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Thread: Cooke Series II Problem?

  1. #1

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    Cooke Series II Problem?

    Folks,

    I have a 10.4 inch Cooke Series II f:4.5 (left in the jpeg), which doesn't seem to diffuse very much, and when the diffusion ring is rotated, I can't see the glass move or the inner elements move. I also don't see much if anything on the GG. When I remove the front glasses and hold the front cell in alignment with the rar, I can see a lot of diffusion as I move the front cell in and out.

    In comparison, I have a Cooke 10.5 inch Series IIE "knuckler" (right in the jpeg), and when the knuckles are moved, the front glasses move about the depth of the built-in hood and the diffusion is apparent.

    So is the Series II "busted" or maybe it just moves the amount of the threads (not much)? Do the two lenses work that much differently?

    Thanks much, Steve

  2. #2

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    Re: Cooke Series II Problem?

    I figured someone would know something. Oh well. Here's the e-mail reply from Barbara Lowery of Cooke for the thread:

    "Hi Steve,

    There was a Series II as well as IIa, IIb, IIc, IId and IIe made back in the day. They were all portrait lenses and all f/4.5. TT&H showed 10.5 inch lenses in their catalogues for each of those lenses during their run, but note that it's become apparent now from what we've seen out there that each and every lens was tested before it went out of the factory and engraved according to it's particular characteristics. What you have is a 10.4 and not 10.5 lens, so it wasn't engraved 10.5. There were lenses made that were special-orders as well that deviated from the focal lengths published in the Cooke lens catalogues. From memory, I think I remember seeing a period after the "II" somewhere before as well. Not sure why that is.

    The Series II looks very old, probably about 1910 I think. The diffusion adjustment was rotated by the front element. 1908 catalogue: "The 10.5 and 13 inch lenses are provided with an improved means of diffusion adjustment which is operated from the front of the camera. This enables the photographer to secure at will uniform sharp definition or to introduce any required softness evenly throughout the plate."

    The Series IIe you mention with the knuckle grip was shown in the catalogues from the 1930s through about 1956. 1930's catalogue: ". . .60 percent greater diffusion graduated to five positions instead of three as hitherto. . . .Graduated scales for diffusion and iris diaphragm, always readable from the same position at the side of the camera."

    So, you're right, the IIe has more diffusion capability.:

    And:

    "Down the road, the plan is to make the XVa in 4x5 format."

    Cheers, Steve

  3. #3

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    Re: Cooke Series II Problem?

    Hi Steve,
    I'm sorry I can't help you with your answer, but I have a question for you: you said, that with series II you can't see much happening on GG. Do you have any negatives to show it's effect? Can you show us what is the difference between Series II compared to Series IIE?
    I would also like to know if you determine the construction of your Series II? And do you know, if it's somehow related to Cooke Anastigmat Series II lens?

    I have Anastigmat Series II on order, but since I'll not get it till October, I would like to learn as much as possible about this interesting lenses.

    Cheers,
    Marko

  4. #4

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    Re: Cooke Series II Problem?

    Marko,

    My lens is engraved The engraving on the front of the lens is "Cooke Anastigmat Lens" and "Series II. f/4.5 Focus 10.4 In".

    I don't have negatives from the knuckler as it was on loan and on it's way back. I think both are triplets, just that the knuckler moves the front glasses more. The diffusion is pronounced with the knuckler, and if I completely remove the Series II front cell and look through both cells as I manually move the front cell away, I can get what appears to be diffusion similar to the knuckler.

    So my conclusion is that if you want relatively more diffusion, the Series II Anastigmat with the ring doesn't move the glasses far enough. This is consistent with what the LCVM describes.

    Cheers, Steve

  5. #5

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    Re: Cooke Series II Problem?

    Marko, the Seriues II Cookes are all anastigmats, the letter suffixes indicating modifications that do not mean changes to the basic design.

