There is certainly no shortage of professional motion picture prime lenses available in a wide range of focal lengths, features, and prices. Quite possibly the most common question we get asked at Duclos Lenses is wether or not a lens is “worth it”. That’s a very difficult question to answer most of the time. A lens can be an extension of one’s vision. It’s the tool that allows a cinematographer to capture the light they so dynamically seek. To one professional, it could be the quirky flaws that a lens introduces into an image that give it a certain personality whereas another cinematographer would consider that quirky flaw unacceptable. The value or worth of a lens is not always something tangible or measurable. But of course, sometimes it is.
Enter: Cooke Optics Limited. Cooke has been in the business of making cinema optics for a very, very long time. In fact their optical roots date back to the 1890’s and only grow from there. Cooke not only pioneered cinema optics but also brought new methods of production and precision measurement to the industrial world as a whole. Duclos Lenses has been associated with Cooke for quite some time. Paul Duclos, while heading up the lens department at Clairmont Camera in Hollywood, was involved in the development of the Cooke S4 primes. With several good friends that either worked at or still work at Cooke, we had the opportunity to tour the factory a few weeks back in Leicester, UK. I think the best way to describe their operation is a harmonious blend of industrial revolution methods with new world technology. This synthesis makes for a wide range of beautiful hand-built exotic lenses that produce some of the worlds most romantic, cinematic images. Cooke keeps a tight lid on their production which is why I don’t have any awesome photos to share with you here… But believe me when I tell you that the entire operation is a well oiled machine.
Bounce back to sunny California. As part of a great expansion, Duclos Lenses has decided that Cooke Optics simply can’t be left out as a top-tier option for professional cinematographers and is proud to carry their line of lenses. Primarily the Cooke Panchros or “Mini S4s”. These little guys are about half the size and weight of a Red Pro Prime, albeit a tad slower at T2.8, and have nothing to prove. The “Mini S4” name is there for a reason. The well established optical and mechanical design of the Cooke S4 lenses is directly inherited by the Cooke Panchros. While they are certainly a higher price bracket than that of Zeiss Compact Primes or even Red Primes, their performance doesn’t disappoint one bit. Give them a try at Duclos Lenses and see if the Cooke Panchros will fit your next production. Contact a Duclos Lenses representative anytime for pricing and availability or to schedule a demo.
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