Uncoated Cooke S4s Give DPs More Options
Cooke S4s, some of the most popular cine quality lenses, are now available with uncoated front elements for a more vintage look.
Cooke lenses have long been known for their creamy, soft look as opposed to the cleaner, sharper look of their main competitor Zeiss. Now Cooke will enable filmmakers to take that look even further by offering a set of S4 glass available without the front element coating, extending on an option that was already available for the miniS4s. Removing the coating on the front element creates an image that is noticeably softer and lower in contrast, with increased flaring of highlights and reflections, giving a more vintage feeling to the imagery.
The new uncoated front elements are available from Cooke for any of the S4 or S4is that are currently in the field. Unlike the miniS4s which were available with both the front and rear element coating removed, it appears as if only front elements will be available for the full size S4 line. Switching to an uncoated front element not only changes the image quality, but also generally shifts focus, requiring the lens to be re-calibrated to the new focus scale, slowing the lens down. The S4 line is generally T2, and the uncoated versions come in at a T2.2.
Notable uses of uncoated lenses include the uncoated vintage glass used in Saving Private Ryan, and uncoated Speed Panchros used by Hoyt Van Hoytema on Her. Panavision has long offered an uncoated set for rent, but Cooke's offering is definitely one of the widest programs for owner-operator purchase of uncoated lenses.
Owners and rental houses who already have S4s in their collection can have the front element swapped out to an uncoated variety by contacting Cooke directly. Cooke miniS4/i Lens uncoated front and rear elements are available currently from B&H.