Cooke Panchro Classic

PANCHRO/i Classic Full Frame Lenses

PANCHRO/i Classic FF lenses revitalize the Speed Panchro look

 

Cooke Optics, the longest-standing pros in the cinema lens game, do way more than meet their consumers’ demand. The “Cooke Look” has changed filmmaking, and the UK-based optical manufacturer even has an Academy Award to show as proof.

Since achieving wide success from its newer lens packages like the Cooke S4s or Cooke SF primes—Cooke has been bolstering its PANCHRO/i Classic FF lens lineup.

The PANCHRO/i Classic lenses aren’t centered around any gimmicks, like aperture performance or enhanced flaring—but they’re a redesign of Cooke’s legendary Speed Panchro lenses from the 1920s.

Cooke Panchro Classic Lenses

 

History of Speed Panchro Cine Lens

The “Classic” in “PANCHRO/i Classic” refers to the legendary Speed Panchro lenses that Cooke debuted in the 1920s. These lenses were built with extraordinary sticking power, as they have experienced repeated uses throughout their century of existence. In fact, the original Speed Panchros have shot classic films of multiple generations, such as Casablanca in the ‘40s and The Sound of Music in the ‘60s.

Once digital cinema took over in the early ‘00s, the culture shifted towards sharper image rendition as digital cameras became more powerful in the early ‘00s. But, digital cinema soon hit a visual ceiling, and soon the “pixel perfect” quality of digital cameras needed an organic presence to its images, and vintage lenses quickly shot back in style. This resurgence has made the Speed Panchros as coveted as ever, and these original lenses—retained since their original build in 1927—were used on twenty-first century films such as Inherent Vice and Blue Jasmine, as their soft, painterly essence stood in bold contrast to the sterile, featureless quality of newer lenses.

Since the original Speed Panchros have become so popular, Cooke decided to make them more accessible by transforming the original optical design into the PANCHRO/i Classics, a series of full-frame lenses with modern-day housings. Now, users can recreate the creamy, vintage feel of the original Speed Panchros, but with twenty-first century conveniences.

Watch this PANCHRO/i Classic demo from Cooke

Cooke’s PANCHRO/i Classic FF Lenses

A huge problem solved by Cooke’s Classic lenses is that they are color-balanced and color-matched. For anyone using even a rehoused set of Speed Panchros, one lens might not match the other, and users may have to manually readjust the white balance for each shot, not to mention spend countless more hours in the coloring phase of post-production just to match footage. But, since the PANCHRO/i Classics are current, they are all colour-matched to one another, and colour matched with other Cooke len series, such as the Anamorphic Primes.

The new PANCHRO/i Classics are built in a sturdy, anodized aluminum housing that can stand the test of time. Cooke touts the edging tactics used to ensure “perfectly round” glass diameters. These newer lenses are more durable than the original Speed Panchros and they are equipped with the modern-day standard PL Mount or LPL mount.

Additionally, Cooke’s new lenses utilize the manufacturer’s new Metadata logging and transfer system, called /i Technology. Cooke’s /i tech captures lens information such as focus distance, aperture, depth of field, hyperfocal distance, serial number, owner data, lens type, and focal length data, in both meters and feet. This metadata capture goes a long way in post-production, especially since the PANCHRO/i Classics log information each frame.

Because the PANCHRO/i Classic are only inspired by vintage lenses, they avoid the wild flares that vintage lenses normally produce. As Cooke puts it, these lenses “are designed to give maximum performance at full aperture with fine control of flare, distortion, and spherical aberration”. Odds are, anyone choosing the Speed Panchros aren’t doing it for the heavy flares—as there are other Cooke lenses that do it better, not to mention the anamorphic format as a whole. Most likely, these lenses are chosen for their ability to produce spectacular creamy images, first and foremost.

Another change Cooke added with this lens series is full-frame capability. The PANCHRO/i Classic lenses have an image circle of 46.31mm, far more than the original Speed Panchros.

Because these optics are taken from the Classical Hollywood era, they do not have the aperture capabilities of state of the art, digital-looking lenses. The Cooke FF PANCHRO/i Classics do not have a consistent maximum aperture. All lenses have a max aperture of T2.2, except for the 65mm Macro, 100mm, 135mm, and 152mm. This doesn’t mean the lenses’ looks aren’t compatible; only that switching lenses won’t be as easy as screwing them on and then off. This might require some work with ND filters if you’re looking to closely match depths of field among lenses.

All Classics lenses have a common fixed front diameter of 110mm, making it easier to swap lenses when using filters.
The FF PANCHRO/i Classics are an excellent package from Cooke, especially for anyone looking to produce breathtaking, vintage-inspired visuals without the downsides of using vintage lenses. A single lens costs around $13,000, so unless you’re a rental house looking to boost its inventory, your best bet is most likely to rent.

Considering renting? Why not check out Bokeh Rentals’ Cooke packages!

•Rent the Cooke PANCHRO/i Classic Lenses at Bokeh Rentals

Contact us to customize a package to suit your production needs at low prices!

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Comparing the Cooke S4 and Mini S4 Cinema Primes

Cooke, arguably the top optical designer and manufacturer throughout filmmaking history, has released another set of S35 lenses called the S4/i and Mini S4/i.

