Many cinematographers love the look of anamorphic lenses. Many others are quite fond of Cooke Optics because of their distinctively warm and creamy aesthetic, lovingly known as the "Cooke Look." Imagine the delight of cinematographers all over the world when Cooke announced during last year's NAB that a brand new line of high-end anamorphic cinema lenses was in the works. Pure elation. Now we've got some of the first test shots to surface from these world-class anamorphic lenses, and the results are just what you'd expect, optical excellence and pure cinematic beauty.
The following two videos contain anamorphic test footage from two different cinematographers, John De Borman and Patrick Blossier respectively.
To my eye, these lenses look to have everything that one could hope for with anamorphic glass. They are sharp (from corner to corner, no less) and contrasty, but with the gentle sense of warmth and smoothness that one would expect from Cooke lenses. The breathing from focus shifts is far less dramatic than many of the competing anamorphic lenses on the market, especially the older ones.
Additionally, Jon Fauer managed to snap off a sort of "stress test" shot with the 40mm anamorphic to see how it hold up in conditions that would normally cause some strange optical artifacts. Click the image for full size:
And here's what Fauer had to say about the shot:
The beard is sharp, the skin tones are smooth, and there is remarkably no internal barrel flare from the desperately overexposed window. The shadow area retains detail. The pitch black area at far right remains black. Anamorphically funky and nice!
Overall, these Cooke anamorphics look to be a fantastic option for discerning cinematographers looking to combine the Cooke and anamorphic aesthetics. Without any doubt, it looks like a match made in heaven. These new lenses should be released within the next few months, most likely at NAB 2014.
What do you guys think of the test footage from these new Cooke anamorphic lenses? Do you like the combination of the Cooke Look with anamorphic optical characteristics? Let's hear your thoughts down in the comments!