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Canon Super Speeds F1.3


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#1 Bill Totolo

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 02:08 AM

I noticed a set of these lenses on ebay a couple days ago. Up until two days ago I never heard of them. Turns out they won an academy award for their design. The only DP I could dig up that used them was Oliver Stapleton on "Absolute Beginners".

After I inquired about the lenses the auction was ended early. The seller was also selling a complete set of Cooke Series II lenses and pulled those as well. Each set was going for $2,000.00

I guess I'm just curious about the history of these lenses. Anyone use them, do they hold up? Apparently back in the early 80's they were being compared to Zeiss.

Thanks,
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#2 Nick G Smith

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 05:36 AM

I think the auctions you saw were scams.

You can get a bit of information on Canon lenses doing a search here and on CML. There have been a few questions about them recently so I will try give a bit of information I have gleaned.

They are from the late 1970's early 1980's and marketed as Canon K35s and use aspherical elements.
The 24mm, 55mm and 85mm derive from the canon FD aspherical still lens. They were originally made with bncr mounts with later models supplied through Optex with either or dual bncr or PL mounts. Other sets have been retrofitted or rehoused with PL mounts. Optex and I think Century used to rehouse the 15mm (or is it 14mm?) 100mm and 135mm and maybe others from non aspherical Canon FD lenses.

The early sets, (Super Speeds?) consist of 18mm T1.5 cf 12", 24mm T1.5 cf 12", 35mm T1.3 cf 12", 55mm T 1.3 cf 24", 85mm T1.3 cf 36".
I have an old Samuelsons catalogue from 1994 which has 3 sets in : Canon Super Speeds, Ultra Speeds and Mk11 Super Canon. The difference being that the Super Canons have a 50mm instead of the 55mm and the focus marks glow in the dark. As with the later versions of the FD still lenses they may have an improved lens coating.

They have geared focus and aperture rings. Focus barrel movement on the 18mm/24mm/35mm is limited with approx 120º. The 55 and 85 are much better with approx 300º.

The set I have is sharp (sharpest at T 2.8). I find the breathing minimal and I like the colour and feel these lens give but this will always be subjective to the use and user.
The lens coatings are not as sophisticated as the comparable Zeiss lens and the flare from bare light sources can be unwanted.

Ed Lachman recently used them on 'I'm not there'. The ASC article said K4s - I think this is maybe how the later K35s are designated, I could be wrong. He used a number of different lenses on that film - Cooke S4s and Pancros - Canon K4s - Cooke and Angenieux Zooms. A great film to compare different glass. I liked the look of the Canons in the segment with Heath Ledger and Charlotte Gainsbourg - I also liked the look of the Pancros and old zooms, but then I do have a great affection for the look of old lenses.

Hope this helps.
Nick
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#3 Bill Totolo

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 10:20 AM

That was an amazing lesson, Nick. Thanks.

I didn't realize they were used in "I'm Not There".
The section you described had a nice feel to it.

What do you think a set of these lenses would cost today?
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#4 Nick G Smith

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 12:34 PM

The cost of lenses is relative to demand and at the moment demand is high for 35mm glass so it is a sellers market.

I've seen sets on sale from $1,500 to $14,000. It is possible to find a cheap set of K35s in bncr mounts. Converting them to PL can cost from $600 to $2000 per lens depending where you go.

Nick
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#5 rob spence

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 09:52 AM

Just one note of caution when buying any K-35s...some of them are now yellowed ( glass) rather like some of the old Cookes yellow
best
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#6 Robert Horwell

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 09:18 PM

I noticed a set of these lenses on ebay a couple days ago. Up until two days ago I never heard of them. Turns out they won an academy award for their design. The only DP I could dig up that used them was Oliver Stapleton on "Absolute Beginners".

After I inquired about the lenses the auction was ended early. The seller was also selling a complete set of Cooke Series II lenses and pulled those as well. Each set was going for $2,000.00

I guess I'm just curious about the history of these lenses. Anyone use them, do they hold up? Apparently back in the early 80's they were being compared to Zeiss.

Thanks,


The cookes on ebay were a scam. I sold that set over a year ago and they keep re-appearing from scam sellers. I have since purchased a set or century re-housed speed panchro cookes Ser II/III and i love them, geoff boyle has extensive experience with the speed panchro cookes and has shot numerous commercials on them that are viewable on this site.
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rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Willys Widgets

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

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