Cooke Optics has announced that their popular S4/i prime lenses will now be available with uncoated front elements. The uncoated front elements which were previously only offered on the Mini S4is will give cinematographers more creative options, with lower contrast, milkier shadows, flares, streaks and other aberrations that give a ‘vintage’ look.
The Cooke S4/i series currently features 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 25, 27, 32, 35, 40, 50, 65, 75, 100, 135, 150, 180 and 300 mm. Uncoated S4/i front elements can be ordered individually for any or all focal lengths.
This is a practical and affordable way of giving cinematographers two choices for each S4/i lens, depending on their storytelling choices. I think this is a smart move from Cooke as a lot of DPs are now using older vintage glass on modern day digital cinema cameras. Older lenses like the Cooke Speed Panchros have been a very popular choice and have been used on films such as Whiplash, Rush, and Carol.
Cooke have had a Soft Effects Attachment for the Cooke S4/i 65mm and 75mm Prime Lenses for quite some time, but this new uncoated front element is sure to be a more popular option and will be available across the whole S4/i range.
Existing owners and rental houses can have the front elements swapped by trained rental house lens technicians. Light loss is approximately 10%, so depending on the lens, the maximum T-stop is around T2.2 with the uncoated front. The lenses may need to be re-shimmed or the focus scales shifted to correct for a slight difference. Since the front element is unprotected, it may discolour or stain over time.