Cokin X-Pro Filter Rig - Mark II - Nikon 14-24mm

Issues with the original Filter "rig" design

  1. it was too cumbersome trying to to attached the universal ring using the 4 screws to the rig. It was near impossible to get filter holder dead center relative to the lens.

  2. Unless you can get the 4 screws just right, each time, the universal ring will always be off, therefore, the filter holder will not be dead center relative to the lens. I also wanted the filter holder to sit perpendicular to the lens and not leaning slightly forwards or backwards.

  3. I wanted to come up with a solution that I could get my Cokin X-Pro filter system on and off the 14-24mm lens quickly with a minimum of fuss.

Requirements for new “rig” design

Slide the rig backwards or forwards, to minimised vignetting, depending on whether I just want to use a single filter or stack a couple of filters.

Reorient the filter holder, quickly, when going from landscape to portrait mode or vice versa, especially when using ND graduated filters.

The ad-hoc piece of foam I used to stop light leakage through the gap between the rig and the universal adapter was not very elegant. I wanted it to be integrated into the rig, one less item to worry about and less likely to forget when packing for a shoot.

I measured and found that the "rig" was between 1-1.5 mm in diameter larger than the Nikon 14-24mm lens hood. I tried looking for Teflon sheets 1mm in thickness from Clark Rubber and Bunnings without any luck.

Whilst browsing through Eckersley's Arts and Crafts store I came across a piece of A4 acetate sheet, with a thickness of about 0.25 mm, that looked like it might do the job. Since I could not find anything suitable with the required thickness. I figured I could make one by gluing 2-3 strips together to get the required 1.5mm thickness to use as a shim so that the "rig" can slide onto the lens properly and not slip off.


LTC_01310 2x40mm plastic/acetate strips


I cut 2 x 40mm strips and glued them together using some spray adhesive. I left it overnight to set. I then form the strip of acetate into a circle and fitted it into the "rig" and marked the exact length required and cut it to length using a Stanley knife. Next time I would glue the plastic strips one at a time separately.

LTC_01306 Double checking that the strip fits


Next I clean the inside of the "rig" before spraying it with adhesive. I also sprayed a generous coating of adhesive onto the back of acetate strip, waited for a couple of minutes until the adhesive got tacky. I then carefully placed the strip onto the inside of the rig making sure that everything is align before pressing down harder. I again used some low tack masking tape to hold in place whilst the adhesive set overnight.

LTC_01315 low tack masking tape to hold in place overnight


I tried the rig on the lens the next day and and it was a tight fit and in fact too tight as it took me over 20 mins to get the rig off again.



Luckily, I was able to ripped the third strip off and just cut 2x much smaller strips to fit just for the widest part of the rig. The fit is much better as I am now able to slide the rig on and off the lens easily.




Next is to build up the circumference of the rig so that the universal adapter can be mounted directly onto the rig without having to use the 4 screws. I quickly measured the size difference between the rig and the universal adapter. So I needed about an additional 5mm of girth on the rig.



2mm thick medium density foam strip


I used 2 x 40mm acetate strips and adhered them onto the outside of the rig one at a time then taped them up and left it overnight to set. The next day I glued a 40mm of medium density foam strip, cut to length, on top of the acetate strips. I used low tack masking tape to hold it place and left it overnight.


LTC_01350 Medium density foam and acetate strips glued onto the outside of the rig


Next day I glued another strip of 40mm acetate onto the foam. I used low tack masking tape to hold it place and left it overnight to set.




The acetate sheet had a nice combination of rigidity and flexibility. The piece of A4 acetate had grooves on one side and smooth on the other. I chose to glue them on the grooved side so the smooth side will aid the "rig" to slide on and off the lens easier.




By sandwiching the foam between the acetate strips gives it additional mechanical strength and rigidity.

The acetate strip on top of the foam is to make it easier for the universal adapter to slide on as it has less friction than the foam strip. Also when the universal adapter is pushed onto the rig, the "springy" foam should push up against it and provide a tight seal to block out the any light from behind thus preventing it from reaching the filters.




