Turn your Cokin filters into gels for your Speedlights

Do you remember the time when you needed to use Cokin filters for your black and white photography? So that you filter the light that gets in your camera? I guess in most cases these filters are forgotten somewhere in your gear drawer. I also have a bunch of Cokin A filters and holders, inherited from another photographer when I started, that I really did not know what to do with them.

Meanwhile I started more seriously with flash photography and started thinking of using gels. these are indispensable pieces of equipment in order to modify the temperature and/or color of your flashes to match other lights or create other effects. My travelling flash, the SB-700, comes with its own gels for fluorescent and incandescent lighting. These are very convenient as they snap on the flash and if you use it with a TTL cable, the camera adjusts the white balance automagically.

Most strobists seem to use the Rosco gels and holder. Once upon a time Rosco would give samples for free to photographers and all you had to do was glue some velcro on the sides and stack them on your flash. Their price is of course low, but what I don’t like is that they are undersized and the plastic card holder is overpriced.

So I decided to make something of my own. For this, I employed my Cokin A filters. They are for sure as good as the Rosco gels, but rigid and larger. So I bent a hard steel wire to make a holder for a Cokin A holder, glued with epoxy two pieces of velcro on each side, and wrapped the whole thing in a velcro loop to make it fit my SB-28 head.

Cokin for Speedlight

I can now attach my Cokin filters on the flash, even stack them if I like for color correction. I actually filed away some of the plastic of the Cokin holder that was needed to attach the lens rings. SinceĀ  will not use this holder on lenses (I have 2-3 more) this is perfectly fine and it leaves the front of the flash uncovered. In the image it might look that the holder reduces the flash area but the overlap is really small. With the SB-700 it is actually zero.

I can also use coloured filters with my white background:

Ligting a background

I guess if you have all those crazy shapes that you used to put in front of your Nikkormat in the 70s you could create even more interesting backgrounds. The fact is that the thing works fine and it looks better than gels to me. It may not be as portable, but I guess I will be able to make a collapsible holder if I need to. Or maybe this is a nice business model for Cokin?

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