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Andrew Reid

Cooke Panchro/i PL Cinema Lenses - first look

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So I’ve invested in three Cooke Panchro / i PL lenses which I plan to use via PL adapters to E-mount and Micro Four Thirds in my own filmmaking, especially for an as-yet to be revealed 4K camera I plan to shoot with in Asia in the coming months.

Cool :) So you teamed up with either Sony or Panasonic... Curious :)

 

I saw the Cooke lenses on your Facebook, was a bit surprised. It's probably a boatload of money. I'd like to see some comparisons, I really wonder what the actual differences are.

 

 


For me, the lenses appear to do something different at the micro-contrast level, to give extremely high resolution but without the clinical hyper-sharpness you get with other sharp lenses.

micro-contrast, also quite a buzz word in photograhy when talking about zeiss lenses. When image editing / grading comes into play, how important and how noticeable is this? Sometimes it reminds me of those $10000 gold plated diamond hdmi cables... :)

 

Don't mean to criticize, just very curious to see this compared to 'normal' glass.

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.....this is my dream of dreaaamy lens...it is known that cooke lenses make the skin tones agreeable.. basicaly it makes actors look Good!

example, i was watching "true blood" and thinking how the actress playing Sookie Anna Paquin is not that "beautiful"

i thought well they are using some kind of magic lens here, so i look it up in imbd, and voila they are shooting all cooke lenses and angenieux...it really compliments actors

if you do any tests use real people and skin tones! and i hope the next lenses are angenieux.... :wub:

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Andrew I really like your blog and I don't want to come across like a d**k, but I've been wanting to ask you something for a while now and with this article I feel I have to. It's a genuine, respectful question - it's not intended to be confrontational:

 

Do you need to reevaluate what EOSHD is about?

 

From where I'm standing - admittedly the very bottom of the pile - some of the 'guiding principles' seem to be loosing prominence.

 

From 'About EOSHD':

One of the guiding principals of EOSHD is that nobody should be blocked from practicing their art and executing their talent as a cinematographer or filmmaker due to the cost of equipment. All the equipment I recommend on the blog has to be accessible for nearly everyone. EOSHD is about getting the most out of consumer or prosumer level technology – professional quality images but far more accessible for artists.

I know you're not recommending the Cooke lenses, and that your intention is partly to use them for comparison, but still - Cooke and the above just don't go together. TBH I was also a little surprised at how enthusiastically you've jumped on the (GH?)4K 'evolution'.

 

 

Which leads me to a slightly more delicate question ...

 

From the EOSHD Legal Disclaimer:

EOSHD.com is not affiliated, associated in any way with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, RED, RED.com, DVXUser, REDUser, Landmine Media or any other company, individual, organisation, group, government, country, religion or entity of any kind.

 

If this seems out of order I apologise, but I come to this blog believing I know where you're coming from. Does the above still hold true? Associated is a pretty broad and loose term.

 

I'm not intending to criticise you - obviously it's natural that you move onward and upward. I'd just like to get a clearer picture of where you're coming from, or perhaps where you think EOSHD is going.

 

I think it's changing.

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Andrew I really like your blog and I don't want to come across like a d**k, but I've been wanting to ask you something for a while now and with this article I feel I have to. It's a genuine, respectful question - it's not intended to be confrontational:

 

Do you need to reevaluate what EOSHD is about?

 

From where I'm standing - admittedly the very bottom of the pile - some of the 'guiding principles' seem to be rapidly loosing prominence.

 

From 'About EOSHD':

I know you're not recommending the Cooke lenses, and that your intention is partly to use them for comparison, but still - Cooke and the above just don't go together. TBH I was also a little surprised at how enthusiastically you've jumped on the (GH?)4K 'evolution'. Which leads me to a slightly more delicate question ...

 

From the EOSHD Legal Disclaimer:

If this seems out of order I apologise, but I come to this blog believing I know where you're coming from. Does the above still hold true? Associated is a pretty broad and loose term.

 

I'm not intending to criticise you - obviously it's natural that you move onward and upward. I'd just like to get a clearer picture of where you're coming from, or perhaps where you think EOSHD is going.

 

I think it's changing.

 

I don't know, I see plenty of prosumer gear reviewed still. I think you've got to remember that everybody here is a gear-head. So if you've got a chance to get your hands on something really interesting and give it a whirl, it's hard to say no.

 

 I don't think this takes away from the fact that most of the equipment reviewed here is clearly within reach of the low(er) budget prosumer sort.

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From the unofficial Cooke owners club at NAB:  " We did some very critical tests with Leica Summilux-C lenses, Zeiss Master Primes, and the Cooke 5/i. We put them on digital cameras, looked at how much resolution they had. We looked for color fringing and many things, like distortion, and so on. They all looked very good.

We tested with the same lens projector we do for film. The lenses were all very, very close. We looked for breathing. We tested for color fringing, because that’s very critical on digital cameras–they see it. We put them all on our M.T.F. machine. They all had high M.T.F. We looked at what I call fall-off illumination, or shading–in other words, how bright it is in the center, how bright toward the edges. They were all very good. Some were a little bit better in one area, some in other areas.