These two series have a lot in common—but there are clear reasons for going with one over the other. The Mini S4/i primes were based on the original Cooke S4/i series and built as a lighter, lower budget alternative. In the grand scheme of things, the Mini S4s are incredible lenses, but compared to its top-of-the-line counterpart, there are measurable differences.
Visual Look

Cooke describes the MiniS4/i primes as “smaller, light-weight lenses that offer the same resolution, optical quality, and reliability as the S4/i lenses at T2.8 speed”. In fact, the company went through the effort of color balancing the MiniS4/i primes to match all Cooke /i lenses, including the 5/i and Anamorphic/i set.

Both the MiniS4 and S4 lens series showcase “The Cooke Look”. With different physical characteristics and components, however, it’s impossible for the Mini S4 to look totally identical to the S4. Both series are built with moderate control over flares and distortion, opting for a modern look with character. The S4’s subdued look differs from Cooke’s Special Flares package, which prides itself on exaggerated flares, noticeable distortion and enhanced aberrations.
For users who are looking for loud flares but don’t want to get the SF packages, there is still another route to a vintage-inspired Cooke look. See, Cooke offers optional, uncoated lenses for the Mini S4/i primes that you can use to replace your original, coated optics. Be warned, however: this is not an easy task, and it requires planning beforehand and an authorized lens technician to accomplish.

Check out the palpable difference in flare management between the Mini S4/i primes and the Mini S4/i primes with specially uncoated optics.


Shooting Format

Even though the Mini S4/i primes were built as a lightweight companion to the regular S4s, they are still capable of shooting Super35 format with full coverage of the frame. Therefore, you can still capture the Cooke Look in Super35 without much negotiation.

Additionally, both prime sets come in a PL mount and can be outfitted with an LPL mount, alternatively. If your desired camera body uses a different mount system, you can use mount adapters to enable compatibility.
Aperture

The aperture capabilities are the most notable technical distinction between these two Cooke lens series. The Mini S4/i primes have a universal maximum aperture of T2.8, compared to its counterpart’s faster T2.0. While having a universal maximum aperture is an accomplishment in the first place, this disparity in light handling could be the dealbreaker for anyone who wants to shoot with the newest Cooke but, say, is shooting in lower light scenarios. Or, a Director of Photography that’s aiming for an extremely shallow depth of field may side with the wider aperture.

In addition to consistent aperture, the Mini package is outfitted with almost universal front diameters, which comes in handy when swapping filters without matte boxes. All lenses in the Mini S4/i line have an 87mm front diameter, except for the widest, 18mm lens, which has a front diameter of 110mm.

Focal Lengths

Although there are countless combinations of focal lengths being sold and rented, the total size of the Mini S4/i line pales in comparison to the regular S4.

The Mini S4/i T2.8 primes are comprised of ten focal lengths: 18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 75mm, 100mm, and 135mm.

The Cooke S4/i primes, on the other hand, have a more comprehensive range of focal lengths. Its 19 lenses include: 12mm, 14mm, 16mm, 18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 27mm, 32mm, 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 65mm (SF), 75mm, 100mm, 135mm, 150mm, 180mm, and 300mm.

Physical Characteristics

The Cooke Mini S4/i primes were built as a lightweight, smaller companion to the original S4s.

Despite its small size, the Cooke miniS4 lenses feature large numerals on both sides of the focus barrel to help focus pullers get the most accurate pulls. Markings are in feet and inches. Even though many focus pullers may be doing it remotely, these large focus markings in addition to a wide focal rotation make the job remarkably easier for operators.

Both the Cooke Mini S4/i lenses and the original S4/i primes have a scratch-resistant hard, anodized polytetrafluoroethylene finish, giving users a durable lens suitable for extreme shooting scenarios.

/I Technology

Cooke’s /i tech makes a superior professional workflow compatible with a wide range of cameras and accessories. This metadata capture goes a long way in post-production, especially as the Cooke S4 and Mini S4s log information each frame. Lens information captured by Cooke’s /i system includes focus distance, aperture, depth of field, hyperfocal distance, serial number, owner data, lens type data, and focal length (in both meters and feet).

Final Thoughts

The Cooke S4/i and Mini S4/i are two remarkable sets by the world’s leading cine lens manufacturer. Despite their minor differences, these are spectacular lenses at the end of the day.

If you want to take a closer look at footage shot on these lenses, there are thousands of options to choose from. Cooke’s official site even has a searchable library for all projects shot on Cooke and the exact lens series used. You can search by Title, Topic, Director, or DoP to learn what famous projects were shot with Cooke glass.

However, there’s still one more difference between these lens packages to look at—which is price.

The biggest reason to get the MiniS4/i lenses over the S4 is its significantly cheaper price. A Cooke 35mm T2.0 S4/i prime costs $17,900 retail on B&H, whereas the smaller, 32mm T2.8 MiniS4/i has a retail price of $7,650. This price disparity remains consistent along both lens series, and may be a determining factor.

If you want to avoid these large price tags, however, your best bet to use these cine lenses is to rent from a professional rental house!

Considering renting? Why not check out Bokeh Rentals’ Cooke packages!

Rent the Cooke S4 or MiniS4/i Prime Lenses

Rent the Cooke S4/i T2.0 Prime Lenses from Bokeh Rentals

Rent the Cooke MiniS4/i T2.8 Prime Lenses from Bokeh Rentals

Contact us to customize a package to suit your production needs at low prices!

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Cooke Anamorphic 1.8X SF Primes

Following the success of the Cooke Anamorphic primes, the UK-based optical manufacturer understood that consumers wanted even more expression to the image’s vintage-inspired aberrations.

So, Cooke modified their top-of-the-line anamorphics with a new coating that dramatically boosted features of the image like flares and bokeh.

