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
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.