They were so close that it didn’t matter a whole bunch. Then we did a film test. We did this on a stage that was very well lit by a very good DP, Isidore Mankofsky, ASC. We shot a grey scale, a color chart, and then we had a set with a desk and a practical lamp. We were looking for several different things, and one of them was narcissism (double image of hot spots) and other things.

We tested all of that, and there was a young lady that was supposed to be our model. Well, she got sick. She didn’t show up, and so there was a young woman there on the set. We asked her if she would be our model, and she agreed to that. She was about 27 years old, and she had no make-up on except what a normal lady would use to go out. You know, a little bit around her eyes, and she did have a little blemish on her face.

The film stock used on the test was Kodak 5219. The film was developed and we projected it. It looked better with the Cooke lenses. I was trying to analyze why it looked better with the Cooke lenses.

All the lenses were so close, the Leicas, the Master Primes, and the Cooke 5/I’s. Why did she look better? I analyzed it more carefully and what it is, the Leica lenses and the Master Primes have higher contrast, and they showed the blemish. Even though the Cooke lens is just as sharp, it’s not that high contrast. And it almost hid that blemish. It was almost gone. So this “Cooke Look†is a real thing. I wanted to say that. We’ve always known that–at least I always felt that–and so many people know that the Cooke look is good."     

 

I found this article  interesting.  The "look" comes from lower contrast and was not mentioned as noticeable except on the film test models skin portion of the test.    Also, For those wondering how the sharpness compares, here is a test by lensrentals comparing still and cine lenses in which the 50mm Cooke was mentioned.  www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/01/the-great-50mm-shootout.     

Congrats Andrew I'm so jealous!

 

 

 

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Very nice right there but I have to say I think you are talking about a M43 4K Camera the way you talk though out the writing. I do hope you know more then you have said and it deals with the GH4, as a DSLR and RED shooter this new camera is what I hope to be a great middle ground for shooters. Hope you can say something back to hint at it. 

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I don't know, I see plenty of prosumer gear reviewed still. I think you've got to remember that everybody here is a gear-head. So if you've got a chance to get your hands on something really interesting and give it a whirl, it's hard to say no.

 

 I don't think this takes away from the fact that most of the equipment reviewed here is clearly within reach of the low(er) budget prosumer sort.

You're probably right. But I do think that EOSHD might need to acknowledge/address the points I've made before too long. Once the mystery 4K stuff is revealed, I hope that there is more transparency about motivation, direction and personal interest. Personally, when I listen to someone's opinion about professional stuff on a regular basis, I like to know exactly where they are coming from.

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You're probably right. But I do think that EOSHD might need to acknowledge/address the points I've made before too long. Once the mystery 4K stuff is revealed, I hope that there is more transparency about motivation, direction and personal interest. Personally, when I listen to someone's opinion about professional stuff on a regular basis, I like to know exactly where they are coming from.

 

Man, one article on Cooke, one on the Amira. And I'm changing direction completely away from DSLRS!? I have D5300, E-M1, A7R reviews coming in a few days. Also with greatest respect Matt you are someone who has joined the forum quite late (and begun reading EOSHD even later?) so you're not in the greatest position to tell me what direction to take with my filmmaking and the site. Would you turn down high end stuff if you had the chance to buy it for a bargain price?

 

Back on topic and no more reverse snobbery!!

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if any of you want 'micro-contrast level of detail' at affordable prices I highly recomend the Carl Zeiss  24-85mm Vario Sonnar in Contax N Mount - aspheric elements and insane detail and sharpness as good as any PL mount Cinema lens I've used and a fraction of the cost too.

It is a very useful zoom range on a Micro 4/3 cameras.

 

I look forward to reading Andrew's Cook review soon , those 3 lenses have very usable focal ranges

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These look lovely, I remember Cooke lenses from my Aaton LTR experiences, they used to make a beautiful short zoom for Super 16 but haven't used them since. Look forward to seeing some stuff with them mounted on Micro 4/3. 

 

I remember seeing some older Cooke lenses from the 60's and 70's on eBay in Arriflex mount for £250 a-piece. The T2.0 stuff.

 

Worth investigating eBay for the older lenses, as the image is sublime.

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if any of you want 'micro-contrast level of detail' at affordable prices I highly recomend the Carl Zeiss  24-85mm Vario Sonnar in Contax N Mount - aspheric elements and insane detail and sharpness as good as any PL mount Cinema lens I've used and a fraction of the cost too.

It is a very useful zoom range on a Micro 4/3 cameras.

 

I look forward to reading Andrew's Cook review soon , those 3 lenses have very usable focal ranges

 

I have heard good things about the Zeiss zoom too, a '3D' look to it and lots of cinematic stuff going on.

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exactly Andrew the 3D look is incredable ! it makes your image jump off the monitor , Im sure your Cooks will have the same look to them

When I first shot with the Zeiss I was amazed at the level of clarity and detail compared to other lenses ,

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