Cooke is back with more zoom lenses.
Two new Cooke Varotal/i FF Full Frame zoom lenses were introduced in November 2021 and released earlier this year: 30-95 mm T2.9 and 85-215 mm T2.9. And now, the duo becomes a trio. Please welcome the Cooke Varotal/i FF 19-40 mm T2.9.
They all have:
PL or LPL mounts.
Aperture range: T2.9 – T22
114mm front diameters.
112mm front screw-in filter threads
Maximum image diagonal coverage of 46.3mm Ø
280 degree rotation of focus scales.
48 degree rotation of iris scales.
Industry standard M0.8 lens gears.
Cooke /i Technology lens data contacts in lens mount and 4-pin connector
Familiar Cooke barrel, gearing and style
They look like Cooke, not only the images captured, but also the familiar hardened, shiny black anodized barrel, with uniform gearing and style.
Skin tones appear smooth and cosmetically gentle. They are compact, rugged and convenient for the current crop of smaller Full Frame cameras. These latest Varotals complement Cooke S7/i T2 and Cooke S8/i T1.4 Full Frame primes.
These things seem to go in cycles. Horace W. Lee designed the legendary Cooke Speed Panchros a century ago, in 1921. Fifty years later, in 1971, Cooke introduced the 20-100 mm T3.1 Varotal zoom, designed by Gordon H. Cook. Primes returned in 1998 with Cooke S4. Cooke’s 16mm format CXX 15-40mm T2.0 came in 2006. More primes followed.
And now, there are new Cooke Varotal/i FF zooms.
Then why would you want a new zoom when you have primes? It might be a creative reason—you might want to do a gentle push in as the actor reaches a dramatic moment, as we have done, using a Preston Microforce attached to the fluid head handle.
You might want to hide a dolly move with an elegant widening of the focal length.
You may be on a screaming streaming series with forty setups a day and every quick lens change adds up to an hour, time that could be saved with zooms that make you the hero of the day.
Of course, you will not abandon precious primes. Among many reasons, for example, Cooke S8/i primes open to T1.4 where beautiful bokeh blossom.
Lest anyone continue to harbour a misguided aversion to modern zooms as being less sharp than primes, then think of the Varotal/i FF series as Zoomable Primes.
The original Cooke Varo-Panchro 20-60 T3.1 introduced in 1981 may remind you of the new Cooke Varotal/i FF 30-90 T2.9. (Divide focal lengths by approximately 1.4 for the FF-to-S35 conversion.) The 35mm format Varo-Pancro was heralded as having the optical performance similar to a prime. And it didn’t breathe. You could rack focus from a close-up low angle to the far-away crowd and the image did not shift.
The new Cooke Varotal/i FF Zooms can work as “Zoomable Primes” when you don’t have time for lens changes. And, you get the advantage of more focal lengths than ever could fit into a single lens case.