Testing the miniS4/i Cooke Lenses with the Canon C500

The miniS4/i Cooke lenses are T2.8 prime lenses from Cooke Optics in the Arri PL mount. They come in focal lengths of 18mm, 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 75mm, 100mm and 135mm.

These lenses are for those productions that can’t afford a Cooke S5/i or S4/i. According to Cooke:

…the miniS4/i’s are designed for motion photography and they don’t breathe.

The lenses are one stop slower than the S4/i, as a result they can be smaller and lighter.

All Cooke lenses are colour matched. This means miniS4/i and S4/i lenses can be mixed on a shoot with full confidence that the images will match.

Cooke also allows you the option to replace the front and rear elements, uncoated:

For those who want a softer contrast, more flaring and an “older” lens look and feel.

Cooke miniS4/i lenses are now available with uncoated front and/or rear elements. Offered as a set of 6 (18-100mm) and individually for 40mm, 65mm and 135mm, they can be swapped with the standard coated elements by a qualified lens technician.

Here’s a video showing the difference between coated and uncoated, by Jeremy Benning:

Here’s a tour of the Cooke factory in Leicester, U.K:

Cooke Optics can trace its origins back to the dawn of the movies in the 1880s and has originated many innovations over the years, including zoom lenses for movie cameras, “fast” prime lenses that eliminated the need for bright lights, and more recently its ground-breaking /i Technology and anamorphic lenses.

Dave Leitner of Cooke Optics tested the miniS4/i with the Canon C500 to see how well it performed, and has shared four videos:

Codex S recorder used to Capture 1920 x 1080 at 23.98 p (24 fps equivalent)
no compression
RGB 4:4:4 for full color space
12-bit for wide dynamic range
Canon Log to protect 12-stop latitude
ISO 850 for best Canon Log results
high MTF due to C500 4k sensor
no visible aliasing
no deBayering, no recostruction errors
signle 3G-SDI link
no lens filters used in these scenes
To record 59.94p, Codex S used 3:1 compression to input RGB 4:4:4 10-bit from the C500
To record 119.88p, Codex S used at 3:1 compression to input YCC 4:2:2 10-bit from the C500
Set of 9 compact Cooke miniS4/i prime lenses – T2.8: 18mm, 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 75mm, 100mm, 135mm

Update 19th March 2014: Cooke Optics have uploaded more videos:

Texture:

Night:

Golden Hour:

Color:

There’s a reason why Cooke is considered the gold standard (along with Arri and Panavision) in filmmaking imagery.