This new offshoot of the Cooke Anamorphic Primes is called SF, which stands for “Special Flare”. These Cooke creations offer the same build as the Cooke anamorphics/i, but with a new, anamorphic-minded coating. The original Cooke Anamorphics blue streak lens flare has been rendered more expressive with the Special Flares lenses, elevating Cooke’s bold look to a level of higher intensity. The bokeh has also been enhanced, as it’s sharp-edged look has been turned oval by the additional sides added to the iris.

See for yourself the magnificent flares created by the SF anamorphic primes. The video below tests out a wide range of focal lengths to show the consistent, yet radiant flare rendition among the SF package:

Cooke’s Special Flare Anamorphic lenses were designed to complement Cooke’s other anamorphic primes and are manufactured in the focal lengths: 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm, 135mm, 180mm, and 300mm. Although the SF lenses can be thought of as special use lenses, they are color-balanced and color-matched with the other Cooke lens series, allowing easy integration into any production that’s already chosen the Cooke Look. It is worth noting, however, that the Special Flares lenses are built with a slightly different squeeze factor of 1.8x, compared to the typical 2x of anamorphic. This modification was made presumably after Cooke designers found the frame should breathe more if heavier flares are introduced. Regardless, the SF and its predecessor lens have been mixed and matched on Hollywood productions without fault, as discussed further below.

Like all beloved anamorphics, these lenses are a comfortable combination of vintage and modern; the vintage being the distortive characteristics, anamorphic aspect ratio, and aberrations like lens flare—whereas the modern component involves the lenses build. These lenses are consistent among focal lengths and properly color-matched, but the most modern feature has to be Cooke’s /i technology, a metadata system used to transfer lens data from the lens to compatible camera systems.
Details logged through the /i system include focal length, aperture, focus, depth of field, and more in both feet and metric systems. This metadata speeds up the workflow of a shoot in both production and post, especially with respect to VFX-heavy projects. Some systems compatible with Cooke’s /i technology include ARRI, Panavision, RED, Sony, and dozens other brand systems.

The Special Flare anamorphics can shoot S35 format with full coverage of the frame. For larger format, Cooke has another line of anamorphics called “Full Frame Plus”. Most of the SF Anamorphic primes share a 110mm front diameter, which makes swapping filters between lenses easier without any need for a matte box. The SF primes were designed by Cooke for use in both digital and film formats; and are available in either a PL or LPL mount.

The Special Flares primes come with 270° of focus rotation to maximize focus pulling capability, which goes a long way for 2nd ACs shooting anamorphic. The lenses have a universal T-stop of T2.3, allowing excellent, consistent low light performance throughout the package. For instance, if you’re shooting a closeup with the 135mm SF prime, then you switch to capture a medium with the 32mm prime, you can swap lenses with ease and avoid having to change the lighting setup for the camera. More importantly, this means you can stay at the same aperture between setups, giving you strict control over light flares.

These Cooke lenses with enhanced coating have already found their way into both movie theaters and living rooms. Some projects shot on Special Flares include Pete’s Dragon, Swiss Army Man, and episodes of Star Trek: Picard. As the Lead Director of Photography of the Paramount+ series explains in-depth, the futuristic science fiction subgenre lends itself well to Special Flares’ boosted response to light sources.

Interestingly enough, the SF series lenses aren’t officially listed on Cooke’s website. They can be found among rental houses online and in person. These lenses are in short supply, however, and might require some tracking down or winnowing down from your dream SF lens package.

As is the case with any Cooke lenses, the Special Flares anamorphic prime lenses are among the highest quality glass on the market and are priced accordingly. A single Cooke SF lens will run you anywhere from $32,000-$39,000, depending on the lens in question and where you look. Therefore, unless you’re looking to build a personal collection worth half a million dollars, your production’s best bet is to rent for more convenient prices.

Considering renting? Why not check out Bokeh Rentals’ Special Flares Prime package!

Rent the Cooke Anamorphic SF Prime Lenses

Rent the Cooke Anamorphic Special Flares Prime Lenses from Bokeh Rentals

Contact us to customize a package to suit your production needs at low prices!

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The Expansive World of Filters

What is a Lens Filter:

A lens filter is a camera accessory that cinematographers use to control the image. On the surface, a filter is a protective glass that can slide in and out of the matte box in order to eliminate the possibility of extra dust, dirt, scratches, and obstructions that could damage the lens.  Apart from their rudimentary use, filters are an excellent way to have more leverage in manipulating the image. Certain filters can enhance colors by adding or subtracting hues and intensifying or dulling the saturation of particular colors. This in turn adds contrast to the image and creates a more vibrant picture. The most used filters are those that affect the exposure of the image by limiting the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the shutter. These filters have varying degrees of how much light they block, and ultimately protect the cinematographer from overexposing the image. There are also filters that can be used as visual special effects by creating a type of obstacle illusion in front of the sensor like Schneider’s True-Streak filters.

What is Schneider’s True-Streak Filter: 

Just like any filter, the true-streak filter is placed in front of the lens in order to manipulate the image. Once placed in the matte box, the true-streak filter essentially exaggerates or mimics an anamorphic flare. When light passes through the filter, a hued streak cuts through the light’s source. Based on the source’s size, scope, and intensity, the flare can vary in size. The brighter the light source and specular reflections, the more intense the streak will be. Because anamorphic lenses have a unique internal glass structure, when light passes through the lens it reflects, refracts, and essentially “bounces around” before it reaches the camera’s sensor. Once the light reaches the sensor, a horizontal flare will result based on the angle in which the sensor is receiving the light. These filters work best when using point light sources to create fullest visual effect.

