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The Lost History of Cooke Lenses


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#1 Robert Daniel Martin

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 12:31 PM

Intent:

This post seeks to inform both historical, technical, and specific Cooke Lenses used on certain films of personal interest for the purposes of future projects. Thus, the numerous questions are to attain a starting by based of an accurate “frame of reference” when moving forward in choosing lenses to create a baseline image. In addition, when referring to “the Look” of a particular film, it goes without saying that filters, diffusion, LUTs, color palette, production design, HMU, films stocks and processing, affected the look of these films... so let’s avoid that divergent discussion.

 

After extensive research of the three sources below, attaining answers to my questions have been spotty at best.

Sources:

http://www.musitelli..._by_FDTimes.pdf

https://www.cookeopt.../t/history.html

http://cookeoptics.t...sf/b/index.html

 

These five films span cinema history using various shooting formats and lensing systems (of which I am seeking information on) to which created stunning visual presentations. Let begin:

 

 

  1. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

I think it’s safe to say that this masterpiece was shot on the Cooke Telecentric lenses for Technicolor

 

INFO: “It became evident the provision of a beam-splitting prism behind the objective in the Technicolor 3-strip camera made it impossible to use the wide angle objectives available at that time. The problem was to provide a lens of short focal length and wide relative aperture having the long back focal distance necessary to clear the prism whilst maintaining the high standard of definition expected from a Cooke lens. The most notable feature of these lenses, however, is the inclusion in the 30mm design of what might be called the inverse telephoto principle, whereby the back focal length is considerably longer than the equivalent focal length.”

 

Q1) Will these lenses work on modern digital sensors. (Alexa, Red, Panavision DXL2) and/or film cameras using modern film stocks?? I want to find and use them. Either or viable shooting format will work for me…

 

 

Q2) Why have these lenses seemingly disappeared?? They are referred to as, “Special Cooke Speed-Panchro Lenses” with an amazing F 1.3! There are numerous rental houses with rehoused Cooke Panchro’s but I have never seen a set of the Techinicolor Panchros. I’d be willing to even buy a set of these lenses and rehouse them… yet how could countless sets have dropped out of circulation?! Does anyone know of a rental house in the US (or seller) with the original Technicolor Cooke Panchros?

 

 

Q3) In researching photos of these lenses, I have also discovered what are known as the Cooke anastigmat for technicolor lenses BUT at f2…. Are these it but a later model or are or they something else? Admittedly, I do not understand or know what “Anastigmat” means.

http://www.kevincame...ke/technicolor/

 

 

  1. Casablanca (1942)

I am presuming this film was shot on the Cooke Speed Panchros Series I since the Series II came out three years later in 1945. As referenced above. The Panchros have had a resurgence with combining rehoused Series II/III into a single rental/purchasable set.

 

According to the sources, Series I are uncoated and rehoused versions of the Cooke Series O f2.0 OPIC lenses introduced in 1925. The Pancros were officially released in 1930. The Cooke Speed Panchro f/2.0 Series I were offered in 11 focal lengths: 24, 28, 32, 35, 40, 47, 50, 58, 75, 100 and 108 mm

 

Q1) Does anyone know of a rental house with a set purely of Series 1??  I have yet to find this option or even see test footage of the original series I. Same goes with a set of Series O OPIC lenses: these could also be rehoused into a set with PL mounts. Where have these original Series O and I lenses disappeared to??

 

 

The 1945 Series 2 came in 6 focal lengths: 18, 25, 32, 40, 50 and 75mm. The Cooke Speed Panchros Series III came out in 1954 with specifically the 18 & 25mm having a faster f1.7, and larger image size to cover Vistavision. Source: “Both the 18 and 25 were of reverse telephoto construction and also released in the mid-1950s”

 

Q2) In other words, it appears these two focal lengths for FF VistaVision use the same design principle as the Technicolor Special Cooke Speed Panchros… So did we just confirm the question above that the Technicolor Panchro’s are compatible with modern cameras?

Also, do the rest of series III, or even series I, II and technicolor/Series O’s have the ability to cover the 8 perf 35mm neg and/or a digital 8k FFVV sensor???

 

 

Source: “In 1960, Director of Photography Russell Metty, ASC, used Cooke lenses with a Delrama anamorphic adapter to film "Spartacus" in Technirama. The 35mm negative was converted via Panavision printer lenses to a 70mm print.”

 

Q3) So what it the delrama that provided the x1.5 squeeze which was in combination with a set of  spherical FF VV Cooke lenses?? If so, then what were these original VV Cooke lenses???  

 

 

Q3) Why would rental houses be combining Series II/III to create a single set? This seems haphazard when at least the series III 18 and 25mm have a totally different image magnification/coverage area compared to rest. Please confirm and/or correct the assumption that these two lenses will capture and different look/feel to the rest. I haven’t located a source revealing the rest of the series III were released in a larger matching FF VV capture size as well… so then generally speaking, do the Series II/III’s have an indistinguishable look to?  

 

 

Source: The newly released Cooke Panchro/i Classic, T2.2 “recreates the same look and feel of the original, with the advantage of modern glass, mounted for today’s cameras.”

 

Q4) Regarding coverage/image magnification and overall look, are these new Panchro/i’s most akin the Series I, II, or III?

 

 

Source: “By 1955, nearly every 35mm film camera in use throughout the world was equipped with Cooke Panchro, Speed Panchro or Super Speed Panchro lenses.”

 

Q5) My goodness what is happening— convoluted Branding issues??  When did only Cooke Panchro and then a Super Speed Panchro come in? Okay, when physically holding them in your hand, what names are actually etched into the front barrel of the lenses of the three series… or are there in fact five series? Heheh

 

 

  1. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

A new era! It was shot in CinemaScope at 2.55, yet I cannot find any information as to which brand/make and model of lenses were used – not sure if even Cooke’s or something else. All I can gather is this film, like East of Eden, were ‘presented’ in anamorphic.

https://www.imdb.com...ref_=tt_dt_spec

But… you can tell the lenses (or perhaps the anamorphic adapter utilized) are much different between the two films. The latter, Rebel, has far less edge distortions.

 

Q1) Were these first ‘Anamorphic’ CinemaScope films using actual anamorphic lenses or something like a “Delrama anamorphic adapter” attached to spherical lenses? If so, were they attached in front or behind? Plus, with these adaptors, focus had to be pulled simultaneously on both at the same speed??  

