In a very surprising move, Cooke has announced its new SP3 Prime Lenses which were designed for use with mirrorless hybrids. The lenses are somewhat based on the legendary Speed Panchros.
The SP3 range will be available in the following focal lengths:
- 25mm T2.4
- 32mm T2.4
- 50mm T2.4
- 75mm T2.4
- 100mm T2.4
The SP3 series features user-interchangeable mounts. The lenses come with E-Mount as standard, and RF-Mounts will be available soon. Early purchasers will be able to get a set of RF mounts at no cost. L-Mount is also available as an optional accessory and an M-Mount will be introduced in early 2024
All five focal lengths in the series feature a constant T2.4 aperture and come in a choice of user-changeable mounts. Just like the Speed Panchros, they were designed to be small, lightweight, and have a robust construction.
Even though the SP3 Prime Lenses are said to be based on the Speed Pancchros, they feature a different optical design that has been optimized optically and mechanically specifically for mirrorless cameras.
The lenses are claimed to offer outstanding definition and resolution while featuring a beautiful fall-off towards the edge of frame. This ‘Look’ is supposed to replicate the famous cinematic look achieved by the legendary Speed Panchros.
According to Cooke, the SP3 series has been matched to the Cooke Panchro/i Classics. This is a clever move, because if you are using Panchro/i Classics on an A or B cam, you may want to have a smaller-sized C cam on a drone, gimbal, etc. By keeping the look as consistent as possible you make things smoother on set.
The SP3s also feature specialized cinematic optical coatings that are claimed to ensure control of excessive flare. All of the lenses feature 9 aperture blades an a 1/4-20″ lens support thread.
The SP3s are very lightweight lenses, weighing in at between 500g/1.10lbs and 690g/1.52lbs including lens mount. This makes them ideal to use with smaller-sized mirrorless hybrids, and for use on gimbals as well as drones.
The lenses feature a dual focus scale, and the focus and iris mechanics are aligned across the set to allow for fast lens changes while maintaining focus and iris motor positions.
It is extremely interesting to see a company like Cooke target a completely different market sector to bring the famed ‘Cooke Look’ to people who couldn’t previously afford their lenses.
So why has Cooke done this? Well. here is what Chief Executive Officer of Cooke Optics, Tim Pugh said:
“The imaging market has long been viewed as ‘videography’ and ‘cinematography’, with their associated differences particularly evident in budgets and hardware. However, these boundaries are now blurring with vast improvements in the quality of ‘mid-market’ camera performance and consequently the creative optical possibilities and ambitions in this area are widening. This ‘democratisation’ means that we can now offer truly cinematic glass to the traditional pro-video market at an accessible price point and with flexibility of camera mounts, enabling more DOP’s to enhance the narrative of their stories.”Tim Pugh, Chief Executive Officer, Cooke Optics
Despite being targeted at users of mirrorless hybrids, I am sure these lenses are bound to be popular with users of cameras like the Sony FX6, FX9, VENICE, VENICE 2, Canon R5C, C70, RED KOMODO, KOMODO-X, etc.
With a Leica M mount coming, you could also use them on certain ARRI cameras as well by buying the Leitz Cine M-Mount for ARRI ALEXA Mini LF, ALEXA Mini & AMIRA.
Price & Availability
Even though the lenses are being targeted for use with mirrorless hybrids, these are still Cooke lenses so you shouldn’t be expecting to buy them for $1,000 each! The SP3 Prime Lenses will retail for $4,500 USD / £3,250 / €3,900 per lens and $21,375 USD / £15,400 / €18,525 for the complete set of five lenses which will come in a heavy-duty carry case.
They will be available worldwide from the middle of September.
As I previously said in the article, this is a very interesting move by Cooke. By targeting a completely different sector of the market, they are opening up their lenses to a whole new user base. However, whether that user bae is prepared to spend $4,500 USD on a non-PL mount lens is certainly debatable.
The pricing is arguably very good for what you are getting, but it will be interesting to see how these perform when compared to the Panchro/i Classic Prime lenses that start from around $12,000 USD each. Considering Cooke’s claims that the SP3 has been matched to the Panchro/i Classic series, just how much they actually differ mechanically and optically given the vast price difference will be interesting to see.
I think Cooke has certainly made a very strategic move here by not making the SP3 series available in PL mount. They have almost certainly done this on purpose to protect their more expensive lenses. In saying that, there are quite a lot of digital cinema cameras now that have Sony E, or Canon RF mounts.