Size, Intensity, and Color:

While blue is the most common solid color, there are other colors that streak filters come in. Schneider produces colors in Orange, Green, Yellow, Violet, Pink, Gold, and Clear. There are also rainbow streak filters, which merge all the color streak filters into one glass. This special effect seamlessly creates a rainbow gradient streak wherever the light source is. Opposed to the true-streak rainbow filter, the true-streak confetti filter creates small multi-colored streaks around a light source. This filter creates firework-like bursts that streak through and around the source.

Based on how far apart the colored lines are from each other on the physical filter, determines the intensity of the streak. The closer together the lines are will great the strongest streak. In other words, the 1mm true-streak filter is more intense than the 4mm filter. At Bokeh, we offer the True-Blue Streak in 1mm, 2mm, and 3mm.

Using True-Streak Filters:

These filters can either be inserted to a conventional 4×5.60 matte box tray or be gear-driven in order to quickly rotate the streak to a desired angle. Like mentioned before these filters can enhance anamorphic lenses that already naturally create streaks and flares simply due to the mechanics of the physical lens. But what if you are shooting with non-anamorphic lenses and desire the streaks to fit the look of your project? These true-streak filters in front of your lens will imitate the anamorphic optics and help achieve your look in a cost-effective way. These filters also enhance highlights and helps to draw attention to a specific part of the frame.

ARRI Master Primes

There are very few brand names that hold the prestige of ARRI and Zeiss. So, it’s no surprise that when both companies collaborated on a top-notch quality set of S35 primes, it’s become a genuine staple of the motion picture industry: The ARRI Master Primes.

The two highly respected optical manufacturers co-developed the Master Primes in a unique partnership wherein Zeiss manufactures the Master Primes, which are then sold exclusively through the ARRI brand.

There are sixteen primes in this package: 12mm, 14mm, 16mm, 18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 27mm, 32mm, 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 75mm, 100mm, 135mm, and 150mm. Additionally, there is a 100mm macro lens to complement the package, typically sold separately.

Part of the Master Primes’ fame—besides its spectacular image rendition—is its incredibly fast performance. The ARRI Master Primes have a uniform maximum aperture capability of T1.3, making these among the fastest lenses out there, which is highly remarkable for a series of sixteen lenses. The 100mm macro lens, however, has a maximum aperture of T2.0.

What’s more telling of the ARRI Master Primes’ performance isn’t specs or footage viewed on a computer screen—but dropping some titles of films that employed the lenses, as the Master Primes have been used on countless Hollywood feature films. In fact, the ARRI website displays a quote about the Master Primes from Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC: “I love the way the Master Primes are – one of the best lenses probably ever made… they allow you to have clean images, and that I like very much”.

Lubezki regularly shoots with ARRI Master Primes, and has done so on The Tree of Life, Birdman, and The Revenant. All three films were nominated for the Best Cinematography Academy Award, with the latter two taking home the Oscar. The list of Master Prime-shot films is endless, but some other examples include The Irishman, Knives Out, and Us.

The ARRI Master Primes easily cover Super35 sensors and operate with the PL LDS mount system, the industry standard designed by ARRI that also allows use of its lens data system. Lenses are marked with either meters or feet measures. All the Master Primes have front diameters of 114mm, except for the 150mm, which has a front diameter of 134mm.

The aforementioned Built-in Lens Data System that transfers lens data to compatible camera systems. This feature of modern lenses is comparable to Cooke’s /i technology and has become increasingly important to maintaining consistency on set and improving the post-production workflow.

As far as image goes, the Master Primes are built to have higher resolution and contrast compared to other lenses of this quality. There is no geometric distortion to the image, which goes a long way in lenses that cover such a wide range in focal lengths. In line with its beautiful, de-emphasized look, there is “dramatically reduced flare” and “virtually no breathing” in the Master Primes.

Check out the video below that demonstrates not only the beautiful bokeh rendering by the Master Primes, but also its complete lack of visible breathing when racking focus.

The ARRI S35 Master Primes are often compared to the Ultra Primes—another top-of-the-line lens set from the same manufacturer. There are minor difference between the lenses’ designs. Generally, the Master Primes are a more stable build, as it has a stronger control of flares and slightly less contrast rendition. Although the Ultra Primes have a more dynamic look, very often they are paired with the Master Primes on shoots. In fact, Lubezki himself shot both The Revenant and Birdman on a combination of Master Primes and Ultra Primes, seeing the utility in both looks.

For further comparison between the ARRI Master Primes and Ultra Primes, check out this lens flare comparison below:

Unless you’re a major rental house or A-list cinematographer, there isn’t really reason to outright purchase an ARRI Master Prime for yourself. Just one from the 17 available costs $26,450 on B&H. Renting the entire package, on the other hand, is overkill for any shooting scenario.

With so many options, it’s best to put together a package that gives you a full, capable range for your production. Bokeh Rentals’ Master Prime package contains five lenses—the 18mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 75mm—to give users enough flexibility to capture stunning wide shots to captivating close-ups.

Rent the ARRI Master Primes

Rent the ARRI Master Primes from Bokeh Rentals

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Cooke S8/i T1.4 Full Frame Primes

Cooke Optics has long been regarded the premier manufacturer of professional-grade cinema lenses.
With the announcement of Cooke’s newest line of cinema primes, a new standard altogether has been set for super-fast full frame lenses—while incorporating its open protocol /i technology.