 

Q2) I would love to use whatever the actual lenses were on “Rebel” on a modern camera BUT if it were not a real anamorphic, then I suppose that’s out of the question. Therefore, are the one or two first ever released adaptor-free anamorphic lenses for 35mm film coverage— And therefore, the first one from Cooke?

 

 

  1. Sound of Music (1965)

A new era: This was shot on large format 65mm film.

 

This film is touted in both webpages and videos as being shot on Cooke lenses...

https://www.cookeopt...with-cooke.html

http://cookeoptics.t...-spotlight.html

 

 

Q1) So why has it never publicized which stunning set of Cooke’s were used? In fact, there is NO HISTORY on any of these three sources regarding FF, anamorphic, or large format Cooke image capture lenses from 1950-70s. I’m doubting in 1965 they were using some sort extender adaptors for large format? Which large format spherical primes and/or zooms were used for this 70mm film?

 

 

Shotonwhat does state it used the Todd-AO camera aperture and anamorphic camera aperture. This seem like a contradiction… like 2001 Space Odyssey and Lawrence of Arabia (which used the Super Panavision 70 camera format… which is the same) I am pretty sure this film did not use anamorphic lenses

 

Q2). This brings me to my most amateur question but which may or may not factcheck my hunch: Do the vintage anamorphics from the 60s/70s have the ability to cover the entire 5 perf 70mm film format? If so, are these x2 squeeze lenses still squeezing x2 or is it reduced to 1.5 (like when using 35mm 8 perf FF VV) or reduced x1.3? If the squeezed are reduced… how so?

 

 

  1. Apocalypse Now (1979)

I believe this film was shot with Cooke lenses as is referenced in these Cooke produced videos and Shotonwhat lists as Technovision lenses with an anamorphic camera lens aperture.

http://cookeoptics.t...g-lenses-1.html

I’m fairly certain Apocalypse was shot using the Cooke Xtal Express Lenses. Please confirm. 

 

 

Q1) This begs the question, what the heck are the Cooke Xtal Express made by Technovision and what are is the Cooke anamorphic set of which they modified to create these?

 

 

Q2) This does suggest Cooke did have an anamorphic series during the period in question, So what were the different series/makes/models available and why have then gone unspoken of and missing from circulation to rental houses today?

 

 

Q3) I read these were the favorite lenses of Vittorio Storaro, were made and/or converted by Joe Dunton at Technovision, but now the Panavision Paris gobbled them up and are the sole rental house for these sets—Hopefully not true. Where can one rent these in the US?

 

 

Conclusion:

There you have it: The murky and forgotten history of Cooke lenses in the eyes of today’s emerging filmmakers in the digital era. As a Cooke enthusiast, filmmaker and consumer wanting to get hands on the glass used in these five films – Please do help! Use of these lenses (Technicolor Panchros, Panchro series I, original CinemaScope anamorphics, original 70mm large format spherical Cookes, and the 1970s anamorphics like the Xtal Express) will guide in the ability to weave classic looks into the current and future image capture formats. Let the discussion begin...


Edited by Robert Daniel Martin, 10 July 2018 - 12:32 PM.

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#2 Mark Dunn

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 02:30 PM

There won't be "countless" sets of Technicolor lenses- there were only ever about 50 3-strip cameras.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 10 July 2018 - 02:31 PM.

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#3 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 05:51 PM

IQ1) This begs the question, what the heck are the Cooke Xtal Express made by Technovision and what are is the Cooke anamorphic set of which they modified to create these?

 

 

Q2) This does suggest Cooke did have an anamorphic series during the period in question, So what were the different series/makes/models available and why have then gone unspoken of and missing from circulation to rental houses today?

 

 

Q3) I read these were the favorite lenses of Vittorio Storaro, were made and/or converted by Joe Dunton at Technovision, but now the Panavision Paris gobbled them up and are the sole rental house for these sets—Hopefully not true. Where can one rent these in the US?

 

 

 

The Xtal Express are not conversions of Cooke Anamorphics. They're based on Cooke Speed Panchros, I believe. The anamorphic elements were added in the conversion by Joe Dunton. Panavision Hollywood has a set, and I think there is a set in London too. They are not super hard to find.


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#4 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 10:58 PM

Lots of questions here, you might want to ask just a few at a time to get better answers!

 

Firstly, the Cooke history webpage is not necessarily a reliable source, I question some of the dates it lists. Leo Vale wrote about some of the errors in this cinematography.com post:

http://www.cinematog...=29079&p=218511

 

If you're serious about researching cinematographical history, you're better off looking through old American Cinematographer issues, cinematographer biographies and technical literature like SMPTE journals. I wouldn't call reading 3 internet sites"extensive research".. ;)  

 

As such, take the following information as a starting point, rather than definitive. I've spent some time researching the history of cinematography lenses, but it's not a well covered area, so some of my conclusions are speculative.

 

The 3 strip Technicolor cameras used on Wizard of Oz used beam splitters behind the lens to seperate the colours on to 3 films, so the lenses needed to not only have a longer back-focus distance than had been necessary before, but also needed to correct for any aberrations the prisms introduced. Much like lenses for reflex Bolexes or 3 chip video cameras, I would imagine they wouldn't have worked optimally on normal cameras that don't have that extra chunk of glass in the light path. Some of the lenses for 3 strip cameras may have been repurposed when Technicolor became obsolete. (This is definitely speculation on my part!)

 

Anastigmats were simply the term often used in the early 20th century to describe lenses that were corrected for astigmatism.

 

There are Series 1 Speed Panchros floating around, but due to their smaller image circle, earlier design and uncoated elements they haven't been favoured over the later series for refurbishment or rehousing. I don't know anyone who has a set.  Later Speed Panchros with some diffusion would probably give you a similar look. There may be newer sets around with the coatings removed, which was a fad a few years back. Series 0 Opics seem to be quite rare, and may not have even been made for cine formats.

 

The series III 18mm and 25mm are usually included in sets because they have a better reputation than the earlier versions of those focal lengths (if there even was a series II 18mm). They match the other lenses just fine - no difference in image circle size if memory serves, and similar coatings.

