CamTec is one of those rental houses with a love of tweaking and experimenting on cameras and lenses—like many of their DP customers with similar symptoms of Retrofit Syndrome. CamTec’s workshop benches, adjacent to their busy rental checkout area, are scattered with a vast array of lens elements, mechanical parts and test equipment. Jay and Kavon Elhami and their crew are constantly on the lookout for perfectly fine lenses to modify, rehouse, decoat or recoat.
Their recent success reworking and recoating ZEISS Ultra Prime spherical lenses (more flares and less contrast) led to a new project—recoating Cooke Anamorphic primes.
Kavon said, “The success of our Ultra Prime project taught us a lot about coatings and the characteristics our clients like. So we decided to turn our attention to anamorphics. We presented some ideas to Les Zellan, Chairman of Cooke Optics. He was willing to listen and we worked together, sending ideas and test images back and forth between Burbank and Leicester, England.
Initially we wanted to buy the uncoated elements and do it ourselves. But Les was kind enough to take many of our ideas and do the work at the factory. We pushed hard to make it happen, and the results are very rewarding.”
Cooke Optics heard similar requests from other companies, but not as persistently. As a result of their efforts, Camtec got the first set of Cooke Anamorphic/i SF lenses. The “SF” abbreviation is left to our imagination: Special Flares, Such Flair, So Fine… They are quintessentially flarey anamorphic primes when lights are in the shot or you neglect to flag. The mechanics, barrels and elements are all the same as the original Cooke Anamorphic/i set. It’s just the coatings that are different.
Les Zellan, Chairman of Cooke Optics, said, “With cinematographers clamoring for unique and different looks, we listened when CamTec and others approached us to make an additional Anamorphic set taking the “look” even further than we did with the new Anamorphic /i series. The way we tackled the problem was to rethink the lenses in such a way as to keep the design and mechanics standard, to maintain ease of service and availability of parts, but at the same time giving cinematographers another paintbrush. We did this by working with the coatings in the cylindrical section. We are now delighted to offer not just one but two versions of the Anamorphic Cooke Look. The two sets complement each other; the “look” of the lenses is definitely related, just a bit different. As such, we believe they will work hand-in-hand together and the cinematographer will select the series that is right for the story.”
Having two sets could also be useful on productions that, for example, span different time periods or call out for two different styles.
So—cinematographers now have two variations of the Cooke Anamorphic Look, in all focal lengths from 25 through 300 mm. They will be at Cooke’s NAB Booth in April: C8344