View Full Version : Cooke Series IIA portrait lens?

5-Dec-2009, 06:08
Someone locally is offering a very good looking studio camera, with a Cooke Portrait lens mounted. It's hard to see, but I'm sure I can read Series II, and pretty sure it is followed by a capital A. The camera comes with what seems as a half plate back and back that is larger then full plate, roughly measured as 9.8 to 11.8 inch. What lens could it be, and what would it be worth? I can't afford buying the camera, but if the lens is worth the price alone, I could buy the camera and sell the lens so I can get myself something big for plate photography. :rolleyes:

Steven Tribe
5-Dec-2009, 07:59
IIA is the interesting one with a degree of controled softness. There are many different types of softness control. Be careful! The soft control "ring/spectacles" can be unmoveable due to seized up interior mechanisms. Many of these IIA are quite descrete in appearance.

Steven Tribe
5-Dec-2009, 08:02
The size you measured is 10x12" which is a usual size for Studio and Century type monsters.

5-Dec-2009, 08:07
the Cooke IIA was called Portric and came in f/3.5 speed with a diffusion ring to add softness...

From Cooke's website:

"These early soft-focus lenses were sharp anastigmats that employed a diffusion adjustment allowing the photographer to distribute any degree of softness evenly throughout the plate. The most refined way to use these variably-soft lenses is to set the diffusion adjustment first, to give the amount of softness desired over the image, then afterward focus on the part of the subject you want to appear sharpest"


"The Cooke Series IIA, f/3.5 is an anastigmat lens of Cooke Triplet construction made from about 1909 to 1929. Focal lengths made after 1924 are 9.5 inch for 6.5 x 4 plate, 10.5 inch for 5x7 plate, 12.5 inch for 8.5x6.5 plate, and 15 inch for 8x10 plate."

Here is a pic of a 270mm ( 10.5 inch ) model http://www.flickr.com/photos/66795355@N00/1140307272/


5-Dec-2009, 08:13
The series IIA is a desirable lens as are most Cookes, but perhaps of slightly more interest to some folks because it is ƒ/3.5. Mine is marked 270mm and is luscious on 6 1/2 x 8 1/2. I paid $750 for it roughly 6 to 8 years ago.

It's too bad you can't afford to buy the whole camera if it is "very good looking" as you say.