 

None of the Speed Panchro lenses cover Vistavision or FF, they were 35mm cine lenses. According to the Cooke history page, the series II Speed Panchros were made with slightly larger image circles to cover the Silent Aperture, which is just the whole 4 perf 35mm aperture without a soundtrack. Leo Vale thought they may have come out in the 50s when widescreen formats began appearing, with the series III coming in the early 60s.

 

Early anamorphics used a taking lens with an anamorphic adapter, later ones incorporated both into a single housing. Technovision was (I believe) a French firm with Italian branches that made anamorphics using (usually) Cooke Speed Panchros and Japanese anamorphic elements, which was what Storaro used on Apocolypse Now. He also used a Cooke zoom (either a 20-100 or 25-250) with an anamorphic rear adapter.

 

Joe Dunton was a British camera engineer who developed similar anamorphics under the name of Xtal Express, but he was not connected to Technovision AFAIK. You should be able to rent Xtal Express lenses from any Panavision branch, the inventory is worldwide and can usually be shipped between branches if available.

 

Cooke made gazillions of lenses over the 20th century, for all sorts of gauges and formats. There are lots of different names.

 

For info on anamorphic and other widescreen formats check out the excellent online widescreen museum. Here's its section on Cinemascope:

http://www.widescree...een/wingcs1.htm

 

Rebel Without a Cause was probably shot on Cinemascope lenses by Bausch and Lomb. We had a set at the last rental house I worked at (the owner was an avid collector), but they were too difficult to convert to PL, and would have been pretty subpar compared to later anamorphics. They notoriously over-stretched faces at close distances, causing what was referred to as "the mumps", which was why Panavision's anamorphic lenses soon became the Hollywood standard - they had a patented feature that kept the squeeze constant.

 

The Sound of Music was shot on a 65mm Todd AO Mitchell BFC like this one:

https://www.ebay.com...4-/252779371451

The same seller even has a (probably) Cooke lens made for the format:

https://www.ebay.com...s-/282827615693

 

Originally the Todd AO lenses were made by the American Optical Company (hence the AO): 

http://www.in70mm.co...vol_3/index.htm

but by the mid 60s they had probably got Cooke to make some. Pretty rare I imagine. These would be specialised spherical 65mm format lenses, with the focal length not marked, rather the angle of view specific to the format.

 

Panavision made some large format anamorphic lenses back in this era, the 1.25X Ultra Panavision lenses used on the original Ben Hur (and recently rediscovered for Hateful Eight and Rogue One), and the 2X squeeze Super Panavision line as used on Lawrence of Arabia:

https://www.panavisi...gs/large-format

These lenses are refurbished and can be rented nowadays (although somewhat busy so not always available).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#5 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 12:09 AM

I should add that many of the early Panavision anamorphics - B and C series - utilised Cooke optics in the taking lens, and are also available to rent these days. 


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#6 Robert Daniel Martin

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 04:06 PM

There won't be "countless" sets of Technicolor lenses- there were only ever about 50 3-strip cameras.

 

All things being considered, that means there could be at least 50 sets of these special Technicolor Cooke Panchros that were made - That's a pretty good number. So does anyone know where they all ran off to?

 

Could this be a case of Technicolor having controlled (and still do control) circulation and they're all sitting in a a bunch of pelican cases in a backroom storage unit at technicolor in LA? Heck, this could be like how the Panavision Panatar lenses were dusted off and grabbed from the back-corner and are not the hottest lenses around.

If not a controlled circulation, there must be some owners or rental houses out there with these available to filmmakers...

 

Regardless, can someone still confirm if telecentric lenses with beam splitting prisms are compatible with modern single chip digital sensors in the first place anyway?

 

Furthermore, I have seen word, though have yet to see a rental page of a set, of Vintage Cooke double speed Pancro 1.3X

Are these actually them but simply remounted and rebranded? What are theses things?

There are also the so called "Cooke Double Speed Panchros"... but the f stop rating doesn't seem to be faster then any other given Series II/III Panchros....

https://www.truelens...e-speed-panchro

 

 

 

The Xtal Express are not conversions of Cooke Anamorphics. They're based on Cooke Speed Panchros, I believe. The anamorphic elements were added in the conversion by Joe Dunton. Panavision Hollywood has a set, and I think there is a set in London too. They are not super hard to find.

 

 

Hmm... first off, lets confirm if Apocalypse Now was shot with Xtal Express lenses because that film doesn't show any signs of close up mumps or distortions on the edge of the frames making characters look thinner.

 

I would have presumed if Panavision had corrected these problems with their own all-in-one anamorphic lenses in 1958, than by the mid 1970s, Hollywood still would not be using adapters to achieve the x2 squeeze?

 

But if so, i'm assuming then it was a set of spherical Panchro series III... but then combined with what adapter ~ What make/model and was it front or rear?

 

I have come across these Technovision lenses for rent... Are these the Xtal Express ~ What the heck or these??

http://www.d-visioni...ses/anamorphic/

http://www.d-visioni...namorphic-zoom/

 

 

I should add that many of the early Panavision anamorphics - B and C series - utilised Cooke optics in the taking lens, and are also available to rent these days. 

 

Ohhh?? So this goes back to the question of what was the name of the first available series of Panavision lenses that did correct these mumps in 1958?

--- A needed clarification: when referring to the spherical taking lens method does this refer also to the use of adapters which required duel focus pulling OR was it were these the first of their kind (for lack of a better term) all-in-one anamorphic lens systems of their kind that where rebuilt/rehoused from the ground up?

 

From my panavision research, it appears the C series are the oldest they list on their website for rental but they came out a decade later in 1968.

https://www.panavisi...-prime-lenses-0

 

What are the B series? Panavisions website doesn't even list them. And hey, if there is a series B and C... wouldn't that imply there is an initial A series???


Edited by Robert Daniel Martin, 12 July 2018 - 04:07 PM.

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#7 Robert Daniel Martin

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 05:20 PM

The 3 strip Technicolor cameras used on Wizard of Oz used beam splitters behind the lens to seperate the colours on to 3 films, so the lenses needed to not only have a longer back-focus distance than had been necessary before, but also needed to correct for any aberrations the prisms introduced. Much like lenses for reflex Bolexes or 3 chip video cameras, I would imagine they wouldn't have worked optimally on normal cameras that don't have that extra chunk of glass in the light path. Some of the lenses for 3 strip cameras may have been repurposed when Technicolor became obsolete. (This is definitely speculation on my part!)

