Filter Philosophy 101

It is really difficult not to get excited about camera filters.

(…And probably just as difficult to try and explain that excitement to someone who doesn’t really care) But in my case, and more specifically, it is really exciting to get to explore all the possibilities that open up by having a Professional Cinema Grade Camera in such a small package.

When it comes to choosing a filter setup for Epic, I have been concerned with three things:

Getting the best optic quality possible- spending the least amount of money- and carrying the lightest load.

Because I plan on shooting Epic with Nikon glass, I have a very small lens footprint. This allows me to avoid the bulky and expensive pro matte boxes and full size filter systems available for cinema, and to start looking into smaller solutions- hopefully ending up with something far easier to carry along with the Epic in a backpack.


The Cokin series and Lee Filter Holders are a good jumping off point. They are seriously lightweight, and will easily hold a rotating Polarizer and ND filter- my two most commonly used filters.  It should definitely be noted that most filters that fall into this category are resin or “organic glass” (.. plastic) and going cheap on Optic quality doesn’t make much sense in front of an expensive camera. You also loose a lot in filter durability- with the result of swapping a size problem for a sensitivity problem.

Glass is still the best solution, and I have seen Tiffen and Singh Ray filters available for both systems, the only issue being cost.:) But with a good quality set of Tiffen or Singh Ray Filters, I would have no problem committing to the Cokin or Lee filter system- especially for personal use. (I do own a small cache of  Cokin P. filters)

A Bit more:

I have found several interesting options that I am only beginning to hunt down and test out.

Because I had settled on the thicker but higher in quality/durability glass filters, I had to find a system capable of holding them. Keeping my size down, I narrowed my search to 4×4 and 3×3 Filters and Matte Boxes- specifically ones with rotating filter trays. Looks like it is time for Ebay-

A recent Sale I have been keeping my eye on was for this Tiffen Filter Flex 4×4- for $100 dollars.

With hours left on the auction, I offered him $50 for it if no one ended up bidding. Risky, I know. But I consider it Christmas money very well spent. List price at B&H is still $874.95!!? Filters for 4×4 are still considerably more expensive than 3×3, and I may end up just selling or trading it.

The Big Winner:

If you do not shoot much with a wide angle lens, and vignetting is not an issue, Cavision has just come out with what looks to be the best 3×3 Matte Box on the market I have ever seen.

It bears every resemblance to the larger scale professional boxes, it is just built smaller. It clips directly to the lens, or to 15mm or 8mm Rod support, and has two filter trays- one rotating. Exactly in line with my needs. Plus it comes in with a list price of $249.00!!! That meets all three of my criteria for a Filter system. Ordered!

I will review it as soon as I get it in.