View Camera Review Of Cooke Triple Convertible Lens

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mikewhi, Jul 28, 2004.

  1. mikewhi

    mikewhi Restricted Access

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    Hi:

    Anyone have any opinions about the review in the July\August issue? Personally, I was left feeling like it was a marketing piece for Cooke. There were many subjective comments like:
    'I can only describe the image as having a "lushness".'
    'There was "air" in the image.'
    'Like looking at the world after a spring rain'

    Since when did 'lushness', 'air' and 'spring rain' become the benchmarks for lens performance?

    The author said he was going to compare the performance of this lens to vintage convertible lenses, but that it was so much metter than them that it would be a waste of time and that the Cooke lens can hold i't own against modern lenses. Well, if that's the case, why not compare it to some of the modern lenses, then? Compare it in all 3 focal lengths. He says that the projected image does not lose quality wide open when used with a single element, but offered no proof. All we get is one somewhat blurry and flat picture of some cactus. Does he tell us how lines per mm the lens will resolve at each focal length compared to a good modern lens? That would interest me. The one technical figure provided was copied off the Cooke web-site.

    At the end, he even tells us that we should rush out an buy one because the supply is limited (Operators standing by!!).

    There was some unseful information on using the lens and a good description of it's use in the field. But at the end I had no hard information that would make me want to go out and buy one. It all seemed like hype to me.

    It could well be that the reviewer is right and I should rush out and but one, but at some $2500 (or more) for the lens, I'd need more than hype to get me to do it.

    Does anyone own one of these lenses? Can you give us some feedback on it's performance? Something other than 'I love it', etc? Have you done any comparision with it and modern lenses of similar focal length shootint the same scene and comparing prints.

    If this lens is a great one, I'd like to get one (I understand another batch is being manufactured as they sold out the first?).

    -Mike
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Gordon Hutchins is a very knowledgeable long time LF practitioner and if I was going to take somebody's word, he would be one. OTOH, like you say, perhaps not to the tune of $2500 dollars. I agree more technical comparisons should have been done before someone should recommend that we run a buy it.

    Also, you have to understand that VC is not a "Journal" but simply a photography magazine where the publisher/editor is not very technically knowledgeable. If you present an article with graphs, curves, MTFs, etc, he either will not understand them, or deem them too complicated to publish. In addition you have to limit yourself to 2 or 3 pages the most. All these constraints result in the authors of many articles in this magazine to be forced to write "puff" pieces with little scientific or technical background.

    If it is any consolation, although I dont own one (cannot afford it and I rather save my pennies for Jim's camera), the consensus from what I have read about it seems to be that it truly is a wonderful lens worth owning.
     
  3. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    I took Gordon's workshop over a 1 1/2 years ago. At the time he had only the orginal version of the lens. Cooke had been given one of the two orginals that he had to duplicate the lens. I saw pictures he had taken with the orginal lens. The new one, I saw at the LF conf. Again I saw some of the pcitures made using it. Then to my surprise, Per Volquartz was one of the people testing the lens. His images were stunning. Everything I have seen is remarkable in the clarity and detail of sharpness. I am impressed and hope the lens God's might take pity on redhead female photographers, and allow me to test one.

    If the article wasn't clear, Let me say without having used it, the images I have seen are wonderful. It in my opinion is well worth the money. But then I would still try to find a way to get it cheaper being me.
     
  4. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    I don't think it's the lens making Per's images what they are; he's a very good photographer.

    For the same price, I can get (and did) a mint used Fuji 600C, 450C, and 300C, and of course there are many other options in the 300mm focal length. This set is only marginally heavier than the Cooke, and I don't have to change lens cells in the field and deal with variable aperture scales.

    That said, I may actually get to test one in the future, and if so, I'll post the results or maybe even let APUGers suggest test shots or comparison shots then pass them around.

    Steve
     
  5. cjarvis

    cjarvis Member

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    Or you could buy an Emil Busch Vademecum for a song and have enough money left over to purchase, oh, I don't know, maybe a new 8x10. Modern doesn't always mean better, but I guess VC has a duty to showcase new products.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    It does look like an interesting lens, and I'm interested to read Gordon Hutchings' account, since he was involved in the development of the lens, but at the same time, I can read critically, and I know from other things he's written that his enthusiasm--which is delightful--might get in the way of his judgment.

    I think it's great that Cooke is developing these lenses, but they'll really need to show an advantage over the older lenses and new lenses, I think, to make them an economic success. For the price of their soft focus lens for 4x5", for instance, one could just as well buy a Verito with strobe sync added to the old shutter and an 8x10" camera, which is arguably a better tool for the job.

    The triple convertible is multi-coated and is supposed to be optically improved over the old version. These are attractions. I'd be interested in testing one.
     