Last week, Cooke released a specially made video to announce its new line of S8/i FF primes:

Cooke S8 Lens Launch from Cooke Optics on Vimeo.

These state-of-the-art lenses are built with a maximum aperture of T1.4 across the entirety of its sixteen focal lengths. More importantly, however, is that all lenses are capable of shooting full frame formats.
The new S8/i line is comprised of sixteen different cinema primes, ranging from 18mm to 350mm. Full Frame and T1.4 across sixteen lenses—with no exceptions. It may be worth noting that the unreleased 18mm and pre-orderable 25mm contain 43.4mm image circles, which are still full frame-capable, but the remaining fourteen lenses all have image circles of 46.3mm.

The image quality from the S8/i FFs is immaculate—which should come as no surprise since “the Cooke Look” is burnished in film history. In fact, the optics manufacturer recently received an Award of Merit by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for having “helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century”.

Therefore, this new lens series is successfully continuing Cooke’s spectacular run. Check out the demo footage below, captured by Bill Bennet, ASC, and Kees van Oostrum, ASC, in the Mojave Desert. Cooke notes that all shots were taken at T1.4 to demonstrate the exquisite quality of the lenses at their widest aperture:

Cooke S8 Desert Demo from Cooke Optics on Vimeo.

As you can see, the Cooke S8/i FF primes produce a beautifully clean image with smooth, clean bokeh. Aberration and distortions exist, but just enough to send its look beyond a sterile, digital aesthetic. These lenses don’t need to lean on cursory vintage artifacts to give its images character, as you can tell by the gorgeous colors produced in the above “Desert Demo”. Cooke describes the result of its all-spherical lenses as “a uniquely organic, film-like quality… characterised by smooth, spherical bokeh and minimal colour fringing”.

Of course, these Cooke S8/i lenses are superb pieces of technology, but if you’re looking for a performatively vintage look, there are plenty of on-lens filters and postproduction processes to get you there.

The Cooke S8/i series is to contain 16 full frame T1.4 lenses by the end of the year. The first seven lenses in the series, available for pre-order now, come in the following focal lengths: 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm, and 135mm. By late 2022, nine more focal lengths will be added to the S8/i lineup: the 18mm, 21mm, 27mm, 35mm, 65mm, 85mm (macro), 180mm, 250mm and 350mm.

All the S8/i primes are available in either PL or LPL mount, the standard for cinema cameras. For mounting to cameras with other sensors, such as Sony’s E-mount or Canon’s EF mount, adapters can be employed.
Although the full specs on all sixteen high speed, full frame primes haven’t been released yet, we know the complete specs for the first seven lenses—and they point towards a state-of-the-art lens package built for convenience and consistency. Each focal length prime has a common fixed diameter of 104mm, enabling users to swap filters without needing different sizes or use of a matte box. Similarly, the angular rotation of the iris scale is fixed at 90° for every lens, and the aperture remains consistent throughout the package. Additionally, all the lenses are color-balanced and color-matched, which is a monumental accomplishment for such an extensive series of lenses.

Just like Cooke’s earlier line of Varotal Zoom /Panchro cinema primes—the S8/i lenses utilize Cooke’s metadata technology, referred to as “/i”. Cooke’s /i system digitally captures camera information to streamline the post-production process. This metadata, which requires a wired connection to access, is captured frame-by-frame and synchronized to timecode during recording. The /i Technology’s handling of depth of field, shading and distortion mapping are useful for VFX workflow—and the camera information can also come in handy for producers, ACs, and script supervisors to save valuable time on set.

Cooke’s new S8/i lenses are housed in a hard, anodized finish. Its form factor is compact, lightweight, and scratch-resistant to handle a long lifetime in fast-paced production circumstances of varying environments.
These lenses are built to last a long, long time; and it could be a while until any optical competitor produces a series of full frame spherical primes as fast as Cooke’s new T1.4 S8/I package.

Cooke Optics’ new S8/i 1.4 FF primes might be the nicest lenses on the market, judging by the early impressions online. As the newest, highest-quality glass out there, these lenses come at quite the cost. The seven lenses for pre-order cost about $35,000 each, and prices for the remaining nine focal lengths are expected to be similar.

Therefore, anyone looking to put these state-of-the-art primes to use on their production should consider renting them out from Bokeh Rentals:

Rent the Cooke S8/i T1.4 Full Frame Primes

Rent the Cooke S8/i T1.4 FF Primes from Bokeh Rentals

Contact us to customize a package to suit your production needs at low prices!

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LOMO Anamorphic Round Front Primes

As much as filmmakers love experimenting with the anamorphic format—there’s nothing more fun than experimenting with lenses—especially vintage lenses. With strong ties to the history of Soviet cinema, the LOMO anamorphics take the cake as the most sought-after of European, vintage anamorphic primes.

These Russian lenses date back to the ‘70s and are highly coveted for their imperfect optical effects, melding anamorphic’s dynamic quality with the pleasant, tactile feel of vintage glass.

Check out the footage below, in which LOMO anamorphics turn a sunny exterior into a lush daydream.

LOMO (Leningrad Optical Mechanical Association) is an optical manufacturer based in St. Petersburg, Russia. LOMO opened its first factory in 1914 and started mass producing cameras in 1930 with the Fotokor N1.

