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Thread: Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

  1. #1
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

    Hello everybody,

    I will visit a friend next month who is selling one of these; before I do so, I'd like to solicit any and all opinions on this lens with regards to its performance and image characteristics.
    The lens will be used for portraits, and whatever else I can think of.

    A few things to note:
    I am not a soft-focus fan, if this lens has a hint of soft-focus-ability, it's a deal-breaker. I know the other Cooke is the SF version, but just wondering if the XVa is at all soft.
    Sharpness is something I like and appreciate in a lens, and I can tone down the sharpness in a portrait, if needed.
    My favourite lenses are all Kodaks, including the 10" WF Ektar, 12" and 14" CEs.
    The measuring stick would be the 12" or 14" Commercial Ektar.

    Buying the Cooke would necessitate selling off almost all my current lenses, which also include a Dagor and Heliar (both 12" as well).
    The idea of having so much money tied up in one lens is both a little baffling and terrifying, but I'm curious nonetheless.
    Thoughts and opinions?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2

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    Re: Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

    This thread contains my assessment, albeit from the perspective of a field photographer:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...s-other-lenses

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    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

    Thank you, Eric; I'll go through it.

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    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

    I will have a demo Cooke XVa in my hands later this week, and I'll be comparing it with my Commercial Ektars.
    From what I have read and heard, the Cooke will easily surpass the Ektars in IQ and edge-to-edge sharpness, but choosing one over the other would still be a matter of taste.
    Anybody care to see results? I'll be posting them as soon as I can.

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    Christopher Barrett's Avatar
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    Re: Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

    I've been looking hard at that glass for a while now and wondering... The only detractor I've read about is an apparent focus shift between W.O. and stopped down. Please check that out and let us know... as well as any other opinions you may have. I owned a set of Cooke cinema lenses and their rendition and build quality were both superb!

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    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

    Interesting, as I have read that a nice benefit of the new Cooke is the apparent lack of focus shift, especially when using the single cells.
    See post #3: http://www.largeformatphotography.in...s-other-lenses
    But yes, I will see if any of that is true, though I am by no means any kind of expert lens tester.
    Just a guy who likes to shoot portraits.

    Two practical considerations keep me coming back to this lens (neither of them is price ):
    1. A modern shutter - all but one of my lenses is in an Acme/Ilex/Compound, and none of them work perfectly. A reliable modern shutter, well-maintained, should last years.
    2. It would be nice to replace all of my lenses, save the wide-angle lens, with the Cooke; carrying a two-lens kit would make travel much easier.

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    Re: Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

    Ari, go for it. Perhaps it will inspire you to make more, and better, pictures. If you use it and don't like it, sell it and get something else. I predict that it ain't no magic bullet, but I also predict that it's a very good lens.

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    Re: Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

    No focus shift that I've noticed. It's a sharp lens (all three configurations) that renders totality beautifully. I'm very pleased with mine. The only thing I'd like is a bit more image circle with the whole lens.

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    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

    Thank you both, Mark and Karl.
    I'll have time to try out the lens when it arrives later this week.
    I'll do what I can to provide a useful test of some kind.

  10. #10
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Cooke Series XVa Convertible - Opinions and Experiences?

    The Cooke is now here, I just picked it up from the PO.
    It's too dark outside at the moment, so testing will begin tomorrow.
    Meantime, here are some photos; it's a beautiful lens, substantial in size and weight, but not so heavy.
    Fit and finish are first-rate, optics and coatings look nicer than anything I've seen in a long time.

    Of course, the real question is: how does it perform?
    Tune in soon.

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