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Cooke Varotal/i Zoom and Panchro/i Classic Full-Frame Lenses Announced

Cooke Varotal/i Zoom and Panchro/i Classic Full-Frame Lenses Announced

Cooke Optics, a titan of the cinema lens industry continues to evolve their products for the modern cinema world. With a legacy over 100 years old, their lenses have come to define not only a look but a standard that rivals Zeiss and Arri. Now two new zoom lenses join the full-frame family with the Cooke Varotal/i Zoom and Pancho/i Classic FF line.

Cooke lenses are the kind of equipment you can’t just buy. I mean, you technically can, but you’d be better off taking that money and putting a downpayment on a house. Entire sets are expensive and usually reserved for rental houses. However, that cost can be justified. In 2013, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the company merit, stating that it “helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century.”

The Cooke Look as it’s called, is expensive. But it’s also highly sought after. While the company has focused on creating lenses for the Super35 format, it has evolved to create tools for full-frame cinema cameras. Cooke has now added two zoom lenses to the Varotal/i zoom line and expanded the Pancho/i Classic range, with all covering a 46.31mm image circle.

The new zooms

With the new release, Cooke is offering two zoom lenses at 30-95mm and 85-215mm. These are said to be based on the Cooke S7/i range and should match in resolution, color, and fall-off. Both are available in PL or LPL mount. Modern Cooke lenses include their /I Technology which allows the camera to electronically record essential data for productions. This includes precise focus setting, T-stop value, and depth-of-field.

All of this information can be seen on a continuous remote readout or synced to Timecode frame-by-frame. The metadata is recorded either digitally or to a film recording medium. A simple SD card can also be used. Cooke Optics have optimized their glass to capture the warmth, texture, and beauty of skin tones, which has become the focal point of the Cooke Look.

The expanded primes

Along with the new zooms, Cooke has expanded their Panchro/i Classic line with a full range of full-frame lenses. Focal lengths include 18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 27mm, 32mm, 40mm, and 50mm. These have been redesigned to cover the 46.31mm image circle. On the other hand, the 65mm Macro, 75mm, 100mm, 135mm and 152mm of the Panchro Classic line were already capable of covering the full-frame image circle. Because of this, Cooke has not made any optical or mechanical alterations to these ranges.

Cooke Panchro/I Classic now in Full Frame.
Cooke Panchro/I Classic now in Full-Frame. Image credit: Cooke Optics.

Both the Cooke Varotal/i zoom and Panchro/i Classic FF range are available for pre-order now.

Do you need it?

No. Lenses of this caliber have never been about need. In this price range, it is all about want. The Cooke Varotal/i Zoom and Panchro/i Classic line don’t do much to change the landscape. But it’s hard to make big steps when you’re on top. Cooke lenses are all color balanced, color-matched, and interchange with any lens in their lineup.

Every focus mark for each lens is individually engraved on both sides of the barrel after being calibrated. With precision like this, as well as their /I Technology, a Cooke lens is more a luxury than a necessity. You don’t need an Aston Martin, you want one. The same goes for Cooke lenses.

What do you think about Cooke’s latest offering? Have you shot with their lenses before? Would you want to have this in your rental kit? Let us know in the comments!

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