Review: Tian-Ya gradient filters (Cokin P-series compatible)

I’ve been using an A-series Cokin filter system for years but with the transition to bigger lenses I had to transition to the larger P-series Cokin filter system. Now I’m using the rather slim wide-angle holder P299 to reduce vignetting for shorter focal lengths. I don’t need the possibility to hold more than one filter as I’m only using a single graduated neutral density (GND) filter anyway. Cokin filters are expensive in my country. The P-series filters have a price tag of around 50 US$. They cost half the price on Adorama or B&H but they charge 50 US$ (!) just for shipping the filter to Switzerland.
So I searched on eBay for less expensive soft edged graduated filters and found some P-series compatible filters from a Chinese company called Tian-Ya. The filters were dirt cheap (and so was shipping from Hong Kong) and I ended up buying a 0.9 ND grad filter and a cheesy orange grad filter.

The two filters arrived about a week later. I borrowed an original P-series Cokin 0.9 (3 f-stop) graduated ND filter to compare it to the Tian-Ya filter:

  • The filter casings look similar to the ones Cokin uses.
  • The Tian-Ya filters are a bit thicker than the Cokin P-series filters but apart from that have the same dimensions.
  • Both, the Cokin and the Tian-Ya filters scratch very easily.
  • The Tian-Ya ND filter’s gray color looks very similiar to the Cokin filter although the area where the gray fades out is not perfectly level on the Tian-Ya filter.
  • The Tian-Ya ND filter’s gray color gradient is not well balanced. The dark gray area at the top separates itself from a lighter gray area below which is clearly separable to the naked eye. I was unable to capture this on the filter’s photos though.
  • One filter had a slightly damaged border. This will be covered by the filter holder and doesn’t affect the filter’s performance.

You get what you pay for and compared to the 5-10 times more expensive Cokin filter the graduated Tian-Ya ND filter doesn’t look that bad.

Things look entirely different for the orange graduated filter. The filter itself looks perfectly okay. But when you look through it you see distant objects bulging in a certain area of the acrylic when you move the filter around. Totally unacceptable. That one’s going directly into the trash bin.

Do I recommend Tian-Ya filters? Not really. It seems that Tian-Ya lacks a decent quality control. The filters may be okay if you don’t have any experience with graduated filters and want to gain some initial experience on how to use them before moving to better and more expensive filter equipment.

4 replies on “Review: Tian-Ya gradient filters (Cokin P-series compatible)”

  1. Thanks for the review. I’ve bought a set of Tian-Ya GND filters together with 4 different size of adopters and the frame.

    From my short experience with these, I can say these are not bad for beginners. Before pouring 5-10 times more money into such filters; it’s not a bad idea to try these out. You won’t be disappointed with its results. At the end of the day; the 10 times more expensive filter won’t produce 10 times better result.

  2. Thank you for review. I was deciding to buy or not to buy Tian ya branded filters. Now i know it is better to invest in expensive and quality brands, at least for these filters.

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