoyarex filters were arguably the best filter system made. Optically superb, several made from glass, solid filter holder, brilliant adjustable rubber hood for wide or super telephoto, and a useful range of filters.

hoyarex filter system

Hoyarex was a filter system developed by Hoya. Hoya was the big name in optical filters and then French manufacturer Cokin appeared with a system that would revolutionise the filter world.

Hoya reacted fast but not fast enough. Cokin had soon taken hold of the filter market with serious and special effect filters. Photographers were no longer buying one or two filters they were investing in cases full.

The Hoyarex system emulated what Cokin had done, but in our opinion did it better, some filters were glass, others had frames around them so handling was better. The holder was more flexible and had a more versatile lens hood. The filters slotted in more comfortably and the adaptors clipped in easier.

But they were too late and Cokin won the battle. Hoyarex disappeared as quick as they came.

You can still find remnants of the system sold in the second-hand sections of various photographic retailers, and there are many here on PhotographyAttic.

The illustration above shows the filter holder with an adaptor ring (available in sizes from 43mm up to 77mm) and the wonderful rubber Pro hood that clipped on the holder and had a variable extension.

Two filter holder can be clipped together and rotated when special effect filters were inserted.

Here in numeric order is the entire range with links to buy individual used filters at photographyattic.com

Filter model More info Buy
Hoyarex 011 Skylight 1B Skylight 1B Hoyarex 011
Hoyarex 021 UV UV Filters Hoyarex 021
Hoyarex 031 Sepia Hoyarex 031
Hoyarex 041 Yellow Hoyarex 041
Hoyarex 042 Orange Hoyarex 042
Hoyarex 043 Red Hoyarex 043
Hoyarex 044 Green Hoyarex 044
Hoyarex 052 NDx4  ND Filters Hoyarex 052
Hoyarex 061 81 Warm Hoyarex 061
Hoyarex 065 85 Orange Hoyarex 065
Hoyarex 071 82 Blue Hoyarex 071
Hoyarex 075 80 Blue Hoyarex 075
Hoyarex 081 FL-Day Magenta Hoyarex 081
Hoyarex 121 Soft Spot Hoyarex 121
Hoyarex 131 Soft Spot G (Grey) Hoyarex 131
Hoyarex 132 Soft Spot B (Blue) Hoyarex 132
Hoyarex 136 Mist Spot E Hoyarex 136
Hoyarex 138 Mist Spot O Hoyarex 138
Hoyarex 139 Mist Spot R Hoyarex 139
Hoyarex 152 Splitfield Hoyarex 152
Hoyarex 161 Technical Mask Hoyarex 161
Hoyarex 162 Black Plain Mask Hoyarex 162
Hoyarex 171 Vignetter Hoyarex 171
Hoyarex 181 Double Mask Hoyarex 181
Hoyarex 182 Dual Image Hoyarex 182
Hoyarex 212 Fog 2 Hoyarex 212
Hoyarex 216 Fog Half Hoyarex 216
Hoyarex 222 Diffuser 2 Hoyarex 222
Hoyarex 242 Softener (A) Hoyarex 242
Hoyarex 243 Softener (B) Hoyarex 243
Hoyarex 324 Star 4 Hoyarex 324
Hoyarex 326 Star 6 Hoyarex 326
Hoyarex 328 Star 8 Hoyarex 328
Hoyarex 413 Multivision 3 Hoyarex 413
Hoyarex 415 Multivision 5 Hoyarex 415
Hoyarex 521 Gradual G2 Hoyarex 521
Hoyarex 522 Gradual B2 Hoyarex 522
Hoyarex 523 Gradual T2 Hoyarex 523
Hoyarex 524 Gradual M2 Hoyarex 524
Hoyarex 525 Gradual P2 Hoyarex 525
Hoyarex 526 Gradual E2 Hoyarex 526
Hoyarex 527 Gradual Y2 Hoyarex 527
Hoyarex 611 Linear Polariser Hoyarex 611
Hoyarex 621 Circular Polariser Hoyarex 621
Hoyarex 702 Diffraction 2x  Diffraction filters Hoyarex 702
Hoyarex 704 Diffraction 4x Diffraction filters Hoyarex 704
Hoyarex 708 Diffraction 8x Diffraction filters Hoyarex 708
Hoyarex 718 Diffraction 18x Diffraction filters Hoyarex 718
Hoyarex 736 Diffraction 36x Diffraction filters Hoyarex 736
Hoyarex 748 Diffraction 48x Diffraction filters Hoyarex 748
Hoyarex 799 Diffraction Halo Diffraction filters Hoyarex 799
Hoyarex 811 +1 Hoyarex 811
Hoyarex 812 +2 Hoyarex 812
Hoyarex 813 +3 Hoyarex 813
Hoyarex 814 +4 Hoyarex 814
Hoyarex 911 Gelatine Filter Holder Hoyarex 911
Hoyarex 912 Universal holder Hoyarex 912
Hoyarex 921 Lens Shade Hoyarex 921

