The World's Thinnest and Lightest Filters: Cokin Pure Harmonie

The World's Thinnest and Lightest Filters: Cokin Pure Harmonie

Cokin has a new line of filters, the Pure Harmonie filters, that offer the lightest and thinnest solution for your lenses. They come in various sizes and promise to be amongst the highest in quality. Now, I've owned some "thin-line" filters before by top European brands and was already impressed by those...so seeing these would intrigue me...

Having compact gear is key to being able to travel light, but I'm not normally worried about the size of my filters for that reason. Instead, I know that the thinner my filters are, the less they're interfering with my gear were it to be unadorned by such pieces of glass that other photographers swear are unnecessary. Well, I'm a student and poor, and a photographer and therefore poorer, and have had filters save the front elements of my couple-thousand-dollar lenses before, so I'm going to go the safe route.

Being the thinnest filters in the world, their not cheap, but they're not as outrageous as I'd have thought, either. And I can be sure that I'll have less light fall-off because of it. The next time I need a filter, I'll definitely be ordering some of these from Amazon. You can get clear UV multicoated ones, circular polarizers, and even a variable neutral density filter for those slow shutter speed shots of water in daylight. Depending on the type of filter, you're looking at anywhere from 3.3mm to 9.5mm and come in anywhere between $43 (37mm UV) and $217 (82mm variable ND).

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11 Comments

JimmySchaefer's picture

I have 2 of these and they are amazing, I've even had other photographers walk up to me and ask why I don't have a filter on, then I take it off and they are like ohhhhhhhh thats crazy!

Adam's picture

Do they feel sturdy to you? The one nice thing about the B+W brass rings are that they feel incredibly solid. And that's one small thing I worry about. But I assume they're not messing a round with a solid (but not outrageous) price...is that true?

Jens Marklund's picture

Not to start a debate, but I feel like way too many people use UV filters. I stopped using them a while back, and I am not going back. The classical argument being that another piece of glass will only make the lens worse (though protecting the front element).

I've done sharpness "tests" with and without filters (even B+W ones) and have noticed quite the difference in sharpness at 100% (and sometimes flare handling). Now I only use a UV filter when going to the beach, or on my 50 mm (cause it's a pain to clean otherwise). I also usually use a hood, so the one time I dropped a lens - the hood just flew off and the lens was fine. I've had one lens at work that actually had a B+W filter on it when dropped, and it bent - so it's now impossible to remove from the filter thread.

I would tend to agree. I also believe Scott Bourne is a big proponent of plastic hoods vs. UV filters, and mentioned that he has also seen more lens scratches because of a UV shattering than what you'd think.

I did similar tests as well. Although I did come to the same conclusion as you, I also noticed a 1.5pt unsharp mask set to about 25 takes care of the difference for most high quality B&W filters and can be stacked on top of whatever regular sharpening you already do in post. In of story, even on jobs where sharpness is of key importance, it still doesn't make enough of an difference. Flare? That's a different story and you just gotta roll with it on that, sometimes it makes a huge difference, other times it doesn't effect anything.  

John MacLean's picture

I've never used a protection filter. Waste of money IMO.

UV filters are 90% useless.  The only time I use them is when the camera is mounted on a moving platform like a car for a video shoot.  

The front element of the lens is the cheapest and easiest to replace.  The marginal loss in performance isn't worth the marginal chance of damage to the cheapest part of a lens.  

 I live on an island. There is sand and dust everywhere, especially at the beach or on savannahs. There is no way I would go without one. It isn't to protect it from a fall, but from getting fine line scratches when it is time to clean the gear.

What does anyone know about the color cast of the ND filters?

My question is if anyone has the variable nd filter and what their opinion is. There is quite a range of prices and quality in variable nd filters and I've been trying to settle on one particular brand in the mid-price range to use for both still and video work.

Zachariah Ishmael's picture

I've heard that Singhray is one of the best when it comes to a variable filter. I prefer either a Lee filter system or B+W filters over a variable system for clarity and color reasons though.