Cooke SP3 Primes: A New Line of Compact Cine Primes for Mirrorless Camera Systems

Cooke is on a roll with their latest product rollouts and the new SP3 are no exception. Named after the classic Speed Panchro primes from Cooke, it’s safe to say this is the latest version of that concept. The”3″ in SP3 indicating it’s the third line to inherit what created nearly 75 years ago. The new set will consist of five prime lenses in an all-new super compact, lightweight housing aimed at mirrorless camera systems.

The Cooke Speed Panchro Legacy

The now-famous Cooke Speed Panchros from the mid-20th century achieved enduring popularity in the film industry due to their exceptional optical qualities and versatile characteristics. Renowned for their (at the time) sharpness, contrast, and minimal distortion, these lenses produced a distinct cinematic look that filmmakers found captivating. Their flexibility in various focal lengths, a novel concept at the time, made them suitable for a wide range of cinematic applications, from close-ups to wide shots. Notably, their fast apertures around f/2.0 enabled shooting in low-light conditions and shallow depth of field, contributing to a unique visual style. The lenses’ ability to create aesthetically pleasing bokeh added to their appeal. The Cooke Speed Panchros’ enduring popularity stemmed from their vintage character which added nostalgia and authenticity to period pieces or retro-themed films. However, the original lenses were not well suited for the rigors of modern motion picture setups and as a result, rehousing operations became a popular option for the aging optics. Their rich history and association with iconic films solidified their legacy, drawing modern filmmakers seeking to capture the cinematic magic of the past. This resurgence of interest in vintage lenses reflects their timeless qualities and their continued impact on contemporary cinematic storytelling.

What’s new for SP3

Back to the new SP3 primes. Just as their name implies, the inspiration for the new SP3 primes is the classic Cooke Speed Panchros. While these won’t be a 1:1 resurrection like the Cooke Panchro/i Classic primes were, they will be a comfortable blend of new tech and old character that should cut very well with the current lineup of spherical primes from Cooke such as the Panchro/i Classic or even the Cooke S8/i with the correct setup. The SP3 will launch with five focal lengths – 25mm, 32mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 100mm, all T2.4.

Opto-mechanical Design Features

Let’s take a look at the design decisions that Cooke made with these new lenses since they’re a clear departure from exotic, high-end lenses we’ve come to expect from the British optics house. First and foremost, these are a 100% mirrorless design. This means that they will not be compatible with any reflex style mount systems such as PL, EF or even LPL (well maybe LPL with some clever conversion design work). The SP3 primes will come standard in Sony E mount since that standard takes the lion’s share of camera systems on the market. An interchangeable Canon RF mount will be included with each lens – but it’ll arrive a few weeks late for the earliest pre-orders in the form of a follow-up care package from Cooke. There are firm plans in place from Cooke to also offer an L-Mount and a Leica M mount option as separate accessories at a later date. This will give the SP3 primes a nice spread across the most common mirrorless systems, with the exception of Micro 4/3. But that’s really okay since these focal lengths are quite designed to be a good match with the tiny format of those systems.

Moving on, the front diameter of the lenses is inconsistent and non-standard. Normally I would say this is a huge oversight as any modern cinema prime lens set should conform to one of our established standards across the entire set. But in the case of these lenses since the design goal was to make them as small and compact as possible, I understand and agree with Cooke’s decision to keep the housing tighter. Besides, if you want a common standard for using a matte box, you can simply pair the SP3 primes with a Duclos Standard 80mm Front Ring which will thread in and give all of the SP3 primes a consistent 80mm front diameter – available from!

The gearing is a little odd with its super-wide real estate on the lens, but I’m certain it’ll come in handy on compact rigs where you have to get creative in motor placement. The gears are all consistently spaced and positioned which will make swapping between takes as quick and easy as possible. The focus rings will have a 160° rotation and exhibit metric and imperial distance marks. The iris scale will have a 78° rotation and operate a 9-bladed iris between T2.4 and T16 across all five lenses. All of the external components will be made of anodized aluminum and a stainless steel mount flange in the styles noted above (E, RF, L, M). The SP3 will have an average weight of approximately 1.2 lbs. The largest lens in the set, the 100mm, will weight a dainty 1.5 lbs. Compare that with a 100mm Cooke S8/i at a beefy 5.2 lbs and you can see where these begin to fit in.

Who are SP3 for?

Now we can really see where the SP3 begin to shine. While there’s no doubt these new primes can hold their own as a set of A-cam lenses, they’ll take the supporting roll behind a set of Cooke Panchro/i Classic primes really well! Personally, while I wouldn’t hesitate to use the SP3 on their own, I consider them an ideal solution for a project shooting primarily on a higher-end set of Cookes that needs a super-compact gimbal, interior car, or especially a drone shot where every gram counts and the project calls for a consistent look from shot to shot.

Price and Availability

At this point, you’re likely wondering if the usual Cooke rules apply – one kidney and 12-18 months later they’re at your door. This is where I’m very pleased to report that Cooke has made commendable improvements over the past few years. We’ve seen Panchro/i and S8 delivery times improve consistently. And now with the new SP3 primes, the lenses will be available at launch. Yes, you read that correctly. In. Stock. At. Launch! This is due in part to the improvements that Cooke has worked diligently towards, expanding their HQ and factory in Leicester, UK while simultaneously establishing relationships with manufacturing partners overseas to bring the famous Cooke Look to those who want it, when they want it. The SP3 lenses will be available as individual lenses at $4,500 each or as a 5-lens set for $21,375. The single lenses will come in a very nice tailored foam package and the 5-lens set will come nestled in a beautiful tailored hard-case with cutouts for all five lenses, their additional mounts, and a few other accessories. Obviously the best place to get a set is from Duclos Lenses since every lens is quality checked by our technicians to ensure you’re only getting the best of the best. Head on over to to order your set today!

Summary and Tech Specs

That about wraps up everything there is to know about the new Cooke SP3 primes. This is definitely a new direction for Cooke and I can’t wait to see how this influences the next chapter in their venerable history. As always, you an find the tech specs below. Let us know what you think about these new lenses and if you have any questions, drop a comment below. Stay focused, lens geeks!

Focal Length25mm32mm50mm75mm100mm
Max. ApertureT2.4T2.4T2.4T2.4T2.4
Iris Blades99999
Min. Focus10 in.13 in.20 in.3 ft.3 ft.
Focus Rotation160°160°160°160°160°
Front Dia.64mm64mm64mm64mm124mm
Filter Thread58mm58mm58mm58mm77mm
Image Circle43.3mm43.3mm43.3mm43.3mm43.3mm

3 thoughts on “Cooke SP3 Primes: A New Line of Compact Cine Primes for Mirrorless Camera Systems

  1. Too bad there’s not a pseudo SK4 line of these coming for Micro Four Thirds. I know we’re not usually operating in the budget range where it would make sense to buy a $22,000 lens set but they’d be great for rentals.

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