Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cokin Must Think We're Stupid

One of the very few complaints about Nikon's great new 14-24mm 2.8G ED super-wide angle zoom lens is that the bulbous front element precludes the use of filters without severe vignetting. Nikon marketed the lens as a great landscape lens, but you couldn't use it with filters. To many landscape photographers, shooting without a filter is not even a consideration.

Enter Cokin, the French filter manufacturer. They have come out with the X-Pro Series Circular Polarizer filter kit to fit the Nikon lens. The kit consists of a X499-N Universal Filter Holder Ring, X-Pro Holder and a #164 Circular Polarizer filter.

Finally, you say. Now I can use filters on my beloved 14-24mm (which by all accounts is one of the best lenses Nikon has ever produced).

Well, not so fast. The Cokin Filter System for the lens retails for a whopping $625. That's right, over $600 for a plastic filter ring and holder. And, get this, the filter system does not -- I repeat -- does not preclude vignetting with an FX camera at any setting below 18mm. So basically, the filter system is only usable at 18mm, 20mm and 24mm on Nikon FX like the D700 or the D3. You can't use it at 14mm or 16mm without vignetting. But, hey, what do you expect for $625 anyway?

Cokin, which is a French company, must think we're morons. Who would pay $625 for a filter system that doesn't even work most of the time? Of course, you won't have this problem on a DX camera. But who buys the 14-24mm for a DX camera (even if it works reasonably well on one, though it's the equivalent of 21-36mm -- hardly super-wide angle across the full length)? It's an FX lens after all.

So let's put this in perspective. To be able to use filters (some of the time) on the Nikon 14-24mm lens, which costs about $1,800, you have to pay an additional $625 -- for a total cost of $2,425.

For that price you could buy a Nikon D300 body and a who slew of filters. Heck, you can probably find a new D700 body for that price if you look hard enough.

(edited to correct equivalent mm in paragraph five. -- D.T.)


Tim said...

I guess this is one of the positive outcomes of having moved to Lee filters last year ;)

Not that I have a d700 or this 14-whatever lens...

Michael said...

"(even if it works reasonably well on one, though it's the equivalent of 24-48mm -- hardly super-wide angle)"

Er, no. 1.5x multipler, not 2x. So it's equivalent to a 16-36, or roughly the same as the venerable 17-35 wide zooms. 16mm certainly qualifies as super-wide-angle on full frame in my book.

Michael said...

Oh my massive failure of mental maths too! 21-36. 21 isn't quite super-wide, I concede.

Perhaps I should give up and get some sleep.

Dean Tomasula said...

Er, you're right. My mistake. Must have had a brain freeze. Thanks for keeping me honest. It's nice to know there are a few people out there reading the blog closely.

Adam said...

I dont see why filters are a big deal with digital post processing? Besides the protective aspect, filters can all be replicated in the post processing.

What a ridiculous product. I own a d700 and 14-24mm, i would laugh if i ever saw that one someones camera.

BTW, i got the d700 for $1600 with the mbd10 and the 14-24mm for $1400 (both used, 1000 actuations and 1 month shooting). its possible!