I use my Dremel to trim and shape the foam and acetate to follow the contours of the rig. Remember to let the blade do the cutting and don't apply force on the Dremel to get it to cut faster.


It should take about 20-30 minutes to complete. I also use a miniature rasp file to get rid of any little burrs and rough edges. Also wear safety goggles as there bits of plastic and foam flying around at high speed.



Next I pushed the Cokin X-Pro holder with universal adapter ring attached onto the rig. A nice tight fit with the “springy” foam pushing up against the adapter ring giving it a nice gapless fit to block any stray light from reaching the filters.



Next I slipped the rig with the Cokin X-Pro holder onto my 14-24mm lens. I also made sure that I could slide it backwards and forwards along the lens with ease. This is to minimise vignetting depending on whether I am using 1 or 2 filters.



I then installed my Cokin ND8 Grad filter into the holder and made sure there was no vignetting at 14mm.  This involved taking multiple shots at 14mm and viewing at 100% on my Dell 24” screen to make sure.



If you loosen the brass screws on either side of the holder you can easily rotate the Cokin X-Pro holder. Great for when you are switching from landscape to portrait mode or vice-versa, especially when you are using a ND Grad filter.


Front and side view of the ND8 Grad filter and Cokin X-Pro holder attached to my Nikon D700. Please excuse the mess in the background.


Out on location for testing with his best mate the Canon 5D. If you own the 16-35mm Mk. II lens, you won’t have an issue with the Cokin X-Pro filter holder like I did. Cokin has an 86mm adapter to screw onto the front of this lens.


In this setup I had 2 x filters (Cokin ND4 and ND8 Grad) stacked for testing. I managed to get up to 17mm without vignetting using the 2 x filters. With just a single filter I was able to get 14mm with zero vignetting on my Nikon D700 which is a FX or full frame DSLR.



Here are some examples shots using the Cokin X-Pro filters. The first shot was taken using just the Cokin ND8 Grad filter. The second shot was taken by stacking two filters (Cokin ND4 and ND8 Grad).

Bronte Beach



Details: ISO 200 | 14mm | 10s @ f/22 – Using 1 x Cokin ND8 Grad. filter.

Mona Vale Beach
Details: ISO 200 | 17mm | 2.5s @ f/22 – Stacked Cokin ND4 & ND8 Grad. filters.


Liverpool Photographer Will said...

This is one of the neater solutions I've seen for this 'problem'. What I don't get is if something like this can be created why can't someone manufacture it? My guess would be low potential market, but I'd sure love one. If you fancy making another one up, let me know ;O)

lozzmann said...

Hi Will,

Thanks for your kind comments! Actually, Lee filters are releasing a very elegant solution for the Nikon 14-24mm lens sometime next year.


I am trying to figure out an easier way to make one. The current design is too labour intensive.


djend said...

That's a great solution, and it's really worth paying for.

But as you said, it's very labour intensive and in Singapore where I'm from, it's cheaper to do stuff yourself but there's not much equipment we can rent here.

How's the brainstorming for the easier solution?

I'd love to have one of these. Do let me know if there's plans for another one!


lozzmann said...

Hi Zhenjie,

Thanks for dropping by and taking time to check out my blog. I am in the process of motivating myself to look for a simpler method of making the "rig" for the 14-24mm. I will publish the results here so please check every so often for any progress.

You might be interested to know that Lee is coming out with a filter holder for the Nikon 14-24mm lens.



Javi said...

You made my day, really. That was the push I needed (little one indeed) to buy the 14-24 instead of the 17-35. Thank you SO much for your tutorial, I'll try to follow it :)

lozzmann said...

Hi Javi,

Thanks for stopping by. I am glad you found it useful! You won't regret getting the 14-24mm.

I love this lens very much, it is the most used of all my lenses. However, it is a beast and it is damn heavy but it is so sharp! I mean this thing is sharp at f/2.8.

All the best and please let me know how you go!


Javi said...

Hi Again!
My lens arrived a couple of days ago and I'm doing all the stuff to create the holder :) but I have a question. Is the Universal adapter a must or can be replaced somehow with a larger pipe or something? It's really expensive and I was looking for other solutions

lozzmann said...

