S4/i Uncoated Cooke Look

Cooke now offers uncoated front elements for their S4/i series.

This is a lot more practical and affordable than a one-way ticket of blasting the coatings off your existing lenses. In fact, for not much more than the cost of a filter, two choices of Cooke looks—with regular and uncoated fronts—are now available for each lens in the set.

The Cooke S4/i series currently is: 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 25, 27, 32, 35, 40, 50, 65, 75, 100, 135, 150, 180 and 300 mm.

Coated and uncoated options were first introduced with Cooke miniS4/i primes. S4/i lenses can now be fitted with uncoated fronts. Existing owners and rental houses can have the front elements swapped by authorized service facilities or by rental house lens technicians. Light loss is about 10%, so depending on the lens, maximum T-stop is around T2.2 (instead of T2.0) with the uncoated front. Also, the lenses may (or may not) have to be re-shimmed or the focus scales shifted to correct for a slight difference.

The S4/i uncoated Cooke look is lower contrast, milkier shadows, weird aberrations, flares, and streaks. In a word: “vintage.”  Cooke chairman Les Zellan prefers the word “funky.” Cooke lens designers simply call it “uncoated” and leave it up to cinematographers to describe their creative compulsions.

Uncoated front elements can be ordered individually or as an entire set. Note that new Cooke S4/i lenses only come coated, but like all S4/i lenses, can now have their front elements replaced with uncoated ones.   

One caveat: uncoated front elements may stain or discolor with age. But, because they are easily replaceable, it’s a small price to pay.


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