The company’s history is hard to track, since its existence during the Soviet era had its operations focusing on military and industrial production. In fact, the name “LOMO” was only introduced in 1962 to officially separate its optical manufacturing from other operations.

LOMO still manufactures some equipment today, but most of its popularity revolves around vintage pieces from the company’s heyday; its anamorphic primes were built from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Whether it’s these ‘80s LOMOs or these ‘60s Kowa Prominars—vintage anamorphics are always in high demand, as they stand apart from most modern-day optical gear. See, while the technical capabilities of current equipment are astounding, its ultra-clean, digital-feeling quality can start feeling stale. Thankfully, vintage lenses like these can stand apart for their expressive features, such as these primes’ pleasing falloff—while their anamorphic format gives it dynamic qualities that feel contemporary, such as its extraordinary handling of flares and shallower depth of field.

Because the vintage LOMO sets drifting on the market aren’t straight from the manufacturer, there can be asymmetry in their individual characteristics, such as camera mount, iris blades, or mechanical components.
Insert image from our Instagram post

This particular set of LOMO anamorphics from Bokeh Rentals consists of a 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 100mm prime. They have similar close focuses, of 1m, .92m, .96m, and 1m, respectively.

Their aperture range is representative of its ~1980s build, as the maximum apertures are T2.8, T2.4, T2.4, and T3.2 (in order of ascending focal length.) Although casual consumers can’t help but compare numbers and the nitty gritty of tech specs, camera renters typically keep in mind that what’s important about these lenses is its unique image and original, vintage qualities.

These lenses also have 16 iris blades (10 on the 40mm), which create marvelous oval bokeh. This bokeh, especially in conjunction with the spectacular lens flare, truly makes scouting out these lenses worth the effort.
As evident in the demo footage above, these primes’ out-of-focus areas exhibit the tiniest subtle stretch, giving backgrounds a dreamy, abstract quality—while the areas in focus are kept sharp and discernable. Lastly, the mechanical components of these LOMO anamorphics produce a slight focus falloff at the edges that subconsciously contribute to the dreamy quality of these lenses.

These lenses are built with a 330° focus rotation across all four focal lengths to ensure consistent and accurate focus. Also consistent is the front diameter size of 114mm, which makes simple trading filter between lenses.

What’s interesting about this particular set of LOMO anamorphic primes is its round front, especially with consideration to the 40mm prime. The round front LOMO lenses were constructed to improve upon the design of its predecessors, which have a square front. Within its limited market of resellers, LOMOs with round fronts are more valuable than the less-refined square front models.

MUSICBED CHALLENGE from TERRITORY 6 on Vimeo.

These rehoused anamorphic lenses are built on a PL mount, the open standard for cinema lenses, with image circles that shoot Super35 format. The rehousing itself leaves these four lenses with a remarkably cool black exterior containing red and yellow text, and even has the original “LOMO” typography. The ‘L’ in ‘LOMO’ is replaced by ‘Л’, a character in the Cyrillic alphabet, which is used in Russia (technically, at the time of these lenses’ construction, the Soviet Union).

Clearly, these lenses bask in their historical quality—and rightfully so, since its vintage status brings a lot of charm to the image.

The anamorphic primes from LOMO are a rare find and make a great component of any music video, commercial project, and even feature film production.

Most LOMOs on the market are rehoused, so anyone considering renting should be aware that the various repairs or rehousings result in models with different specifications. For this reason, it’s suggested to read the fine print when renting out vintage sets of any brand online. Also, be sure to watch demo footage, because after all, it’s the end product that audiences are seeing.

This article was based on Bokeh Rentals’ new, four-lens LOMO anamorphic prime package.

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GL Optics Rehoused Leica R Super Speeds

Vintage lenses never get old—and not just in hobbyist circles! In fact, the #1 movie in the box office right now—an ARRI ALEXA LF-shot superhero blockbuster—used lenses inspired by vintage characteristics of falloff and subjective detuning to achieve magnificent results.

Because vintage is always in style, GL Optics has made a business out of rehousing vintage lenses for modern day shooting conditions. And recently, the manufacturer has done its usual magic with the Leica R Super Speed prime lenses.

The Leica Super Speeds—with various versions built between 1960 and 2000—are emblematic of the vintage, spherical lenses cinematographers have come to admire. They preserve impressive sharpness with creamy fall-off, which has a flattering impression on human subjects, with excellent skin rendering.

The Leica Super Speeds’ soft, inviting look is complemented by ample warm flares, opposed to the sleek, cold flares of anamorphic lenses. Whereas anamorphic’s 2x squeeze will busy any frame with more information—Leica Super Speeds naturally have a spacious, organic feel to their compositions.

The 14-blade irises create pleasant bokeh, which gracefully finds its way in the beautifully soft aesthetic of these vintage primes. Check out Sharegrid’ visual demo (below) of the Leica R 80mm prime, which showcases the Super Speeds’ creamy bokeh and comfortable breathing at a wide open 1.4 aperture.

The rehoused Leica R Super Speeds provide full frame coverage on the newest camera systems like RED Monstro 8K and ARRI ALEXA. This is better than the alternative—lenses with smaller image circles, which cause the image to crop and force you to purchase an adapter to achieve full-frame, such as the Atlas Orion. But, the full frame Leica R lenses makes the most use of its compositions and avoid the frustrating crop factor of cheaper camera systems.

Not only are the Leica R Super Speeds full frame, but their PL mount—the standard among professional cinema cameras—allows wide use among camera bodies. Luckily, the Leica Rs are easy to convert to other mount systems by simply attaching an adapter for whichever camera mount is needed; such usual suspects include Sony’s E-mount or Canon’s EF mount. With full frame capabilities and a PL mount, the Leica R Super Speeds are built for compatibility.

