I researched a few filter holders in my quest to come up with a decent landscape photography kit that wasn’t too ridiculously expensive. It pretty much came down to the Cokin P and Z-Pro holders, as well as the Lee foundation kit. The Lee seemed very nice but the price with a wide-angle adapter was pushing my budget a bit too much. The Cokin P holder was the cheapest option but I really wanted to avoid any potential vignetting with an ultra-wide angle lens like my new Canon EF-S 10-22mm. I ended up purchasing the Cokin Z-Pro as a combo from 2filter.com with some Hitech graduated neutral density (GND) filters. The combo kit comes with the Z-Pro holder, an adapter ring (you order by size to match your lens filter threads) and one Hitech GND filter of choice. I also added two more GND filters to my order so I have a few selections for different conditions. Below you can see the filter holder adapter ring mounted to a lens (77mm filter size):
The filter holder slides over this adapter and is held on the top and bottom by little plastic push pins. These little pins are a major design flaw which I will get into later. Below you can see the holder mounted on the adapter:
And here is a side view showing all three filter slots mounted:
What I like about the Z-Pro is that it is configurable for 1, 2, or 3 filter slots. The construction is plastic, but seems pretty durable and very lightweight. In the default configuration with three filter slots, I noticed part of the third filter slot becoming slightly visible in the frame at 10mm. I removed the third slot and did not see any vignetting at all. Since I will most likely only use one filter until I get more experience, I removed the second filter slot and then ran into a serious design problem with this filter holder. Those two little pins on the lower part of the filter holder stick out and prevent a filter in the first slot from being pushed down. You need to be able to move the filter up and down to adjust for the horizon. Here you can see a filter mounted in the first slot, and only about a quarter of the shaded portion can cover the lens due to the pins:
While the pins are removable, they are necessary to keep the holder in place on the adapter ring. Eliminating them was not an option. After examining the pins I realized that they could be modified to sit flush and still hold in place. Below you can see my modified pin sitting in front of the unmodified pin. I simply cut off the end so I am left with the groove running the entire length of the pin:
This allows the pin to be pushed flush either way, and still has enough friction to stay put. I rapped the filter holder on a table a few times and the pins didn’t budge. Here you can see the filter holder again, but with the lower two pins sitting flush:
And here you can see the GND filter mounted in the first slot.
As you might notice above, I reinstalled the second filter slot since it does not get in the way at wide angles and I might get some solid neutral density filters in the future to use along with the GND’s. For the price I am pretty happy with what I got, even with the design flaw. The Lee filter holder has a much better design and better construction. Maybe one day I will upgrade, but for now, and for someone just starting out in landscape photography, the Cokin Z-Pro should suit my needs just fine. Now I just need to get out and take some photos!