Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Cooke vs Angenieux Zooms

I am about to purchase a zoom.

The quandary is which one.

I will be renting it with my BL4s pkg. and I want to know from you all, should I go with the Cooke MKIII 25-250 (still currently being made by Cooke) or the Ang. 25-250 HP. $ is the same for both lenses. I cant seem to arrive at a decision. I am 3000 miles away from them and will be relying on a lens tech. as far as the image and technical correctness of the lenses. It will boil down to the majority opinion as far as other shooters are concerned as to what to buy. Because I would appreciate knowing your opinions as far as either lens matching my MK II Zeiss SuperSpeeds.

Thanks in advance,

Gerard Brigante


IMHO, the Cooke MkIII is a better lens than the 25-250 HP. Only drawback is a slightly warmer tint to the lens. But proper filtration, or colour correction will of course solve this. Mechanically, you'll get less breathing with the Cooke as well. T Stops are a little different but the MkIII at T 3.7 will work better for you than the Angenieux HP. The T stops tend to hold up better than on the HP. Bear in mind that both lenses will have ramping effect starting at 120mm or so and increase with the longer focal lengths, by between 1/2 and one stop, depending on the individual lens.

Other issue, of course, is the perceived sharpness of the lens, and I say perceived because many factors influence this. (contrast, chromatic aberrations, spherical aberrations, zoom mechanism alignment, state of the iris blades, etc...). But usually, the Cooke will offer better side to side resolution, and more predictable chromatic aberrations. Also, pin cushioning and barrelling will be kept to a minimum on the Cooke.

Neither lens will cut in very well with the cold blue feel of the MkII Zeiss lenses, but generally, people tend to prefer the more neutral tint of the Angenieux to the warmer Cooke, however, this is sacrificing many of the other attributes of the finer Cooke lens.

It all comes down to shades and hues in the end.

But the Optimo is another story...


Dir Operations
Groupe TSF, Paris

>....should I go with the Cooke MKIII 25-250 (still currently being made >by Cooke) or the Ang. 25-250 HP... I am 3000 miles away from them >and will be relying on a lens tech. as far as the image and technical >correctness of the lenses...

I've shot commercials for many years with my Cooke MKIII and MKII Zeiss SuperSpeeds without experiencing any grief from matching problems. Of course, once in telecine it becomes a moot point, but I'd certainly recommend the Cooke. Just on a personal experience basis, it's never let me down and it's great to work with.

I've heard by the way that the Angenieux is much more complex and harder to work on internally than the Cooke (please someone correct me if I'm wrong here) and this might be a factor in your choice.

Good can hardly go wrong.

Neil Reichline

If I had to walk into a dark room and pick up a lens I would hope it was the Angenieux HR (a lot better than the HP). If I had the chance to find a good one I would prefer the Cooke. There's a lot of terrible s/h Cooke 10:1 zooms around as they have been making the lens for a very long time.

Buying a s/h zoom lens requires a lot of testing by someone very knowledgeable ... so I would say ... Buyer Beware!

Oliver Stapleton

I buy all of my own kit and have researched the 25-250 lenses. The Mark II Cooke is/was a cracker and the Mk III was entirely a cosmetic change - they wanted it to look like a new lens, so they changed the front element to a larger one, this made the lens a shade faster T3.7 v T3.9, but also added over 3 lbs. - most importantly according to the factory the optical performance is the same and the lens coatings surprisingly were not changed significantly between the two.

Like all zooms this lens has a weak spot, on the 25-250 its 150mm. During the change in focal length 150mm is right where a cam has to reverse and when it kicks in the image suffers a bit. The Mk II was much easier to service that the Mk III and a full service on the innards would cost significantly less than a MkIII. The most expensive replacement part would be the front element at £2000. So a Mk II is very good value, especially if you get a 'good' one. Moreover because of low service costs a 'bad' one could be rebuilt as good as new relatively inexpensively.

You might want to consider a MkII and save a chunk of cash. Put both versions up on a projector and check them out.

Phil Savoie
BBC Natural History Unit - World Wide Wonderland

Oliver Stapleton writes :

>If I had to walk into a dark room and pick up a lens I would hope it was >the Angenieux HR

Agreed, but even the HR vignettes at close focus on the wide end which really sucks. Also it's slow, so you'd need an inky full spot, in your "dark room" just to see with the thing. But they're nice and sharp and versatile, I have them on most jobs because of that, and on the long end they can be real pretty, just watch flare etc...

Haven't used the old Cookes in years.

Nick Hoffman 600DP NY

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