 

Anastigmats were simply the term often used in the early 20th century to describe lenses that were corrected for astigmatism.

 

 

Hmmm... I hope that is not the case... I did come across this modern lens when researching telecentric lenses... maybe this sheds light on it?

 

Still don't understand what the implications of needing/wanting Anastigmats formated lenses and if all lenses nowadays actually are Anastigmats and have just dropped the labeling from the lens barrels simply to avoid confusion or not. Please confirm.

 

 

There are Series 1 Speed Panchros floating around, but due to their smaller image circle, earlier design and uncoated elements they haven't been favoured over the later series for refurbishment or rehousing. I don't know anyone who has a set.  Later Speed Panchros with some diffusion would probably give you a similar look. There may be newer sets around with the coatings removed, which was a fad a few years back. Series 0 Opics seem to be quite rare, and may not have even been made for cine formats.

 

The series III 18mm and 25mm are usually included in sets because they have a better reputation than the earlier versions of those focal lengths (if there even was a series II 18mm). They match the other lenses just fine - no difference in image circle size if memory serves, and similar coatings.

 

None of the Speed Panchro lenses cover Vistavision or FF, they were 35mm cine lenses. According to the Cooke history page, the series II Speed Panchros were made with slightly larger image circles to cover the Silent Aperture, which is just the whole 4 perf 35mm aperture without a soundtrack. Leo Vale thought they may have come out in the 50s when widescreen formats began appearing, with the series III coming in the early 60s.

 

 

ohhh a smaller image circle for Series I certainly does make them less appealing. Yes, I do love the fact that they are uncoated. Having used uncoated S4's, I have become a major fan and this makes the Series I appear rather appealing. Perhaps they will even release the new Classic Panchro/i sets as uncoated versions as well...

 

The only downside I foresaw of series I in my initial research was in fact that they didn't include an 18mm. It is my favorite focal length.

Good to know about the image size of series III all match that of the 18 and 25mm from series II... I suppose one must simply check to confirm that the proper combination does compose the rehoused set when renting and purchasing

ex) it should be 18/25 from either series II or III along with the other focal lengths all from series III.... checking this is a bit of a hassle, though it is great to know they will all match in sharpness and color rendition.

 

Bummer that they are not able to cover FF and simply the 4 perf range of the entire 35mm neg-  Thank you for catching this error.

However this does make me wonder which such lenses were used on VV films like Giant and The Searchers.

In other words, what are the oldest/original make/model of FF VistaVision lenses used for cinema?

 

 


Cooke made gazillions of lenses over the 20th century, for all sorts of gauges and formats. There are lots of different names.

 

Rebel Without a Cause was probably shot on Cinemascope lenses by Bausch and Lomb. We had a set at the last rental house I worked at (the owner was an avid collector), but they were too difficult to convert to PL, and would have been pretty subpar compared to later anamorphics. They notoriously over-stretched faces at close distances, causing what was referred to as "the mumps", which was why Panavision's anamorphic lenses soon became the Hollywood standard - they had a patented feature that kept the squeeze constant.

 

 

Hmmm yes, the Super Baltars. They have a stunning contrasting and a very warm look. Even warmer then Cookes. I've done additional research and have found similar findings. And it is worthy to note the original cinemascope films were quite contrasty/saturated.

https://www.camtec.t...uper-baltar-tls

 

I've seen plenty of rehoused sets available for rent.... I presume you are referring to an attempt to create a custom retro-style anamorphic set incorporated into a single housing? mmm That would be as close as it gets to the old look but with none of the mumps/distortion problems. That would be a real winner!

 

 

Originally the Todd AO lenses were made by the American Optical Company (hence the AO): 

http://www.in70mm.co...vol_3/index.htm

but by the mid 60s they had probably got Cooke to make some. Pretty rare I imagine. These would be specialised spherical 65mm format lenses, with the focal length not marked, rather the angle of view specific to the format.

 

Panavision made some large format anamorphic lenses back in this era, the 1.25X Ultra Panavision lenses used on the original Ben Hur (and recently rediscovered for Hateful Eight and Rogue One), and the 2X squeeze Super Panavision line as used on Lawrence of Arabia:

https://www.panavisi...gs/large-format

These lenses are refurbished and can be rented nowadays (although somewhat busy so not always available).

 

 

Really great information. Great to see a link of the original lenses. The letter/angle of view markings of A 37°, B 48°, C 64°, and E 128° are a strange way to go but good to know. Wonder if they ever did make a 'D' lens?

 

I certainly have yet to see these lenses listed for rental thus far online but it is exciting to know that they exist and to see pictures of them... in my opinion, these could be the best lenses ever made (the Sound of Music Blu-ray is out of this world stunning).

 

To wrap it up I suppose this is a good a time as any to inquiry about the Cooke DuoPanchros:

https://www.lafilmbo...ro-large-format

 

I've only yet to see them rehoused in this single focal length of 30mm... the DuoPanchros appear to be Large Format (for 70mm)... not FF VV.

Could these be the mysterious modified Cooke taking lenses that were the basis for the Todd AO (Sound of Music/Lawrence of Arabia, 2001 Space Odyssey) that is in question??

 

This is the only Todd-AO FF lenses for rent I could find... it does say they are Cooke Panchro based. Though the housing looks far more modern then the links you gave... Are these authentic or rather just a modern inspired by set of the original series?

http://www.lensworks...ao-anamorphics/


Edited by Robert Daniel Martin, 12 July 2018 - 05:20 PM.

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#8 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 05:58 PM

A friend has passed on this link for the OP

 

http://www.reduser.n...maScope-Baltars


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#9 Robert Daniel Martin

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 11:15 PM

A friend has passed on this link for the OP

 

http://www.reduser.n...maScope-Baltars

 

...Wow. It's unbelievable. Those are in fact the Rebel Without a Cause lenses....

I read the entire thread. Thank you Robin for the heads up!

 

Facts of note that I have discovered (of which have been nagging up to this point)

1) Many people nowadays conflate the make/models of rehoused Baltars, simply labeling all of them as "Super Baltars" when in fact, the "Standard Baltars" are the original Bausch and Lomb 35mm spherical lenses.