  7. steve simmons

    steve simmons Inactive

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    Also, you have to understand that VC is not a "Journal" but simply a photography magazine where the publisher/editor is not very technically knowledgeable. If you present an article with graphs, curves, MTFs, etc, he either will not understand them, or deem them too complicated to publish. In addition you have to limit yourself to 2 or 3 pages the most. All these constraints result in the authors of many articles in this magazine to be forced to write "puff" pieces with little scientific or technical background. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


    This is pure BS. I understand H&D curves, lens diagrams, etc. My interest is uch more what photography can do in terms of image content and expessive values in the final print. Anyone who thinks they can boil photgraphy down to charts and graphs misses the point of the medium.

    Lets look at the misstatements in Jorge's comments.

    Many articles are more than 2-3 pages. In fact we do better job of showing portfolios and give them more pages than any magazine except possibly Lenswork

    We have pubished H&D curves many times over the years. Jorge however, tried sending an article on PMK and HD that we rejected for numurous reasons and he still seems angry at us. His article did not have H&D cures but some esoteric chart that few people could understand. He commnted at one point that millions of people would understand these charts but people who looked at them on his site also did not know what he was doing. For someon to submit an article that was as badly done as this one and then come on here and tell people that I do not understand technical things in photogaphy is hypocritical. When I did my work I offered to show the negatives for public review. When I challenged Jorge to do he same he claimed to have destroyed his PMK and HD negs. Now anyone worth their salt knows you NEVER destoy original research material. He seems to have destroyed the negs soon after being challenged about the results. In his article he did not give any exposure info other than to say that broad daylight exposure with FP4+and no filter was 4 seconds.Only when challenged by several people on another forum did he admit he treated the situation as an N-2. He did not discuss if he gave an adustment for reciprocity correction in this situation. I would never compare two developers, or to films, using an N-2 scene as ths is rather specialized. If I did would tell people up front what Iwas doing. When he wascriticizd by others for thesecharts he became abusive and insulting rather than backup and learn from others.

    Criticism is one thing and we can all learn and grow from construtive comments. But, however, much of the time the comments are wrong about what we are doing and come from people who have not bothered to check their facts. One criticism which we felt was fair was about our poof reading. In the last issueof each magazine we have added an extra layer of proofreading to try and correct this problem.

    Some magazines will fill pages with charts and cut back on the final images. We prefer to show photographs and show charts when they really provide useful informaton.

    steve simmons
     
  8. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    This grudge match between Steve and Jorge is tiresome. You both have good and probably valid points. I enjoy both Jorge's contributions to this forum and his photography. Steve's dedication to VC magazine must be applauded whether you agree with him or not.

    I'm not taking sides on this one, I would just rather see the hyperbol turned down a few notches.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Good point, Eric. A round of Glenmorangie for the house!
     
  10. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Eric, all I did was post my opinion and the reasons why I thought the Cooke article was not as good as it should have been. Once again, Simmons used this to adevrtise his magaznie. In any case, you know what is wonderful about APUG? The ignore list. Use it, you will grow less tired....:smile:
     
  11. bmac

    bmac Member

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    I totally agree, APUG has been a lot more fun for me since I started using the ignore list.
     
  12. mikewhi

    mikewhi Restricted Access

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    Thanks Eric. I was about to post and request that Jorge and Steve not hijack this thread and take it off course. They can use private messages or start another thread for that if they choose.

    I am really interested in this new Cooke lens and would just like to discuss it with the knowledgable people in this group. I wasn't attacking VC or Gordon, but I was disappointed in the review's lack of quantitative technical content and I was wondering if other people felt the same way and could offer something along those lines. I did get back some helpful comments from members and I hope others will jump in with info or comments. Perhaps VC will address the lens again soon with a more technical slant and comape the lens against modern lenses at all 3 focal lengths. I'm sure I am not the only one excited that a lens manufacturer like Cooke is not only not abandoning the LF market, but is actuallly releasing new products. I think it's great and I'd like to support them by buying their products, but I won't buy it as a 'novelty' piece, I need it to perform as I would want to use it in the field.

    Does anyone know anything about the availability of the lens? I understand the first production run was only 50 lenses and has sold out. True? Are more on the way?

    Thanks.

    -Mike
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    If you want some input into what Cooke is producing, check out the Cooke thread at www.f32.net. Barbara Lowry from Cooke Optics is following it, and seems genuinely interested in what people have to say.
     
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  15. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    this is a copy of the email Per sent me when he was testing the portrait lens. While it is not the triple you will see some of his photos while using a cooke lens. I have to wade through my old email to fine the one he did for the convertible.

    Date: Sat, 15 May 2004 20:04:39 -0700
    To: volquartz@volquartz.com
    From: "Per Volquartz" <volquartz@volquartz.com> View Contact Details
    Subject: Cooke PS945 first test...


