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Cooke factory tour 2020 by Jon Fauer


Andrew Reid

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On 5/23/2020 at 8:05 PM, BrooklynDan said:

Speaking of Lomos, there's a guy who did a group buy on Reduser for newly manufactured front elements for the 35mm Squarefront. Once he got enough people to commit, he got a Russian lens factory to do a run. He was quoting around $2000 a piece. Now let's say that you wanted to mass produce Lomos again. The squarefront has four cylindrical elements in 2 groups. Let's figure $1,500 per element since the higher the number, the lower the piece. That's $6K just in anamorphic glass. Add another grand for a simple spherical group in the back. The original was a copy of a Zeiss Distagon. Plus a rugged housing with synchronized dual focus mechanics in PL mount. Van Diemen Optics quotes 6300 pounds for a squarefront housing. Let's just call it $4K which is the lowest conceivable sum for a sturdy lens barrel with two different focus movements. That's $11,000 for a brand new Lomo Squarefront, and I'm being extremely conservative here. And you're still getting a lens with poor close focus, severe breathing, mumping and considerable falloff on the sides. Multiply by three for a complete set of 35mm, 50mm and 80mm lenses and that's $33,000. Now how much is a set of used Squarefronts these days?

The economics of anamorphic at work.

Have you noticed a trend among which demographics rent what? Are people in their 20s renting different gear than people in their 30s and 40s?

I read an interesting post here:

https://cinematography.com/index.php?/topic/77500-the-lost-history-of-cooke-lenses/&do=findComment&comment=529738

One comment that surprised me is the mention of the lack of chromatic aberration in Cooke S2s. Those are a mess otherwise, but apparently pretty clean as regards CA.

Also in a comparison of Nikon's first and most recent 50mm F mount primes, you can see the earlier prime has far less CA:

https://www.lenstip.com/117.5-article-50_years_of_Nikon_F-mount_–_Nikkor-S_5_cm_f_2_vs._Nikkor_AF_50_mm_f_1.8D_Chromatic_aberration.html

Has there been a change in design philosophy? I recently compared Nikon's earliest 28mm f2 with Canon's 28mm f1.8 and Nikkon's earliest 85mm f1.8 with Canon's current one and the older lenses are softer but appear to have less purple fringing but also less bokeh fringing. "Harsher" bokeh but more color neutral. I know the Zeiss Otus lenses are near-apochromatic, so it's not all modern designs that are worse here, but it feels like a change in design philosophy. Is this a thing or a coincidence?

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On 5/24/2020 at 8:22 PM, Andrew Reid said:

With computational photography, the look can be faked quite well even on an iPhone camera. So I am wondering in the future if AI will make anamorphic optics obsolete and we'll all be shooting spherical with a depth map.

Until then better keep hold of my vintage glass by the sounds of it :)

It's difficult to tell if it will or not.  The fact it's implemented in commercial products is a good sign that it's possible and someone thought it had enough value to implement, but one of the main challenges would be the parallax error between a depth pixel and a light-sensing pixel.  IIRC at the moment the depth camera is separate to the optical camera, so that's a big problem, but may be almost eliminated once we start seeing sensors with both sets of pixels on the sensor, similar to how we have PDAF pixels embedded on sensors now.

Ultimately they'll still have a problem with fine detail and things like flyaways on a backlit portrait, but those will get better with AI and with more pixels and less distance between the optical and depth pixels.

I wouldn't hold your breath or sell your vintage glass though! :) 

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