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Cokin NX CPL polarizing filter review

Cokin’s NX-Series circular polarizer is designed for use in the all-metal NX-Series Holder

5 Star Rating
Cokin NX CPL filter
(Image: © Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Cokin NX-Series CPL integrates very well into the NX-Series system and it’s great to see that the smart, low-profile aluminum holder is compatible with wide lenses. It also offers a neat means of adjusting the degree of polarization, making the system a little more advanced than some of the competition. Crucially, the NX-Series CPL is very good optically.

Pros

  • +

    Suitable for use on focal lengths down to 16mm

  • +

    Aluminum holder

  • +

    Uses a polarization adjustment wheel

Cons

  • -

    Only compatible with Cokin NX-Series Holder

  • -

    Existing filters require frames

  • -

    Tricky to remove without putting fingerprints on the glass

Cokin first started making photographic filters in 1978 and for a long-time the French manufacturer was the go-to brand for amateur photographers. Nowadays, the early cheesy rainbow and keyhole filters have fallen by the wayside, but the company is still a strong competitor in the filter market. 

Announced in May 2021, the Cokin NX-Series is a new filter system that is compatible with the 100mm square and rectangular filters favored by many enthusiast and professional photographers. It’s also optimized for use with wide-angle lenses with focal lengths as short as 16mm.

Cokin makes the NX-Series Holder from aluminum, so it’s both strong and lightweight. It can also hold the NX-Series CPL filter so that it’s the closest filter to the lens while a metal wheel allows the filter to be rotated.

Cokin sells the NX-Series Holder and CPL filter separately, but they are also available together in a number of kits, including the NX-Series Starter kit which includes 72mm, 77mm and 82mm adapter ring plus a 100x100mm frame and a 100x143.5mm frame for holding Cokin Nuance square or rectangular filters - or other filters of the same size and 2mm thickness. There are also frames available for holding 100-150mm filters from brands such as Lee Filters.

Anti-reflective and anti-fingerprint coatings are applied to help reduce reflections and enable the filter to be kept clean.

The filter is supplied in a smart pouch with a magnetic closure.

Specifications

(Image credit: Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

Size: 100mm

Mount: via Cokin NX-Series Holder

Construction: aluminum and glass

Build and handling

(Image credit: Cokin)

The Schott B270 high resolution mineral glass of the Cokin NX-Series CPL is held within an aluminum frame which is narrower on the side closest to the lens. This enables the filter to be snapped into the NX-Series Holder, you just need to press around the frame to make sure that it’s positioned correctly. With that done, the teeth of the cog-like wheel in the holder fit into the ridges on part of the filter frame, enabling the wheel to drive the filter around and adjust the degree of polarization.

With an NX-Series adapter ring on the lens it’s just a case of pulling back the catch on the Holder and aligning it on the ring before releasing the catch. It creates a pretty secure and snug fit but the holder can still be rotated to angle any graduated filters correctly. 

The wheel mechanism works well and is easier to use from behind the camera than other systems that require you to reach around to use the filter’s adjustment ring.

Removing the NX-Series CPL from the holder is a bit more fiddly than inserting it, but it’s not a major problem, the main issue is avoiding getting fingerprints on the glass.

Performance

(Image credit: Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

Mounting the Cokin NX-Series CPL reduces the exposure by around a stop but there’s no noticeable impact upon image quality so detail levels remain the same. There’s also no sign of vignetting with wide lenses.

Along with the increase in saturation, images appear a little warmer when the filter is in use. In some cases this enhances the image but it may not be to everyone’s taste so a moment’s extra processing may be required.

Verdict

(Image credit: Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

In the past, Lee Filters has often been seen as the filter brand of choice for professional photographers while Cokin was the preserve of amateurs. The Cokin NX-Series system however, seems a bit better thought out than Lee’s Lee100 system and the polarizing filter is easier to fit and remove.

Cokin’s NX-Series Holder is also very well made yet low profile and it offers a slick mechanism for adjusting the degree of polarization.

Read more: 

• Best filter holders
Best ND grad filters
• 
Best polarizing filters
• 
Best neutral density (ND) filters
• 
Best variable ND filters
• 
Best lens protection filters
• 
Best light pollution filters
• 
Best close up filters
• 
Camera filters explained 

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Angela has been testing camera gear from all the major manufacturers since January 2004 and has been Amateur Photographer’s Technical Editor and Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography portfolio (Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-PhotoPractical PhotoshopPhotography Week and Professional Photography magazines, as well as the Digital Camera World and TechRadar websites).