The rehoused lenses feature 330° rotation for smooth and precise focus adjustments (imperial units), with the exception of the 19mm, which has a rotation range of 120°.

Because the original Leica R-series primes were built over a long period, cinematographers search all over to put together a set built within a similar timespan. As this in-depth history explains (from 2m00s to 4m10s), Leica’s manufacturing techniques naturally shifted throughout the years; and these changes in manufacturing can be apparent if comparing, say, an R Super Speed from 1962 with another from 1994. Although the R-series has always been chasing organic, spherical images, your lens pairings may vary slightly in the nuanced characteristics of the image, as the oldest builds contain more artifacts, aberration, and uncontrolled flare characteristics.

But, if you’re able to find a package of Leica R Super Speeds built around the same years, with similar serial numbers to prove it—then you can have the utmost confidence in your primes.

For example, Bokeh Rentals’ seven-lens package is comprised of Version 4 lenses from Leica’s R-series which have since been rehoused by GL Optics. This means that you can shoot organic, genuine Leica R Super Speed images without worrying about startling inconsistencies in aberration or flares. The one exception, however, is in the widest lens, which is a V2.

Packages of the Leica R Super Speeds vary across rental houses. Bokeh Rentals’ Leica R package is built for efficiency, as all shot sizes are possible, without any superfluous lenses to weigh down your bag (or your budget).

The seven-lens bundle is comprised of: 19mm T2.8 (V2), 24mm T2.8, 28mm T2.8, 35mm T2.8, 50mm T1.4, 80mm T1.4, 135mm T2.8.

The bundle is surprisingly consistent for a vintage rehousing. Two lenses have a maximum aperture of T1.4, whereas the other five lenses are two stops behind at a capable T2.8. These differing F-stops technically mean that the 50mm and 80mm Super Speeds fall under Leica’s Summilux classification—whereas the T2.8 lenses are grouped under the Elmarit title. These titles refer exclusively to the T-stop capabilities of the lenses, and do not signify any other explicit design modifications between lenses.

Beyond aperture capabilities, all seven lenses have a 95mm front diameter for filters, such as ND or polarizers, which means less equipment needs to be purchased and carried around while shooting.

Because there’s a wide range of Leica R Super Speeds out there—and they’re all packaged in different combinations by different retailers—it’s hard to get a firm reading on the general price range. Some used six lens packages are sold for $15,000, whereas some single lenses can be found for $2,000. Therefore, it comes down to users to seek out packages that align with their expectations and shooting circumstances. Of course, if users aren’t looking for a permanent commitment to the Leica R Super Speeds, they could always rent them for a much lower price.

If you’re looking to rent Leica R Super Speeds, why not consider Bokeh Rentals?

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The Kowa Cine Prominar Anamorphic Lenses

When Were the Kowa Anamorphics Built?

The Kowa anamorphic cine lenses changed the trajectory of the anamorphic look from its beginning.
Built by NAC Image Technology from the late ‘50s to the ‘70s, the Kowa Prominar Anamorphics debuted as a series of four primes: the 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 100mm. Their look embraces a low contrast and generally warmer color tone not commonly seen in anamorphics today.

Perhaps in-part due to anamorphic’s routine use with science fiction and blockbuster films, modern anamorphic primes render lens flares with a cool, blue tint. Before that trend took hold, however, the original Kowa Prominar anamorphics produced its bold lens flares with warm colors.

See the Kowa Cine Prominar Lens produce its unique lens flare:

Kowa Anamorphic Lens Test from Radiant Images on Vimeo.

From their release to when manufacturing ceased in the 1970s, the Kowa Anamorphics were a favorite among filmmakers, inspiring modern-day rehousings and emulations. In fact, rehoused Kowa Anamorphic primes have been used on films like First Man, A Star is Born (2018), and No Sudden Move.

WHO BUILT THE KOWA CINE PROMINAR LENSES?

NAC Image Technology was founded in Tokyo, 1958, by Seiji Nakajima.

The Founder’s son now operates as NAC’s President, and although the company doesn’t hold the same household-name status as ARRI or RED, it’s highly influential to the modern camera market. In fact, NAC’s optical department is one of only two authorized by ZEISS to test its equipment and products.

NAC Image Technology’s cameras are also the standard in the automotive industry for recording high-speed crash tests. For instance, the Memrecam ASC-3 M16 (pictured right) is one of dozens of NAC products that can shoot thousands of frames per second. Additionally, NAC has made headlines for supplying its high-speed machines for the Tokyo Olympics and even for winning an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts of Sciences.

Although NAC Image Technology has moved from consumer filmmaking to become a leading innovator in high-speed cameras, the company’s roots lie in filmmaking—as its reputation was built on the early success of the Kowa Anamorphic lenses.

ARE THE KOWA ANAMORPHICS IN USE?

Thankfully, a handful of optical manufacturers and rental houses have stepped in to make the Kowa Prominar’s distinguished look accessible for modern-day filmmakers. Although the Kowa Cine Evolutions were built as an emulation of the Prominars, the original lenses have been preserved and rehoused for the latest camera systems.
The original Kowa Anamorphic lenses are 2x anamorphic lenses—meaning that its horizontal field of view is twice that of its spherical equivalent. This 2x field of view makes it perfect for manufacturing spectacle on the big screen. Combined with its gentle contrast and heavy flaring, the Kowa Cine Prominar primes create a dynamic, vintage-feeling image with anamorphic dimensions.