 

Standard Baltars= 25, 30,35, 40, 50,75, 100mm

Super Baltars= 20, 25, 35, 50, 75, 100mm with a bit faster f stop

 

2) So it was in fact the Standard Baltars which were the taking lens for all the original cinemascope films.

 

regarding Björn's specific set, it is a bit confusing as to whether or not his lense are of this taking lens/adaptor nature or if they are in fact the short-lived Blue Series E anamorphics. Even if they're not, who cares?!? These are the real deal CinemaScopes!

On that note...

 

3) The Bausch & Lomb anamorphic Blue Series "E" lenses were the competitors to the Auto Panatar Compact Anamorphic Lenses.

These are the two oldest and original all-in-one anamorphic lenses to ever be used... and would love to make my first feature with :)

- The Panatars are now back in the panavision rental catalogue. The B&L Blue Series E had around 20 sets made.... They are sure to pop up rehoused sooner than later.

 

Truth be told I love the thread, but goodness.... ugh.... shooting with VS angels on commercials? They didn't teach that in film school! I can't wait to see the finished product and the footage, but I'm not in the market for throwing down $8k-$15k per lens in addition to the costs of rehousing. I can't wait to be there but to splurge on all the vintage glass I'd ever want, but until then, I'll see you all at the rental houses :)


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#10 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 02:46 AM

I believe Apocalypse Now was shot with Technovision anamorphics, not Xtal Express. Storaro had a relationship with Technovision Rome and used their anamorphics on many films he shot over the years. He describes how he couldn't afford Panavision anamorphics but had a good relationship with Technovision's Henryk Chroscicki in this AC article:

http://burnehogarth....ASC_Storaro.pdf

 

The Technovision and Xtal Express anamorphics use a system where the taking lens does not focus, the anamorphic group is in the centre and a negative spherical front optic does the focussing, which reduces some of the mumping issue of older systems that used dual focus mechanisms. The evolution is mirrored in the Lomo squarefronts vs roundfront anamorphics.

 

The Cinemascope lenses used for Rebel Without a Cause were the first integrated anamorphics, as pictured here:

http://www.widescree...een/wingcs5.htm

They used dual focus mechanics that focus both taking lens and anamorphic front adapter at the same time, all housed in a great big casting.  These are the ones I got to play with in my old job, where the owner had a full set. They are huge and heavy, too large for standard rails to fit a support under, and a real pain to convert to PL, as Bjorn discovered in that Reduser thread. He actually emailed me because he'd seen a photo I posted on this site of a Cinemascope lens mounted to an Alexa, but it had been a joke picture with the lens just balanced in front of the camera to show how humungous they were. I tried to tell him it would be a painful conversion, but he went ahead anyway.. :)

 

The E series Cinemascopes were a decade later, from the 60s - an attempt to correct the mumps and challenge Panavisions Auto-Panatar design, but were not a great success (probably because they were even larger than the old ones). The Widescreen Museum has a photo:

http://www.widescree...een/wingcs8.htm

I doubt anyone would bother rehousing such enormous lenses, except as a passion project like Bjorn's. These days people want small and light, not elephant-sized.

 

The Duo or Double Speed Panchros were Vistavision lenses I think. The Rank Organisation were the British agents for Vistavision and had also recently acquired Taylor Taylor and Hobson (who made Cooke lenses), so I'm sure they would have been put to work making optics for Vistavision. TLS do rehousings of the 30mm and 75mm:

https://www.truelens...e-speed-panchro

Here's a 28mm one:

http://www.calkovsky...35mm-lens-sold/

 

The Todd AO 65mm lenses are a bit of a mystery, I don't know how many were made by companies other than American Optical, or whether AO repurposed lenses made by experienced optical firms like Taylor Taylor Hobson. A number of sources (including Cooke) claim Cookes were used on various 65mm productions, so there must have been some made, or the AO ones were actually Cookes. The one I linked to on ebay earlier only had the angle of view marked, and an AO badge, so it couldn't even be proved to be a Cooke, although the seller thought it was.

 

Super Baltars were made to accomodate the longer back-focus needed for Mitchel reflex cameras, and superceded the older Baltars.

 

The Todd-AO anamorphics you linked to on the Lensworks page are different to the original spherical 65mm Todd AO lenses. They are standard 35mm anamorphics not FF, and come from the 70s or 80s. They used Canon and Cooke taking lenses.

 

Panavision's B series are the oldest anamorphics in their fleet, rebirthed due to the demand for vintage lenses. They are not listed on the website but you can enquire about them from Panavision: 

https://www.panavisi...amorphic-lenses

There are no As, or if there were they were long ago incorporated into the Bs and Cs.

 


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#11 Robert Daniel Martin

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:44 PM

I believe Apocalypse Now was shot with Technovision anamorphics, not Xtal Express. Storaro had a relationship with Technovision Rome and used their anamorphics on many films he shot over the years. He describes how he couldn't afford Panavision anamorphics but had a good relationship with Technovision's Henryk Chroscicki in this AC article:

http://burnehogarth....ASC_Storaro.pdf

 

The Technovision and Xtal Express anamorphics use a system where the taking lens does not focus, the anamorphic group is in the centre and a negative spherical front optic does the focussing, which reduces some of the mumping issue of older systems that used dual focus mechanisms. The evolution is mirrored in the Lomo squarefronts vs roundfront anamorphics.

 

 

Ohh good to know. Then perhaps the Gladiator DP in this video was mistake about the Xtal Express lenses?

http://cookeoptics.t...g-lenses-1.html

 

As linked above, the only technovision Anas lenses that I have come across with what appears to be retro housing, is this set... which is an italian rental house. 

primes:

www.d-visionitalia.com/en/rental/lenses/anamorphic/

Zooms:

http://www.d-visioni...namorphic-zoom/

 

Q1)Has anyone else seen a set floating around on a rental house website or even test footage??? That would be a great help.

 

Q2) I suppose I must be getting my history mixed up. I was under the impression Joe Dunton (who invented the modified anamorphic Cooke's (dubbing them the Xtal Express) was in fact a founder and/or collaborator with Technivision.