UV Filter Guide

UV Filter
The Multi-purpose UV is similar to the skylight, absorbing the ultraviolet rays which often make scenic shots hazy and indistinct. Moreover, the UV, especially when used with black & white film, increases contrast, reduces haze and generally improves the “sharpness” of your photographs

Many photographers buy a UV filter for each lens and leave them screwed on to protect the lenses’ front elements.

UV filters are available in round type that screw into the lens in ever size imaginable.

UV Filters available here

They were also made by Hoyarex for their square filter system.

Links to buy
Hoyarex 021 Filter


What is a Neutral Density filter?

The Neutral Density (ND) filter is one of the more useful filters you could include in your collection. Digital image processing can do many things but it can’t reduce the light reaching the film or CCD. That’s the job of the camera’s exposure system and an ND filter throws in a helping hand.

Neutral Density Filter

The name explains its purpose. It’s neutral (in colour) and it has a density (level of opaqueness).

Neutral Density filters come in a range of densities. The basic ND2 has a 2x exposure factor (or one f/stop) and an ND4 has 4x (two f/stops). There’s also an ND8 (8x or three f/stops) and a less common ND64 (64x or six stops).  You can go even further with specialist ND filters such as the Big Stopper from Lee Filters. This one has ten stops light reduction. So a shutter speed of 1/30sec would need to be increased to 30 seconds!

The filter goes over the lens and reduces the light reaching the film by the exposure factor of the filter.

If, for example, you had an exposure of  1/125sec at f/11 and you added an ND8, the shutter speed would reduce to 1/15sec or the aperture would need to be opened to f/4.

The reason to use an ND filter suddenly become obvious. If you want to force a slow shutter speed, for motion blur, or you want the lens at the widest aperture, for shallow depth-of-field, the ND filter can help.

It can also be used in combination with a flash to effectively reduce the guide number for close range photography.

The ND2 is hardly worth bothering with so we’d suggest you’re first ND filter be a ND4.

And another interesting type is the variable ND, like the one illustrated above. These are variable in strength, but, as reviewers have found, tend to cause criss-cross patterned illumination at stronger settings.


What are Wratten filters?

Wratten is a brand name from Kodak used for their series of coloured gelatin correction and conversion filters.

Kodak wratten filters

There’s a wide range – each one identified by its Wratten number.

The filters are very thin so are optically very good, but can be easily damaged

Wratten filters can be held or taped in front of the lens (or flash). Alternatively you can buy a gelatine filter holder for most filter systems for a neater way to attach the filter to the lens. Example include the Hoyarex Gelatine Filter holder and the Cokin P-Series Gelatine Filter Holder

They are also used in the darkroom for colour printing using an enlarger with a filter drawer. Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are available in increments of 5CC. Owners of the Bowens Illumitran and other similar professional slide copiers can use the filters to correct colour casts when copying from one film to another.

Photographers can tape a wratten filter over their flash and have a cancelling one on the lens so anything illuminated by flash will be the correct colour while the background will be the colour introduced by the filter over the lens.