Cooke Series X- 9.25 in./f 2.5 Lens- Camera Body Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Robb Scharetg, May 16, 2006.

  1. Robb Scharetg

    Robb Scharetg Member

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    Hello

    I recently purchased a Cooke Speedic in the far less common 9.25"/f2.5 focal length. I have several of these in the 162mm/f2.5 length mounted on Graflex Cs and on a Speed Graphic.

    I can put the big Cooke on a Graflex 5x7 Reflex I have, or look for a Graflex Speed in 5x7-there's one Ebay right now, WAY too much $$$.

    They're wonderful lenses with a look that's not that common and I'd like to be able to use it to it's best advantage. Are there any other bodies or combinations that I should consider or look into?

    It covers 5x7, that's it. And I think it might be a bit long for a 4x5, plus I already have other speed portrait lenses for that focal length so I'd like to head towards a bigger plate.

    Any ideas are welcome. Thanks!

    Robb Scharetg
     
  2. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    Congratulations on a rare find. I have never seen one this long. I am curious what you find pleasing about them.

    In any case, where this lens belongs is on a 5x7 reflex camera. I think anything else would be a waste, unless you are shooting wet-plate or dags, in which case the speed is all that matters.
     
  3. Robb Scharetg

    Robb Scharetg Member

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    Hello JG

    It's a wonderful lens, albeit both big & heavy. The lens has a wonderful sharp/soft quality about it, the falloff generated by the extremely wide aperture really forces the eye to see what's being emphasized. In addition there is a slight "swirl" outside of the plane of focus. The tonal range on the negatives produced also has a nice look. Somewhat like an image shot with a 150/2.8 Xenotar, but the color palette is softer-if you're shooting color.

    Based on my research (which is limited) it IS a rare lens. This is the ONLY one I've ever seen, althought they are listed in the Cooke catalog. Apparently new they sold for $295 USD, sometime in the late 20's/early 30's.

    Robb
     
  4. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    If Cooke were made them today then they would cost at least $3500 to buy new!

    Lachlan
     
  5. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    The cost reflects EXACTLY the effect of inflation since then.

    My 1912 - ish B&L Portrait Unar would go today for..... $ 9000 !

    Besides the obvious comments to make about inflation,
    it shows just how D*mned expensive photography USED to be.

    df
     
  6. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    This is a HANDSOME lens: I've seen one, wish I could have run faster that day, I'd still have it. The old geezer didn't look that tough. But that's another story.

    The beast has an 81mm aperture. Gosh. That's like a 60mm f/.7 lens.

    It would be useable on a 4x5, but I agree that 5x7 will be it's best use. Shooting wide open, it will need that extra space around a head to make a pleasant overall image. But since I don't shoot 5x7 anymore, I bet I'd be more than happy with that bomber on 4x5, and so will you !

    The cool thing about a Cooke is the 4 air-glass surfaces mean it's actually transmitting a reasonable amount of light, like a Tessar.

    Which is why Bertele used the triplet as a starting point for his Ernostar and Sonnar high speed lenses.

    EDIT: The Speedic is a modified triplet too ! The rear cell is split, giving it 6 surfaces, not 4. Pretty durn good for a 1923 lens.

    Great find.

    SHOW US PICTURES !!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2006
  7. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    How much did you pay for it?
    Puts into perspective the cost of those new Schneider Fine Art XXL lenses doesn't it!

    Lachlan
     
  8. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    df, you're being more arithmetically challenged than usual. The VM shows what it says is a Speedic cross-section. Four air-spaced elements, eight (8! Count them! 8!) air-glass interfaces. The classic triplet has three air-spaced elements, six (again, 6!) air-glass interfaces.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  9. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    I've just found THIS and wonder what it will finally go for! :smile: If no one else bids for it then I might be tempted - then again I can get a late model Ektar 203mm f7.7 for the equivalent of $107!

    Lachlan
     
  10. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    This is the problem with these lenses, or at least the ones I have used; really serious FLARE.
     
  11. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Jason, one of my pen-pals, an english professional photographer, told me once that he'd used a 6" f/2.5 TTH and that he regarded it as the epitome of soft (my words, not his) when shot near wide open. I gather that one man's soft is another's interesting.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  12. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    Dan,

    Based on my use of 6 1/2" and 7 3/4" (?) Speedics I would have to agree. At full aperture these lenses--at least the ones I have used--were pretty soft; my f2.7 Tessar is sharper. No noticeable halation or aberrations. I suppose it has its appeal.
     
  13. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Thanks.

    The outer surfaces need to be counted, of course, and I assumed them.

    The thing that usually interests me with fast lenses is transmission, and I start counting furiously to get a grip on how much light is going to be bouncing around inside the lens when I want to be making a picture.

    Thinking about the problems of shooting the Speedic - and other pre WW2 uncoated 'speed' lenses - distracted my numerical attention. Good thing this keyboard isn't a table saw.

    df
     
  14. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    Indeed! I would be fingerless by now.