View Full Version : New Cooke XV Tripple convertible, any experience ?

Ed Burlew
29-Jul-2004, 06:11
I read the article in View Camera this month and I looked at the Cooke website. But I need to know of other users of this lense as to its quality and practicality. I already have Rodenstock, Schneider and Fuji lenses in these focal lengths and I wonder if the convience of the tripple is a good investment. Because I am in Toronto there is no dealer within 1,000 miles so I ask for personal observations. I know it is cute and wonderful and it will lessen the package I drag around but when I am taking two other lenses off the weight list I am getting a 4.5 lb reduction. There is more to this too . Is the quality of the lense better than the multi coated Rodenstocks, Schneiders and Fujis or just the same. I shoot primairly color negative and do 30x40 inch prints. WIll I notice a diffference in the print?

Don Wilkes
29-Jul-2004, 09:43
There's a bit at the following photographer's website: http://www.cliveruss.com/cooke/cookexva/cooke%20xvaproto/cookexva.html

Also, see the LF discussion area of F32.net, under lenses. There was much chat about this lens before and after its release to the public, including comments from Barbara Lowry, of Cooke: http://www.f32.net/cgi-local/discus/discus.cgi

Don Miller
29-Jul-2004, 13:23
I would like to see a quantitative test too. I think you will see a difference in prints. Any convertible lens will not be quite as sharp and contrasty as the best single focal length lens from 8x10 at 30x40.

The reason to buy it is weight savings and coolness.


Michael Kadillak
29-Jul-2004, 18:20
I believe that Don has it right. Convertables will always suffer in the performance department but rightfully point to a lighter more compact "load" as the closer in the sales department. I will admit that when I read the recent article on this lens in View Camera and evaluated the specifications, the only way I felt making a commitment to the Cooke convertable made sense was when you owned two sets of the lenses so you could take the concept of converting it to the highest degree possible and expand the realized focal lengths.

The downside is that this would financially set you back to the tune of $4,400 plus the cost of Copal #3 shutter. Considering the alternative of owning a set or modern plasmats that would give you marvelous and very predictable results, those that are either romanced by the history of these lenses or have the financial resources and simply want to give them a go will quickly snap up the initial offering of 50 lenses. How many show up on the used market at reduced prices down the road will indirectly point to the realized quality because it is my experience that LF shooters are not ones to accept any compromise in print performance no matter how small or lighter the lens may be to take with you into the field.


Mark Sampson
30-Jul-2004, 08:24
I think I read in the VC article that the production run of this lens is something like 50 total. Finding anyone who has used one at all, much less extensively enough to really evaluate its capabilities will be difficult- finding all the secrets of such a complex device will take many photographs and a good bit of time. Not to mention flawless technique and a good eye for lens characteristics- but I guess we can take those things for granted among the readers of this forum.

John Z.
10-Dec-2004, 20:26
I understand a second run of these lenses is being produced in the next few months, and one can be pre-ordered now through dealers. One thing that might make this lens better, at least implied by the magazine article, is a more sophisticated anti-reflective coating that Cooke is supposedly known for. Certainly it will be a far superior lens than the old uncoated Cooke triple lens.

Walt Calahan
4-Oct-2005, 11:15
Just got my Cooke XVa last month. SS# 065. Clearest glass I've ever own. Modest size for a three in one lens, so saves room in the backpack.

I'm using it on a KB Canham light weight 8x10 wood field camera. The front standard holds the weight of this lens well.

I'm waiting on my first sheets of film (Fuji NPS 160) for my extensive test, but I did shoot a few sheets of out of date Fuji RDP as a quicky test when I gave a lecture and demonstration at a local college's "Intro to Photography" class. What was in focus (shooting at f/22) was beautifully sharp and snappy. All were shot at the 311 mm focal length. Will explore the other two length options later.

Gurdon Miller
18-Jan-2006, 12:37
My set covers 7"x17" and 11"14," although I have only used it extensively with the former.

In my experience, the lens is sharp all the way to the edges of the negative. It has good contrast.

I like the quality of the prints I have made.

I am enthusiastic about it and hope Cooke produces more lenses for the large format user, particularly the ULF user.

I wish I made portraits. Then I could buy the soft focus lens.

I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about the lens's performance.

Has anybody else found the coverage bigger than advertised?

My fantasy lens from Cooke would be a set for 12"x20" and a wide angle to go with it.