Cooke Optics Unveils the S8/i Full-Frame Spherical Lenses

With over 100 years of history, Cooke Optics doesn’t need an introduction. The famous Cooke Look is known and loved by many cinematographers around the world. This cinema lens manufacturer has just 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 state-of-the-art 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 hometown 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.

The new Cooke S8/i FF series currently consists of seven focal lengths: 25, 32, 40, 50, 75, 100, and 135mm. However, the company announced that 9 additional lenses will join the set by the end of 2022. The new seven S8/i FF lenses share the same maximum aperture of T1.4 throughout the entire range and a nine-leaf linear module iris assembly. They are designed to cover FF and larger-than-FF sensors. Thus, the fast aperture will allow DOPs to achieve an extremely shallow depth of field and gather tons of photons in low-light situations.

In developing this new series, the Cooke team and Academy Award-winning designer Iain Neil put their main focus on contrast and resolution. According to the company, these lenses will meet the resolution requirements of modern digital cameras for many years to come.

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 /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.

Overall, all lenses feature a compact form factor for what they have to offer. Their weight ranges from 2.1kg for the 50mm to 3.185kg for the 135mm. Moreover, the seven lenses have the same front diameter of 104mm, 270° focus throw, and iris drive gear with 90° excursion. Numerous calibrated and easily-readable focus markings are displayed on each side of the lens. Finally, these S8/i glass seems to be very long-lasting. Indeed, all lenses feature a scratch-resistant PTFE hard-anodized finish that makes them solid and durable.

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.

More info on Cooke’s website.

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