P+S Technik, a Germany company founded by ARRI engineers in 1990, is the leading rental house keeping the Kowas relevant. The Technik team equips the Prominar Anamorphics with a durable exterior to withstand modern filming conditions while retaining the same form factor and weight as the original glass. Also, the interior elements are repaired to ensure top image performance, while “keeping the origin character”.

P+S Technik’s rehoused lens package comes with four focal lengths: 40mm T2.2, 50mm T2.2, 75mm T2.5, and 100mm T3.2. P+S Technik also outfitted the lenses with a universal front diameter of 80mm, so swapping between lenses can be accomplished without rearranging any filters. Also, all four lenses have an equivalent image circle 31.1mm and shoot in Super 35 format. They require a PL mount or corresponding adapter.

Anyone looking to coopt the Kowa Prominar look may notice some packages also include a 32mm and 135mm lens—but these are actually Kowa Evolution primes. The Evolution primes are not the same as the vintage Prominars—but synthesized emulations that are often thrown into the lens package to expand the focal range. If you’d prefer to not add the Evolutions to your Kowa Prominar package—but still require the focal range—you can attach a wide angle adapter to turn the 40mm lens into a 30mm.

The Kowa Cine Prominar lenses are a fantastic legend of anamorphic cinema. They can be purchased directly from P+S Technik for 4,800 € (about $5,300) each. The Prominars can also be found at some rental houses for more affordable rates.

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Atlas Orion 25mm T2 Anamorphic

Nowadays, there’s a lot of noise in the affordable anamorphic market, and Atlas Lens Co. is making its Orion series a topic of conversation. Whether it’s with the original Anamorphic Orion series or its Limited Edition spinoff, Atlas is feeding the growing demand for ~$10,000-tier anamorphic primes.

Recently, Atlas has released another lens in its successful Anamorphic Orion series. This new addition, the 25mm T2—complements the preexisting 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 80mm, and 100mm set.

This set, often compared with the Xelmus Apollo Anamorphics, is capable of T2 across the board; which is pretty good for this 25mm lens and exceptional for the longer lenses of the set (especially the 100mm).

The wide open capabilities of Atlas’ new 25mm prime work hand-in-hand with its stunning anamorphic look—as the Atlas Lens Co. official website describes it: “waterfall bokeh”, “streak flare”, and “pleasing barrel distortion”.

Atlas shot a dynamic racecar promo with the Orion 25mm showcasing its speed, smooth shooting, and remarkably subdued distortion. Daytime exteriors, shooting directly into the sun, showcase the Orion 25mm’s incredible ability to control the highlights of a bright daytime sky while simultaneously capturing the dark asphalt of a professional, wet-down racetrack—without any artificial lighting.

Although most users won’t be run-and-gunning with the Orion 25mm, the extensive imaging capabilities are sure to come in handy on tight shoot days.

Clearly, the 25mm was built to extend the abilities of the Orion line. For example, the 25mm has a closer minimum focus than the 32mm, and still has a 31mm image circle, which is a rather understated accomplishment for a wide angle prime.

However, the 25’s front diameter is a different size than the Orion’s six other lenses. While certainly not nearing a dealbreaker, DoP’s should keep this spec in mind when planning to use the Orion set, so they can prepare additional filters for switching setups.

The 25mm Atlas Orion comes with an interchangeable mount system and can be purchased from the manufacturer with either a native PL or EF mount. The focus ring has an exceptional 270° rotation, and focal measurements can be ordered in either metric or imperials units.

Despite all the impressive demos with stunning visuals and technical achievements, there is a downside to the 25mm (and the Orion Anamorphic set altogether) that might change some renters’ minds. And this has to do with its shooting formats.

The Atlas website carefully phrases that the Orion 25mm is Full Frame, LF and VistaVision capable—but that’s only if the primes have Atlas’ 1.6x LF extender attached. What this means is that for real, edge-to-edge coverage in formats larger than S35, users will need to purchase or rent the $1,849 attachment. Therefore, it’s not exactly accurate to call the Atlas Orion 25mm a Full-Frame anamorphic prime—at least not on its own.

This shortfall only constitutes a small asterisk for the Orion Anamorphic series, which is, all-in-all, a stunning anamorphic prime series. In fact, Atlas’ Orion lineup was so successful that the Glendale-based optical manufacturer released a Limited Edition “Silver Edition” that retains the original’s form factor while tweaking the inner mechanics for a more expressive, differently-colored lens flare; since, after all, anamorphic flair is this package’s focus.

By releasing the 25mm as the seventh lens in the Orion series, Atlas Lens Co. has saved its most impressive invention for last. An anamorphic prime that can get this wide—with such seamless distortion management—at such a wide aperture—certainly pushes the series forward.

The Atlas Orion 25mm T2 anamorphic can be ordered directly from the manufacturer’s website for $14,995, which includes a $4,995 deposit made at checkout. The price stands about one-half more expensive than the Orion 32mm ($9,995), and even more expensive than the remaining lenses of the Orion series, which cost $8,995 each, no deposit required. Also, buyers should note that because the 25mm anamorphic prime came as a late addition to the Orion series, it is not included in Atlas’ six-lens Orion package. Therefore, the 25mm should be rented separately.

If you’re interested in renting the Atlas Orion 25mm T2 Anamorphic, why not try out Bokeh Rentals?

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