Cinema lens manufacturer Cooke Optics has announced a new series of smaller, lighter lenses all with a maximum T1.4 aperture and an imaging circle to cover full frame sensors. The S8/i series will comprise 16 lenses by the end of the year, and unusually 7 of those will be ready for pre-ordering straight away.

To accommodate these new lenses and to allow them to be ready for immediate ordering Cooke has expanded its factory to include a new assembly facility in its home town of Leicester in the UK. The new plant and new assembly staff will make it possible for the company to increase its output of finished products, and to build this new series of lenses without impacting the company’s other lines.

CEO Tim Pugh told DP Review that significant investment from the company’s new owners has made this possible and allowed Cooke to look at the possibility of additional new lines of products. He added that the ability to grind and polish enough elements hadn’t ever been an issue with the time it took orders to be fulfilled, but that the assembly of its lenses, some of which take days to put together by hand, had been the limiting factor in production. Having a year’s worth of orders was nice for the company but not so good for customers he said, and this expansion will help cut waiting times dramatically.

Cooke says the S8/i series lenses all feature completely new optical designs with a target to make them much more compact and lightweight than previous models – while still maintaining a much wider maximum aperture than most of the company’s offerings. The lower weight will make them easier to switch during shooting, and will allow handheld shots in a wider range of situations, Cooke says. The wider aperture combined with the full frame imaging circle offers much more depth-of-field control as well as the ability to work in lower light without pushing gain/ISO too high.

When asked about how focus pullers will feel about working at T1.4 Andy Buckland, the Director of Product Management, explained that focus in these lenses rolls off slowly so minor focus errors won’t be noticed. Regular lenses snap in and out of focus which makes mistakes obvious, but these lenses are designed to be more forgiving. High contrast and relatively low resolution give the impression of high resolution, but skin textures are kept smooth while details such as hair are rendered looking sharp. Buckland also said that as camera sensor resolutions increase and pixels become smaller, transitions from in-focus to out-of-focus become smoother and less ‘digital’ looking. High resolution sensors are better at showing off the ‘organic’ characteristics of these lenses, he said.

The lenses use an all-spherical design, so avoid the issues with busy out-of-focus highlights that can afflict lenses that use aspherical elements. Priority has been given to keeping bokeh clean, clear, and circular in the centre of the frame and elliptical towards the edges of the frame. The designs intend to produce attractive bokeh that creates background detail that doesn’t become such a distraction it draws the viewer’s attention from the subject.

The /i technology built-in to the lenses transmits focus and iris (aperture) data to the camera, and provides the camera with distortion and vignetting maps according to the characteristic of that specific lens as measured in the factory. Motion inertial data is also provided to help animators understand the camera’s movements during filming so that vertical backgrounds and added objects can be made to move in sync with the camera’s viewpoint. To make servicing easier the /i Technology board has been relocated to a more accessible part of the body beneath the mount.

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The first lenses in the series to be released will be 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm and 135mm, which are all available to order now. By the end of the year Cooke will also release 18mm, 21mm, 27mm, 35mm, 65mm, 85mm macro, 180mm, 250mm and 350mm lenses for the lineup.

The Cooke S8/i 32mm lens doesn't look too out of place mounted on the Lumix S1H full frame mirrorless camera. The camera needs an adapter to take the PL-mount lens

The lenses will come in the PL mount, but are small enough that they can sensibly be mounted on mirrorless cameras, such as the Lumix S1H, via an adapter. Each of the new S8/I lenses (25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm) will retail for $34,650, each, while the 135mm will retail for $36,1000.

For more information see the Cooke website.

Press release

Cooke Optics launches S8/i FF spherical lenses for full frame production

New lens series is a state-of-the-art statement for the future

Leicester, UK – 16th March 2022 – Cooke Optics has announced the launch of the S8/i Full Frame (FF) series of seven lenses for full frame production with an all-spherical design and T1.4 throughout, these currently include 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm, and 135mm focal lengths. A further nine lenses will join the range from late 2022.

The S8/i are a cutting edge, state-of-the-art high-speed full frame lenses motivated by feedback from cinematographers wanting to create more realistic and film-like images with spherical lenses for digital motion capture. An evolution of the Cooke Look®, S8/i produces breathtakingly beautiful images with an almost organic feel and a clean bokeh.
To achieve this, Cooke has focussed on optimising the contrast performance for the S8/i. Good resolution is, of course, vital with a modern lens. Crucially, human perception of resolution is tied to contrast, so an observer will perceive a sharp image due to the synergy and balance of both.

Creating film-like images and the Cooke Look®, requires the optimisation of contrast. Cooke’s design team - and Academy Award® winning designer Iain Neill, Chief Optics Advisor at Cooke - undertook a huge study to ensure S8/i’s contrast performance is maximised to suit the actual resolution of digital cameras (today and indeed for many years into the future).

Under the body, S8/i is an all-spherical design which produces a near telecentric output of the light rays which is efficient for sensors. It is characterised by smooth, spherical bokeh and minimal colour fringing, enabling cinematographers to create sensitive and emotional images with a high degree of dimensionality.

FasterWith a maximum aperture of T1.4 across the focal range, the new S8/i FF lenses are amongst the very fastest produced lenses for larger than full frame capture. They also offer greater control over depth of field and flare characteristics, whilst still providing excellent low light performance without graining.LighterCompact and light, agile and easy to use, the new S8/i FF lenses have been created for a wide variety of situations and today’s compact cameras. Being lighter, however, has not compromised strength, durability, or their exceptional image quality.SmarterDesigned from the ground up to incorporate Cooke’s very latest intelligent /i technology, the new S8/i FF lenses include: • /i data focus and iris position• /i motion inertial data• /i maps factory calibrated shading and distortion dataTim Pugh, CEO, Cooke Optics, said, “We are very proud to reveal the new S8/i FF series, built as always with cinematographers in mind. The lenses have been designed and produced in a smart way using an all-spherical design which provides an organic, filmic aesthetic to accompany the latest digital film cameras.”

The S8/i FF series is now available to order in the following focal lengths: 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm, and 135mm.Selected focal lengths will be available to view at BSC Expo in London in March and NAB in Las Vegas and Micro Salon AFC in Paris in April.

Features in production or recently shot with Cooke lenses include: The Water Man, We Are Lady Parts, Mayday, Birds of Paradise, The Sixth Reel, No Loss//No Gain, The Marksman, Fugitive Dreams, Supernova, I Still Breathe, Legacy of Lies, I Know This Much is True, Pinocchio, Onward, Toy Story 4, Birds of Prey: and the Fantabulous Emancipation of Harley Quinn, Motherless Brooklyn, Sweetheart, Vice, Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born, Venom, Call Me By Your Name, Motherless Brooklyn, Stan and Ollie, Darkest Hour, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House. Television shows in production or recently shot with Cooke lenses include: King of Boys: The Return of the King, Star Trek: Discovery, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, Kevin Can F**K Himself, Meet Your Master, Below Zero, Fate: The Winx Saga, Behind Her Eyes, Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar, A Suitable Boy, The Mess You Leave Behind, Flight Attendant, The Chosen, The Great, HALIFAX: Retribution, The Luminaries, Lost in Space, Star Girl, Dead to Me, Save Me Too, Insecure, Dark Crystal, Star Trek: Picard, Peaky Blinders, Osmosis, Top Boy, David Makes Man, Catch-22, The Perfection, Ozark, Gentleman Jack, Free Rein, Skam France, Doctor Who, Fleabag, Kevin (Probably) Save the World, The Crossing, The Crown, Westworld, Poldark, Game of Thrones, Midsomer Murders, Orange is the New Black and Fargo.