Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Cooke Speed - Panchros

Hello Everyone :

I've been looking into purchasing some lenses lately, and have come upon some great deals with the Ser II and III Cooke Speed Panchros. Some rental catalogue's have specified that a Arri Standard to PL mount adapter can come with these lenses for rental. While looking through the archives there have been a few comments saying that since the Cookes are barrel mount and turn within the port this is impossible.

Is it possible to have a PL mount Cooke Speed Panchros without having the lens rehoused? Are there only specific types of adapters that will allow this? Can anyone recommend any? Anything else to watch out for with these lenses?

Thank you for all of your time and help.


George Lyon

George Lyon wrote :

>Is it possible to have a PL mount Cooke Speed Panchros without >having the lens rehoused?

There were special Arri-standard-to-Aaton mount adapters that worked with Cooke primes in Arri standard mount, so I'm sure that such an adapter could be made if it doesn't exist.

Sounds like a job for Les Bosher he makes all sorts of interesting lens mounts and adapters. Of course, you could get them re-barrelled, like our fearless leader has done his.

Jeff "likes Cookes, likes Zeiss, likes Switar, likes Summicron" Kreines

For those interested in the look of older Cookes

Are very different looking commercials but both were shot with my converted S3's


Geoff Boyle FBKS

Director of Photography
EU based

Pretty stuff, Geoff.

What stock did you use for the eyeglass commercial? How did you avoid reflections in the glasses? Any diffusion filters used? How did you arrive at the decision to use Vision 320T for the vacation commercial?

David Mullen
Cinematographer / L.A.

The stock was 5245 and the reflections were avoided by using one large soft source and making sure that she didn't turn her head!

No diffusion.

On the Holiday one I chose V320 because I was shooting almost exclusively on '87 at the time and I decided to try the new stock that was supposed to have the identical characteristics but with less grain.

It almost caught me out, it had about half a stop, maybe a bit more, less shadow response than '87.

Luckily I had a test day, highly unusual for a commercial but there are a lot of glass matte shots in there and we needed to make sure.


Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography

>The stock was 5245

Do you think for telecine work in 35mm, it is worth the extra hassle of lighting an interior shot like that for a 50 ASA daylight stock compared to, let's say, Vision 200T? Did you pick 5245 because you wanted as close to a grain less image as possible? Or because it would pick up subtle detail better in all that soft light?

It seems most commercial shooters would reach for the 5274 in such a situation, or maybe 5248...

The image had such a creaminess to it, I was thinking it was a low-con stock, not something as snappy as 5245.

Anyway, nice work!

David Mullen
Cinematographer / L.A.

I think it was worth the extra light for the '45, not a lot anyway, I seem to remember a 4K Par and a big Chimera, a 1.2 fresnel and lots of poly (beadboard in American )

I really like the mega clean look I can get with '45, I've never really got on with '48 although I am using it in a week for a Sony job.

The thing is that if you go for soft'ish lenses, soft lighting and a flying spot TK then you have just got to have something to put a bit of bite back into it!!


Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography

Hello everyone ,

Thank you so much for all of your advice. Mr. Boyle, thank you for your great examples, they look AMAZING.

A couple of quick follow up questions if you don't mind…

Does anyone know or have any examples of the SER. II and III in their original coating( to give a good idea of their contrast and color),rehousing and recoating these lenses is out of my league right now?

I have only seen SER III lenses usually in the 18mm and 25mm, every longer length is SER. II. Is there a reason for this?

Can someone describe some of the differences between these two series?

When were the Ser. II and III lenses manufactured?

Again, thank you everyone for all of your advice and help.


George Lyon

George Lyon wrote:

>I have only seen SER III lenses usually in the 18mm and 25mm, every >longer length is SER. II. Is there a reason for this?

It has taken awhile to dig this information from the Cooke archives...

The first Cooke Speed Panchros dates back to 1920 and was designed by H. W. Lee. The series now known as Series I (25, 28, 32, 35, 40, 50 and 75mm) dates back to the 1930s. The lenses were designed to cover standard format 0.631 x 0.868 inches.

Series II came out around 1945 and were designed to cover 0.723 x 0.980 inch format. Series II focal lengths : 18, 25, 32, 40, 50, 75mm and the 100mm Deep Field Panchros.

By the late 1950s, the Series III 18mm and 25mm came out in response to the need to cover the new wider screen presentation formats. The Series III 18mm design achieved a larger angular field of 80 degrees, a wide relative aperture of the 18mm, f/1.7 Series II 18mm, while maintaining the then modern standard of definition and resolution required for widescreen presentation. The Series III was also corrected for all aberrations.


Les Zellan


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