Hi Javi,

Without the universal adapter there is no way you can mount the holder onto the "rig". The width of the adapter ring makes it and ideal platform with the required stability for it to sit on the "rig".

How much are they asking for the adapter?

You could look into getting a Cokin X-Pro 105mm adapter without the thread. That might be a cheaper solution.

Otherwise the only other way is to glue the Cokin X-Pro holder onto a lager pipe, as per your suggestion, or directly onto the "rig" if you made it larger. I wouldn't recommend it though.

The other benefit of using Cokin adapters is that you can easily rotate the filter holder from landscape to portrait and back again by just loosening the two thumb screws.


Javi said...

Thank you for your answer. I knew there was a point (rotating and better holding) but I couldn't see it since I've never used square filters before. Knowing that I'll give a try to the adapter and we'll see how it ends up.

At least I've had some fun time DIY-ing.

BTW, I can not be more satisfied with the lens, I don't know how do perform other Nikkor UWAS but this is totally awesome.

I'll post again when I have tangible results :)

lozzmann said...

Hi Javi,

How much is the adapter going to cost you?

I would love to see the finished "rig" if you don't mind.

I am so glad that you love your 14-24mm. Can't wait to see your pics.


Javi said...

Hi again Lawrie!

I'm done with the job this time. The universal ring and the filter holder arrived today (the former from USA, the later from France) so I could finish the project.

I've been looking for your mail to send you a photo of the gadget so as to compare but couldn't found it. If you want it, here goes mine: fjavi.mb @ gmail.com

I've not done an exhaustive testing session but, as far as I've seen, I have no vignetting at all.

If you visit sometime the Basque Country, Spain, you'll have a free-meal if you want ;). I can not be more satisfied with the lens, although I've yet not shoot as much as I want.


P.S: I found a cheap store in France and the rig cost me 35€(+15€shipping).
P.S2: A couple of shots withe the lens here: http://jota.1x.com/gallery/2784 :)

lozzmann said...

Hi Javi,

I checked out your gallery! They are awesome. You have a very good eye. I love the colours you get! You should post on Flickr!

Can't wait to see pics of your project! I've sent you my email details.

Get out there and get more shots with your Nikon 14-24mm!

P.S. What filters are you using?


Anonymous said...

Hi Lawrie,

I almost forgot to reply. I'm still after a filter for 14-24, and it seemed that your solution is the best so far ;)

I'm also at Sydney catching landscapes all the time. I'm in Dee Why area. Are you near there?

Anyway, I can't proceed with the filter because my camera in on repair :( Did you bought your X-pro online? I'm trying to find this on stores in Sydney, it seemed they don't have it...

Have a good day Lawrie.


lozzmann said...

Hi iori,

No I am not that lucky to live on the Northern beaches! I am over in Parramatta.

I got my filters from Nikon on Broadway in Chippendale. Check them out here >> http://nikononbroadway.com/index_files/Page3961.htm

They are the cheapest in Sydney for Cokin stuff.

Lee has started making filters to fit the Cokin X-Pro holder as well.

What happened to your camera?


Anonymous said...

Hi Lawrie,

It's iori again :)

WOW! I didn't know that Nikon on Broadway had this. Unfortunately, they don't show up in Google (or in Shopbot). Some stores offer to order it for you, but I want to see them personally to check.

We're just renting in Dee Why. I was hoping to look at your filter personally before I decide to spend on X-pro... or maybe I can meet you during one of your shoots to have a look :)

Anyway, my camera was hit pretty badly. It has the following:
1. doesn't read CF card!
2. doesn't write on CF card!
3. doesn't show menu
4. doesn't show preview photos
5. doesn't change ISO/QUAL/WB
It's something I myself couldn't find a similar problem over the internet. A friend guessed that it might be one of the boards inside my D700 :( Pretty scary really, but since it's under warranty, I'm alright.

Thanks for the link! It's much appreciated. Have a good day.