 

Might as well bring this up since we're in the hunt for these technovision lenses that PS Technik has engineered a modern glass FF VV 1.5 squeeze anamorphic set dubbing them none other then "Technovision Classics".... but they this is a german company and the footage of the lenses does NOT look promising at all. Thanks guys for introducing branding confusion to consumers with lenses that don't look like the original set in question at all :)

 

https://ascmag.com/a...vision-classics

https://www.pstechni.../a-1857/#videos

__________________

 

Since Dom's clarification that the series III 18 and 25mm Cooke Panchros image circles were enlarged to cover the entire 4 perf 35mm neg (silent aperture... not VV) this of course transitions to a new question...

Since we've been speaking about the first ever lenses (the most vintage a lens gets) for each given formats, I do want to inquire about what the original FF VV lenses used on films like:

The Searchers (1956)

https://shotonwhat.c...-searchers-1956

https://www.imdb.com...ref_=tt_dt_spec

The Ten Commandments (1956)

Vertigo (1958)

 

VV Format:
(35mm 8 perf 1.5:1) = A sharper 35mm image + A wider full frame field of view (taller image)
1.96 (full container)
Masked:

1.66
1.85
2.00

 

The make/models of Vintage VV lenses have been hard to come by... I've read  they were adapted and re-mounted “Leica full-frame rangefinder” camera lenses and then there were the VistaVision High Speed #1 (VVHS1) lenses. Can someone shed some light~confirm/expand up this?

_________________

 

Essentially, those modern PS technik's linked above are both VV FF AND anamorphic at x1.5 ~in other words, this is the Technorama format.

Delrama anamorphic front mirror adaptor + spherical lenses FF VV lenses (which were sure enough rehoused/modified Technicolor Cooke Panchros!!!

 

HUH... Well what do we know... perhaps this is why these lenses aren't floating around by sellers or at rental houses already rehoused?

 

Anyway, these lenses had a single focus pull system. Pretty cool (I'm getting excited!!! Where are these guys at????)

 

Technirama Format:
(35mm 8 perf 5:1 + x1.5 squeeze) = The sharper 35mm resolution of VistaVision + the same anamorphic field of view of CinemaScope
native aspect ratio:

2.20 (I believe so)
Masked as:
2.55

 

Noteworthy film:

Spartacus (1960)

https://www.imdb.com...ref_=tt_dt_spec

https://shotonwhat.c...partacus-2-1960

 

 

I doubt anyone would bother rehousing such enormous lenses, except as a passion project like Bjorn's. These days people want small and light, not elephant-sized.

Great info. The timeline was fuzzy for me and I was under the impression the B&L  Blue E Series came out before Panavision's Panatars. Regardless, those B&L 2nd/3rd editions the bjorn has (he also does have some E series) are the one's that were originally in question. I cannot wait to see how small they get after the rehousing process. I want to shoot with old cinemascope lenses in 2.55 for my next film (thus all the research) It's gonna come down to either an epic original set like his, the Xtal Epress, or an original technovision set (hence the Apocalypse Now research)

 

The other feature will be spherical (either standard/super baltars, Cooke panchros, or in either standard vintage FF VV lenses... the technirama style x1.5 VV is still on the table at the moment (pending the outcome of this research)

 

 


The Duo or Double Speed Panchros were Vistavision lenses I think. The Rank Organisation were the British agents for Vistavision and had also recently acquired Taylor Taylor and Hobson (who made Cooke lenses), so I'm sure they would have been put to work making optics for Vistavision. TLS do rehousings of the 30mm and 75mm:

https://www.truelens...e-speed-panchro

Here's a 28mm one:

http://www.calkovsky...35mm-lens-sold/

 

 

That is a great find about the Double Speeds actually being FF VV. there you go, you're answering my questions ahead of time! haha

More missing history of Cooke lenses being recovered.... they apparently did have VV lenses back in the day. I hope some rehoused sets get into circulation soon- has anyone seen test footage?? That would be huge...

 

I don't think the DuoPanchros were FF. They are listed as Large Format. But again, I've  only seen that single focal length... I definitely don't want to make assumptions because it would defeat the entire purpose of this thread, yet this may indicate which cooke taking lenses were the hidden formula to the Todd-AO lenses... We need to find another Bjorn out there to acquire a set and get them working.

Honestly, if there were ever a set I would take a loan out for an go crazy on purchasing it would be the original Todd- AO's.

 

Dom- you're not Bjorn, but I presume you're in the know: whom did he acquire all those individual lenses from? Is their a certain resource/method the gear heads on these boards are finding all these rare lenses from?

 

 


Super Baltars were made to accomodate the longer back-focus needed for Mitchel reflex cameras, and superceded the older Baltars.

 

The Todd-AO anamorphics you linked to on the Lensworks page are different to the original spherical 65mm Todd AO lenses. They are standard 35mm anamorphics not FF, and come from the 70s or 80s. They used Canon and Cooke taking lenses.

 

Panavision's B series are the oldest anamorphics in their fleet, rebirthed due to the demand for vintage lenses. They are not listed on the website but you can enquire about them from Panavision: 

https://www.panavisi...amorphic-lenses

There are no As, or if there were they were long ago incorporated into the Bs and Cs.

 

 

I did some digging for the Standard Baltars. This is the only rental house and test footage I could find. Despite the videos...mood and tone... they do look very promising all things considered.

http://beholdoptics....rd-baltars.html

 

Thanks for the confirmation on those anamorphic Todd's.... I suspected as much. They don't look that great either.

 

Great clarification on the Panavision B Series anamorphics.

From my understands the (A)uto Panatars are the A's... this is what generated the initial confusion and presumption that films like Sound of Music, Lawrence of Arabia, and 2002 Space Odyssey (all in large format 70mm) were actually shot with anamorphic lenses. They are not... They're FLAT spherical and the native aspect ratio (before cropping) on 5 perf 65mm negs derives the 2.20 aspect ratio. (My favorite ratio of all time).

 

I suppose since the field of view in those films are so epic and wide and because the Panatars (and B series) are anas, I always presumed they were shot in this format. But that is not the case...

Please clear this compatibility questions up once an for all:

Q1) 35mm sphericals don't cover the image area of vertical running 5 perf  65mm negs- corrrect?

Q2) You need to use Large format spherical (that's were Todd-AO's came in) for this 65mm 5 perf format- correct?

Q3) In general, the widest aspect ratio derived with Large Format lens/65mm neg combination is the 2.20 field of view - correct?

 

Q4)  So... If i'm tracking correctly, here is where I catch a snag: modern 35mm anas (ex. Ziess master anas and such) as well as the original cinemascopes do not cover 65mm negs- please deny or confirm.

