This tutorial will show how to assemble compact and durable DSLR filter carrier solutions. Most commercial DSLR filters come in plastic containers or soft pouches that take up too much space, don’t do a very good job of keeping out dust, and offer limited protection. Since a typical round filter costs over $70 and a set of rectangular Cokin P-Series GND filters costs over $100, finding better solutions becomes a necessity. These are the carriers I currently use. The carrier for round filters was a matter of finding the right items; the Cokin P-Series GND filters required making a DIY carrier.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
Tools needed: Utility knife or scissors
Materials list (depending on shape of filter):
For either round or Cokin P-Series Rectangular filters
(1) 9” x 12” sticky-back white “foamy” sheet
(1) 9” x 12” non sticky-back white “foamy” sheet
For Cokin P-Series Rectangular filters
(1) ½” x 3.5” x 4.5” gift card container
For round filters (all items commercially available)
(1 set) Lens filter stack end caps to fit filters (http://www.adorama.com/Reviews/pwr/product-reviews/Filters/Accessories/Adorama/p/FLSC72-Adorama-Filter-Stack-Caps-72mm.html)
(1) Maxpedition Tactical Can pouch (http://www.maxpedition.com/store/pc/Tactical-Can-Case-7p1338.htm )
Step 2: Round Filter Carrier
One of the best ways to conserve space is to ‘stack’ filters (screw into each other) and place caps on the ends. Lens filter stack caps are made of metal, so they offer the best possible protection for round filters (for example: http://www.adorama.com/Reviews/pwr/product-reviews/Filters/Accessories/Adorama/p/FLSC72-Adorama-Filter-Stack-Caps-72mm.html). Stacking the filters keeps them dust free and because each is marked on the outside edge they can be easily found when needed. To further protect the filter stacks from scratches, I place them in Maxpedition Tactical Can pouches (http://www.maxpedition.com/store/pc/Tactical-Can-Case-7p1338.htm ), color-coded by their functions (close-up filters versus polarizer, vari-ND, etc.) The pouches are well padded, have an outside pocket for temporary storage of an end cap, and they offer compact storage for my larger filters (72mm).
Each stack of three filters uses 25% less space, weighs 15% less and the end caps protect the filters using steel instead of plastic. Because the pouches have attachment straps on the back, they can be attached to the outside of many camera bags to save even more space in the camera bag.
Step 3: DIY Cokin P-Series Rectangular Filter Carrier
The Cokin P-Series rectangular filters can be particularly troublesome because they take up so much space in a camera bag. This solution solves the space problem, weighs less and uses steel instead of plastic for protection – by using a common gift card container.
First I removed the internal foam rubber and then used pliers to flatten the rounded “lip” of the bottom section (to make it easier to insert and remove the filters). I flattened the edges until I got near each the curved corners – I left the curved corners as they were. I then pressed the lid and bottom of the container on the sticky-back sheet of ‘foamy’ to leave impressions on the ‘foamy’. I used the impressions to cutout each piece of ‘foamy’. I removed the stick-back paper and inserted into each section of the container. On the lid I trimmed off an additional 1/8” around the edge of the ‘foamy’ to ensure the bottom section would still close all the way (see photos). I then cut two partitions from the non sticky-back ‘foamy’. The final step was to add labels for each of the graduated neutral density filters.
The last photo shows a side-by-side comparison of the original plastic cases by Cokin and the new filter carrier. The new filter carrier requires 60% less space, weighs 40% less and is made of steel instead of plastic.