Is there any material difference between Cokin and Lee filter systems?

I'm looking for a limited range of filters - ND, Grad ND and Polariser - for use with a Sigma 10-20 Wide angle lens on a Nikon D200, predominantly for landscapes. Which way should I jump and will my choosing (say) a Cokin filter holder rather than a Lee one limit me to using Cokin filters?

Many thanks


  • Thanks for the replies. An update - I've gone for the Cokin Z-Pro system which I believe will allow me to use Lee filters in the future if I wish to. Many thanks to all contributors. Sep 2 '10 at 18:27

I had some Cokin filters earlier, and was thinking of getting some again, mostly ND and effect filters.

The difference between the systems is first of all in the size of the filters. The Lee standard system uses 100 mm filters, while the Cokin P system uses 84 mm filters. The less common Cokin Z-PRO system uses 100 mm filters, so they should be compatible with the Lee system. I have also seen mentioned Lee filters made compatible for the Cokin P system.

From what I have read, Lee filters are higher quality (durable and even in color), but also a lot more expensive. A cokin user had problems with the neutral density filters not being really neutral, however that shouldn't be a big problem if you are using a digital camera, as you can adjust the white balance to compensate for any differences.

For a 10-20 lens you should be careful what holder you get. There are special low-profile holders for wide angle lenses that you might need so that it's not visible in the image.

  • 5
    The color cast of Cokin filter may be an issue on digital as well, especially with graduated filters where only the part of the image that is darkened will get the (typically warmer) shade. Aug 11 '10 at 7:19
  • @Fredrik Mörk: Good point. For a solid ND filter it wouldn't be a problem, bur for a graduated ND filter it would.
    – Guffa
    Aug 11 '10 at 7:45
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    Example: flickr.com/photos/brentbat/2372603825
    – Karel
    Aug 11 '10 at 11:54
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    I can also say from my own experience that Cokin has a strong purple cast, although in some situations it could work in your favor. Just be aware that they are not really neutral.
    – Karel
    Aug 11 '10 at 11:59

To answer your question, Cokin filters are made of plastic, Lee filters are made of glass. That's the material difference.

That being said, I use Cokin filters. I bought them thinking it was a small investment to see if I like the type of filter and I'd upgrade to Lee if necessary, but I didn't find any major issues with the Cokin filters. I've never noticed the color cast problem that was mentioned. The only issue I've had is that the filters get scratched rather easily due to them being plastic. Still, 2 Cokin filters are much cheaper than 1 Lee filter, so I'm sticking with Cokin and just being more careful about keeping them from getting scratched in the future.

  • Can you provide a reference that Lees are glass?
    – Karel
    Aug 11 '10 at 13:10
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    Well, I could provide the reference, I googled before I posted my answer, but a quick double-check on B&H shows that Tiffen makes glass filters for Cokin holders, and Lee makes "resin" filters for their system as well, so I guess I oversimplified by stating that Cokin = plastic, Lee = glass. Thanks for calling me on it so I could correct my info here! Aug 12 '10 at 0:08
  • I googled too, but didn't find anything any good source. Afaik the most used 100x100 GNDs are not glass, but I can be wrong.
    – Karel
    Aug 13 '10 at 9:30
  • Another problem with plastic is that it more easily attracts dust (static charge) than does glass.
    – jwenting
    Feb 28 '11 at 10:36

I use Cokin filters and have been happy with them, though I've read commentary that Lee filters are better, but I can't give specific statements around that and sometimes it can be subjective.

In terms of the holder, I know that Lee and many others either make compatible filters for the Cokin system or they're compatible because the systems are designed to match up, at least for the P series. The upside to the Cokin holders is price, they're quite reasonable and they're perfectly fine in terms of ruggedness.


Here is a good enough Cokin, Lee, others comparison table

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