    - never thought I wanted to purchase a soft lens! After all these years using Dagors, Apo Nikkors, Artars, Apo Sironars, etc. it never seemed that interesting to use a lens that was primarily designed for portraiture.

    Well, I was surprised!

    This particular lens gives a unique image quality, especially in BW, and processing negs. in Pyro. For years I have been searching for ways to create images that have a silvery, luminous quality.

    Now all I have to do is convince Becky, my wife that $3000 for this lens is worth every penny. An uphill battle perhaps but patience usual prevails...besides I don't need a new car anyway...

    Per


    Here is the first shot of a scene with limited depth. During the next week or so I will explore additional subject matter with more scene depth. This should make the smoothness of the out-of-focus areas more apparent...


    And oh yes, while the color rendition of this lens is great
    I prefer the BW image by far...

    http://www.volquartz.com/cooketests/bwpep1.html

    http://www.volquartz.com/cooketests/colpep1.html
     
  16. mikewhi

    mikewhi Restricted Access

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    That is a great link, thanks David. Also, Clive Russ has some info on the lens and a few pictures taken with it. You can see it at:

    www.cliveruss.com

    -Mike
     
  17. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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  18. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    It's interesting to see this thread come up (the original post, that is). I, too, had a similar reaction to the review of the Cooke XVa. In fact, after reading it a couple of weeks ago I made the comment to a friend that the article seemed more like an advertisement for the Cooke than it did a review. Perhaps the author was simply bowled over by the lens' performance. Nevertheless the overall tone was more along the lines of an "info-mercial". Certainly the bit about limited supply and the implication of possibly missing out on purchasing one if you wait too long only diminished the credibility of the review.

    Nevertheless I do hope that Mr. Hutchings' glowing remarks about the lens are a reasonably accurate assessment of its true performance. Time will tell. And perhaps someday I'll be able to try one, too. I think it's wonderful that Cooke is making the effort to cater to such a miniscule market. Large format photography deserves all the support it can get.
     
  19. kenmeyersphoto

    kenmeyersphoto Member

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    I have one...

    I received my new Cooke Triple Convertible in Early July. I purchased it from Badger Graphic and was fortunate to order it back in April. When I first received it and opened it, I was thrilled at the looks of the lens. The coating is like no other that I have owned or currently own. The lens is beautiful.

    My main purpose for the lens was to be able to lighten my backpack(assuming I don't need to give up quality). I have made around 20 negatives so far. I am quite pleased with the ease of use and the fact that I can cut out two lenses out of my bag (fuji 450c and fuji 600).

    The negatives look great. I am not an optical scientist. I contact print black and white negs. I intend to set up test shoot using the Cooke and comparing it to my Nikkor 300m, Fuji 450c and the Fuji 600.

    When focusing the lens, it looks good wide open. Looking at the prints I have made with the Cooke, they look quite pleasing....I need to do a side-by-side comparison with the above mentioned lenses.

    So far, I am very happy with the Cooke. When I get around to doing my test, I will post the results.
     
  20. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    How does one turn on the Ignore List? I can not seem to navigate to the area on apug.org that activates the list.

    Also, how does it work? Does it ignore discret threads by individuals or can one turn off entire topics?

    Sandy
     
  21. lee

    lee Member

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    Sandy,
    This may be what you want. On the main page under (just checked and you can get there from here) top of the page "Member Links" open that and there is a buddy/ignore list. Look there and see if that will work for you.

    lee\c
     
  22. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Lee,

    I can find an Open Buddy List but no Ignore list. The Open Buddy List is located on the main line between Mark Forums Read and Log Out. When I click on Buddy List there is still no Ignore List option?

    Sandy
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I have it when I click on "Member Links". Try refreshing the page in your browser. Maybe you have an old version in your cache. I think you can also get to the buddy and ignore lists via your profile. If refreshing doesn't work, try going to your profile.
     
  24. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Go to a post from a user you want to ignore. Then click on their name. The last option on the dropdown menu is add to buddy/ignore list. click on that. Type their name into the ignore section, and you're set. You won't see posts made by that user again.
     

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  25. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Thanks. I now see how this works.

    Sandy
     
  26. mikewhi

    mikewhi Restricted Access

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    So far, I am very happy with the Cooke. When I get around to doing my test, I will post the results.[/QUOTE]


    I'm very glad to hear from an actual owner! Thank you for responding. I would be very interested in the comaprisons with your other lenses. This is something I wish had been in the VC article. I know you're no scientist (neither am I) but subjective input from someone who can do this type of comparison would be very interesting. Will you do some formal testing\comparision or will it be rather informal? Anything you can provide would be of interest to me and others, I'm sure.

    Thanks.

    -Mike