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Cooke Adds 19-40mm Lens to Varotal FF Zoom Series

Cooke Adds 19-40mm Lens to Varotal FF Zoom Series

By Matthew Fresolone | November 9th, 2022

It’s been a year since Cooke Optics launched the Varotal /i FF lens series with two lenses: the 85-215mm T2.9 and the 30-95mm T2.9. Together, these two lenses constituted and impressive step forward in lens technology, but with a somewhat limited focal range. Now, Cooke Optics has extended this lens series with a wider Varotal zoom. The new 19-40mm T2.8 Varotal /i FF gives the impressive Varotal /i FF package a combined focal range of 19mm to 215mm.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Screen
Cooke Varotal lenses were used by DP Robert Richardson on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for its naturalistic look.


The Varotal/i FF T2.9 spherical zoom series is claimed to offer superb resolution, a constant optical speed, and minimal breathing. The Varotal package is built for consistency. The lenses are all built on PL or LPL mounts, have 114mm front diameters, 112mm screw-in filter threads, 48° iris rotation, 280° focal rotation, and a maximum image coverage of 46.3mm. Despite introducing new technology in this package, the Varotal lenses have the same exterior housing as other Cooke lenses, touting the scratch-resistant black anodized barrel. The Varotal /i FF lenses are relatively compact for their image size and extensive focal length size, making them perfect for handheld and Steadicam work.


As far as image quality goes, the Varotal /i package offers flattering renditions of skin tone that match the Cooke S8/i look. Skin tones are rendered soft and gentle, giving the image a natural, pleasing aesthetic. The Varotal look is consistent with the “Cooke Look” as a whole, which was acknowledged by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as having “helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century”. The Varotal/i lenses are exceptionally sharp for zoom lenses. In fact, The FDtimes went so far as to call them “Zoomable Primes”. Because of its embrace of the Cooke Look, however, the Varotals can still be interchanged with the S8/I prime lenses for sharper images. All three Varotal lenses are matched in resolution, color, and fall-off to the older S7/I and S8/I Cinema Prime lens packages from Cooke. As a result, cinematographers are capable of switching between lenses on the same project without extensive color-matching work in post.

THE 19-40MM 

The new 19-40mm /i full frame zoom lens is capable of bringing wider shots to the lens package without departing from the original lens' image style. At a convenient weight of 3.5kg (7.7lbs), it's lighter than the package's two longer lenses, which weigh 4kg (8.8lbs). Additionally, the 19-40mm has a close focus of 320mm, which makes it an ideal lens for Steadicam work.
Cooke Varotal Zooms
The Cooke Varotal 19-40mm /i FF complements the 30-95mm and 85-215mm zoom lenses.

The new Varotal 19-40mm /i lens has full frame capabilities, meaning that they can fit sensors up to Super35.


The Cooke Varotal lenses are equipped with /i technology, a relatively new innovation from the optics manufacturer. Cooke’s /i technology digitally captures lens data frame-by-frame, which is then synchronized to the footage’s timecodes. This captured data includes focus readouts, T-stop measures, depth of field, shading and distortion mapping; all metrics that speed up the post-production process. Similarly, the /i tech system can come in handy for on-set crew to save time during filming. /i technology connectivity is provided to both camera and the Lemo connector on the side of the lens.


Cooke has released an excellent addition to its line of full frame, /i technology-enabled lenses. It’s too early to know the exact retail price of the 19-40mm, but it’s safe to say that it’s cost will be similar to the other lens’ pricetag of about $54,0000. Unless you’re a well-equipped production company or a rental space, the cost of the entire Cooke Varotal /i FF package doesn’t justify its use. Therefore, your best bet is probably to lease equipment from a reputable rental house.

Considering renting? Why not check out Bokeh Rentals equipment packages!

•Rent the Cooke Varotal /i FF Lens Package (without 19-40mm) at Bokeh Rentals

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

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