IF not: I was under the impression the Auto Pantars were also standard 35mm anamorphics since they were made for 35mm cinemascope films after all and yet...  how could this be since they derived the uncropped 2.76 ultra panavision format when used with on 65mm neg.

I think I have fundamental confusion that there are standard ana lenses and then Larger Format 70mm anas?

If there are not two types then it is correct to say all x2 squeeze anas do cover 65mm negs and derive the 2.76?

 

 

We're closing in!


Edited by Robert Daniel Martin, 13 July 2018 - 06:46 PM.

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#12 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 05:53 AM

Auto-Panatar was just the generic name for Panavision's patented anamorphic design, with rotating astigmatisers controlling the squeeze - B series, C series, E series and Ultra Panavision 70s are all labelled Auto-Panatar.

The only vintage anamorphics to cover 65mm are the Ultra Panavision 70s, which have a 1.25x squeeze.

Most anamorphics only cover S35mm sensors. Sometimes longer focal lengths can cover a larger area, but you'd need to test each lens to gauge that. I was surprised to find some Panavision T series anamorphics covered the DXL sensor recently. As with spherical lenses, longer focal lengths can often cover far more than their wide angle counterparts.

Hawk have developed some 65mm 1.3x anamorphics, otherwise there are those P&S Technik ones, I don't know any others at the moment. The natively wide aspect ratios of large format sensors (and traditional 65mm cameras) favour less squeeze than 2x. You could get a wider aspect ratio than 2.20:1 by simply cropping the height rather than using anamorphics of course.

Apparently Panavision acquired Technovision a few years back, but I don't know what they did with the Technovision anamorphic primes. There was a 30mm Technovision anamorphic (Cooke based) at the last rental house I worked at, but being a one-off it never went out. It wasn't fantastic if I recall, but quite compact. The JDC ones (Xtal Express) are similar, maybe a bit better. I always thought the Roundfront Lomos were pretty good low budget anamorphics, with a similar feel.

The Technovision branded zooms are simply a small anamorphic adapter fitted to the back of standard Cooke or Angenieux zooms. Most anamorphic zooms were done like this, and often still are. Technovision (and others) made the adapters and rental houses all over the world could adapt their zooms as needed. A 20-100 Cooke would become a 40-200, or a 25-250 a 50-500. Because it's a rear adapter the traditional anamorphic artefacts of stretched Bokeh and horizontal flares are not present.

From reading AC and other journals from the 50's that covered VistaVision productions, they commonly mention using "Leica-type" lenses , which I assume means converted 35mm full frame rangefinder lenses made by the likes of Leitz or Zeiss. At some point Taylor Hobson made the Double Speed Panchros, and Som Berthiot made a 60-240 zoom, which was apparently not well liked. By 1970 the ASC manual lists Canon, Leitz, Schneider and Cooke lenses for Mitchell VistaVision cameras. The telephotos may well be 35mm lenses with a large enough image circle.

I think Bausch and Lomb may have made lenses for 65mm (I've occasionally come across them as part of a 65mm camera auction) as did Lomo in the former Soviet Union, but they are hard to find info about, and rarely pop up for sale. Again, medium format lenses may have been converted over the years (and 70mm dates back to the dawn of cinema including the Fox Grandeur experiment in the late 20's). Panavision of course have a large selection of legacy spherical lenses for large format cinematography, including the Super Panavision 70s from the late 50s, the Sphero 65s from the 60s, and the System 65s from the 90s.
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#13 Robert Daniel Martin

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 01:41 PM

Auto-Panatar was just the generic name for Panavision's patented anamorphic design, with rotating astigmatisers controlling the squeeze - B series, C series, E series and Ultra Panavision 70s are all labelled Auto-Panatar.

The only vintage anamorphics to cover 65mm are the Ultra Panavision 70s, which have a 1.25x squeeze.
 

 

Thank God that's now cleared up. Rereading my previous post, I can now see the errors very clearly.

As reference, it's videos like the one below, which give a visual to the image capture area with anamorphics on digital sensors of 16:9 and 4:3 (the equivalent to 4 perf 35mm) that makes things rather confusing.

 

I now know that the Ultra Panavision Panatars are the only large format 65mm anas of their kind (at least that are retro glass), But they derive a wider 2.76 then the 4:3/4 perf canvas of 2.66

In other words, 2.66 is not a standardized exhibition aspect ratio and 35mm anas lenses do not provide the same field of view or image magnification/image circle as large format scope lenses.

 

It is also worthy to note that according to this video, when shooting with scope lenses on digital 16x9 sensors, the native uncropped aspect ratio is actually 2.00 StararoUnivision....

 

But it's not capturing the true height of x2 scope lenses on 35mm 4 perf and/or 4:3 sensors... in other words, this is just a happy coincidence yet not the real thing when it comes to Stararovision (which usually is shot with spherical lenses anyway)

 

 

 

Hawk have developed some 65mm 1.3x anamorphics, otherwise there are those P&S Technik ones, I don't know any others at the moment.

From reading AC and other journals from the 50's that covered VistaVision productions, they commonly mention using "Leica-type" lenses , which I assume means converted 35mm full frame rangefinder lenses made by the likes of Leitz or Zeiss. At some point Taylor Hobson made the Double Speed Panchros, and Som Berthiot made a 60-240 zoom, which was apparently not well liked. By 1970 the ASC manual lists Canon, Leitz, Schneider and Cooke lenses for Mitchell VistaVision cameras. The telephotos may well be 35mm lenses with a large enough image circle.

 

Hawk does seem to be now entering into the filmmakers consciousness more than ever. Admittedly I haven't a clue which (if any) landmark films used their glass, what the general look/approach they have to lenses, or what the company is all about.

 

Regarding the FFVV Cookes: are the Double Speed and DuoPanchros ('Duo' for double) one in the same?  Doubtful since this rental house list them as Large Format...

https://www.lafilmboutique.com/rentals

 

This house does have a set of Double Speeds. The only rental house based in the US I've found thus far as an option for FFVV retro cooke glass. This glass is extremely promising but they're missing the 28mm and we have yet to find word on if a wide angle 18mm was ever made and or what the word is on a 40 or 50mm focal length. Certainly would like to see footage.