    The Series II was Cooke's "ultra-rapid" (for the time) lens. It was made in a number of sizes, both with and without diffusion controls.

  6. #6
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Cooke Series II Problem?

    Steve said that Barbara said...

    "There was a Series II as well as IIa, IIb, IIc, IId and IIe made back in the day. They were all portrait lenses and all f/4.5..."

    The Series II was the Aviar, a WWI aerial lens that was popular as a general-purpose lens, but had no diffusion. The IIa was an f/3.5 adjustable diffision portrait lens, the IIb and IIc were f/4.5 portrait lenses, but the IIc didn't have the adjustable diffusion. The Series IIb was often just engraved "Series II".

    There was also a Series I f/3.1 portrait lens, and a Series IV f/5.6 Portrait lens.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  7. #7

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    Re: Cooke Series II Problem?

    Mark,

    If you're getting info out of the LCVM, it's at best incomplete for these lenses. My lens is marked as a Series II. with a period after the two which I find curious, but is not an Aviar and does have the rotating front cell and markings for "sharp" and "soft". The LCVM IIRC does mention a Series II Aviar, but my lens is apparently not an Aviar. jpeg attached.

    My lens is also marked as 10.4 inches, not 10.5 and I can find no references to it other than the information Barbara supplied that it might possibly be a special order or marked with a measured FL rather than the nominal FL.

    Marko, I'd be interested to see a jpeg of your lens and your impressions of it when you get it. I actually like my 10.4 a lot, but it is not very diffuse.

    Cheers,

    Steve

  8. #8

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    Re: Cooke Series II Problem?

    Uf this Cooke nomenclature is very confusing it looks. I searched quite a bit here and on APUG and what I found is: There were various "Series II" Cooke lenses. The Aviar that was not always engraved as such and it was also posible to be engraved Cooke Anastigmat Series II and it's not triplet, but dialyte, such as lens in this thread:
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ighlight=cooke
    and to me it looks like you have this lens, Steve. And if it is so, then explanation could be, that you don't see diffusion, because you don't have Cooke Portrait Series II as in this tread:
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...72810#poststop
    It should be easy to check this: dialyite shall have four strong reflections on each cell, while triplet shall have four strong reflection on front cell and two on rear cell.

    Of course, I'll let you know how will my lens perform, but it's a long way till October...

    Cheers,
    Marko
    Last edited by Marko Trebusak; 10-Jul-2009 at 11:36. Reason: typing faster than thinking

  9. #9
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Cooke Series II Problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hamley View Post
    Mark,

    If you're getting info out of the LCVM, it's at best incomplete for these lenses. My lens is marked as a Series II. with a period after the two which I find curious, but is not an Aviar and does have the rotating front cell and markings for "sharp" and "soft". The LCVM IIRC does mention a Series II Aviar, but my lens is apparently not an Aviar. jpeg attached.
    I'm going more from the old Cooke catalogs and a few of my own Cooke lenses. I have a 13" f/4.5 Series IIb, and it doesn't get very soft. I also have a 12.5" f/3.5 Series IIa, and it does get pretty soft. You'll often hear the the Cooke portrait lenses have a "very subtle" soft focus effect, and I wonder if this comes more from people using the Series IIb? (Never thought much about it before...)

    I agree with Marko, the Cooke numbering system can get a little confusing, especially with the wide variety of lenses they made and the individuallized markings and custom work they produced.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  10. #10

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    Re: Cooke Series II Problem?

    Hi Steve,

    I went through this thread again. Since you said, that your lens have soft-focus adjustment, then indeed it shall not be Aviar. But I'm puzzled even more, as your lens is engraved "Cooke Anastigmat Series II" and not "Cooke Portrait Series II". So can you share a bit more information about this lens? Because the one I'll get is engraved the same "Cooke Anastigmat Series II" and have soft focus adjustment.

    And can you post some more photos of your lens, especially side view.

    Cheers,
    Marko

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