Damien said...

great article and well presented. I am jumping into the FX format tonight with the purchase of a D3s. The only outstanding decision I had was whether to go for the 17-35 mm 2.8 of the superior 14-24mm. The issue of the filter was pushing me towards the 17-35. I called lee today to enquire about the upcoming rig that is rumoured. They confirmed that it would be another 6 months away at least.
On a brighter note, you have allowed me to make the decision to go with the 14-24mm based on your results.I think you could make a few Euros if you were to make a few of these ;-)

Thanks again.

lozzmann said...

Hi iori,

Sorry, I totally forgot to reply. Yeah If you want to checkout the Cokin X-Pro holder and filters there is a place in Crows Nest that have them in stock!


This mob specialises in medium format stuff. They are expensive though but he has them in stock.
Give them a call and check them out there and order them from Nikon on Broadway.

If you have no luck. I can always arrange for a coffee and you can check mine out!

The other thing is tha Lee has started making filters for the Cokin X-Pro but they are not cheap.


lozzmann said...

Hi Damien,

I am glad you found the article useful. Congrats on getting the D3s, I just finished reading the very positive review on dpreview.

I am glad you made the right choice and got the 14-24mm. You won't regret it.It is the sharpest lens I have ever used and the details and clarity you get are simply amazing.

Also look into getting the new Lee filters for the Cokin X-Pro holders. They are much better quality than the Cokin ones. I would have gotten the Lee filters if they were around when I got my filter kit! I still might!!

Someone left a message asking if it was okay for them to make and sell the filter rig on ebay! I gave him my blessings but I haven't heard back from them.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lawrie,

How are you? It's been more than a year since I last commented on your blog. I'm iori by the way with my last comment just a few replies up.

Until now, I haven't bought an X-Pro rig and at the time of this writing, Lee starts to distribute their filter/holder for 14-24 :) Do you have any comments on the Lee System?

Again, thank you for a very informative post!

lozzmann said...

Hi Lori,

The Lee filter holder looks really well designed and made. I see that the final product looks different from their earlier design. I think that their filters are far superior than those from Cokin but not cheap. If I had the $$$ I would definitely consider getting one.

They won't be making a polarizer or big stopper for the SW150 so that is something you have to consider.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lawrie,

How are you?

I'm not too sure of getting an SW150. It looks good, but it's definitely pricey here (650AUD!). I maybe going with just the Cokin filter as I'm going for a vacation in NZ this April.

thank you again for your insights. By the way, you know Manny Librodo

lozzmann said...

Hi Lori,

I am well. I wouldn't buy it locally. I'd get it from B&H.


Only $374, we get ripped in Australia! Still be cheaper with shipping then buying it here!

Awesome landscapes in NZ!! Have a good trip!!

Yeah I know of Manny! Love his portraits and colours!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lawrie,

Thanks for the recommendation. Yup, I'm looking at B&H photo right now. But still holds out.

Do you use filters all the time in landscapes? What filters do you usually use. As stated, you can only use 1 filter if you use your 14-24 & 14mm, is this enough or are you feeling that it really needs more NDs. Do you have a gallery where you feature most of your stuff?

I just notice Manny Librodo in your photography links. I'm from the same country he is but haven't met him yet (or even at the time he went to Australia). Thank you for replying again.


lozzmann said...

Hi Lori,

I only seem to use GND filters for sunrise beach shots. I don't normally use them otherwise. Also the Cokin filters have a colour cast which you can get off using WB. I think You really need 4-6 stop GND filters for the Cokin.

You can stacked 2xGND filters safely at about 17mm. I am currently fooling around with a Heliopan 10-stop ND filter on my 16-35mm f/4. I wish that Lee or someone made a 10-stop filter the Cokin X-Pro.

Oh, i forget that i have a link to his gallery! Manny's gallery is awesome.

You can see my stuff on flickr.


Anonymous said...

Dude you are a lifesaver! God Bless you and the others who are not Photosnobs and dont share knowledge!

You just saved my Thesis!

I'll be checking in on your blog from now on!

lozzmann said...


Thanks for dropping by. Everything I've learnt about photography has been from either books or the Internet. It's time to give back and help others starting out.