 

 

This does lead me to my lens format type question:

'Standard Format'? lenses = 35mm  (what is the designation officially called?)

Full Frame lenses = VistaVision

Large Format = 65mm

Medium Format = ??? It feels appropriate that Medium format lenses should be used for the VV format since it's negative size is between standard 35mm and Large Format 65mm.... but all these Mamiya and Hasselblad lenses are being used for the biggest negative format of Imax..... on the face of it, this seems rather silly. Please clarify!

 

 

 

 

I think Bausch and Lomb may have made lenses for 65mm (I've occasionally come across them as part of a 65mm camera auction) as did Lomo in the former Soviet Union, but they are hard to find info about, and rarely pop up for sale. Again, medium format lenses may have been converted over the years (and 70mm dates back to the dawn of cinema including the Fox Grandeur experiment in the late 20's). Panavision of course have a large selection of legacy spherical lenses for large format cinematography, including the Super Panavision 70s from the late 50s, the Sphero 65s from the 60s, and the System 65s from the 90s.

 

Ooooo B&L large format lenses. I'm intrigued. Can you dig up some info on them - what make and model/focal length range/when the came out?

 

 

And finally regarding the 35mm spherical Standard Baltars:

I remember reading somewhere that a certain line of either Lomo's or Kowas CineProminars that came out in the 70s or early 80s which were purposed to match the color hue and warmth of the Baltars but with the added benefit of added focal lengths?

 

The one big knock on the Standard Baltars for me is the lack of an 18mm wide angle. So finding an adequate matching lens to supplement these retro lenses would be a game changer.

 

 

However... about that warmth look of the Baltars: it seems to be pretty dramatically inconsistent when viewing the few lens tests online.

 

Here are the Standards (this look pretty contrasty and nice:

 

Then here is the Supers (looking even warmer then Cookes):

 

But then here are the Supers again (looking very sterile and unappealing):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVmoca0F0fk

 

 

These do appear to be pretty big variances...


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#14 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 02:38 AM

I wouldn't put much stock in online lens tests, you often have no idea what the camera settings were, what post work has been done, or whether the people who did the test actually knew what they were doing. On top of that, vintage lenses can vary dramatically depending on their condition.

 

Every project should ideally do their own testing (.. usually after you have a script and funding in place..  :) ).

 

There's very little information about the Cooke Double or Duo Speed Panchros, they aren't listed in any brochures or historical Cooke literature that I have access to. As I said before, I would assume they were made for VistaVision productions. It's possible they were made to cover as large a format as 65mm, but only projecting the actual lenses could confirm that. In a 1956 volume of "British Kinematography" there is an article by senior lens designer Gordon Cook on the issues involved in making lenses specifically for VistaVision, so it was definitely something Taylor, Taylor & Hobson were investigating at the time.

 

The Bausch and Lomb lenses for 70mm were made back around 1930 for Fox Studio's Grandeur cameras, but again there is virtually no information about them. There is an interesting article by Arthur Edeson, one of the cinematographers of "The Big Trail", in the Widescreen Museum site, but he curiously avoids mention of the lens brand:

http://www.widescree...eur-sep1930.htm

But Fox Grandeur cameras like this one come with Bausch and Lomb lenses:

http://www.cinemagea...itchell_fc.html

 

Regarding terminology, in cinematography "large format" has been used to describe everything larger than 35mm. Arri's new LF (Large Format) camera has a sensor 36.7mm x 25.54mm, which is only slightly larger than VistaVision (or Full Frame in still photography). Panavision talks about large format cinematography when referencing their DXL camera, which is also closer to VistaVision than 65mm.

 

Don't confuse the cinematography use of the term "large format" with Large Format still photography, which is typically 4" x 5". Medium Format is also a still photography term that can describe anything between Full Frame and Large Format, but often refers to a 6cm x 6cm frame. A lot of this information is easily googled, the thing to remember is that cine formats are different to still photography ones - most obviously 35mm in cine terms is 4 perf compared to 8 perf in stills. 


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#15 Robert Daniel Martin

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 03:57 PM

So to review....below are the original/retro cine lenses per each format that have disappeared from circulation, have yet to be rediscovered, rehoused, and made available for present day use

 

A.) 35mm Spherical:

- Special Technicolor f1.7 Cooke Panchros (one source cites them as having been modified into the x1.5 Anamorphic VV lenses for Technirama)

- Cooke Speed Panchro Series I

 

(The B&L Standard Baltars have appeared at a single rental house)

 

 

B.) FF VistaVision Spherical:

- Canons

- Leitz

- Schneider

- Leica full-frame rangefinders

- VistaVision High Speed #1 (VVHS1)
 

(the Cooke Double Speeed Panchros have reappeared but a complete set is currently unavailable)

 

 

C.) 35mm CinemaScope x2 Anamorphic:

- B&L Series II &/or Blue Series E (have resurfaced with Bjorn's 1 1/2 personal sets but are not yet rehoused or available for direct rental... he should do this... or from any other rental houses)

- Technovision Anamorphics (purchased by Panavision yet no recent test footage or listing on their website or other rental houses)

 

(The Cooke Xtal Express Anamorphics are considered available yet have still yet to be given a website citation from a rental house)

 

 

D.) 35mm FF VV x1.5 Anamorphic:

- No information whatsoever of any make/models aside for the citation of about the technirama films.... of which only two were ever made.

 

 

E.) 65mm Large Format Spherical:

- B&L (for the 1920s Fox Grandeur format)

- Lomo (for the Soviet Unions version of 65mm)

- Todd-AO's  (The cooke taking lens was either a Cooke Speed Panchro or DuoPanchro and later made with Canons)

 

 

 

 

--- And for sake of completeness I did just come across the B&L Super Speed Baltars... Any info about these? Are they basically Baltar Series III?

Standards -> Super Baltars -> Super Speed Baltars

... or is this just another blasted euphemism?

https://harmonicaren...erspeed-baltar/

 

 

Also can anyone confirm which spherical lenses from the 60s/70s were coated to match the original Standard Baltars? I can seem to retrieve the source... some rental house were packaging Baltars with I think either Lomo's or Kowas CineProminars to cover the wider and telephoto ranges. 

Please clarify- thanks!


Edited by Robert Daniel Martin, 20 July 2018 - 03:58 PM.

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#16 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 21 July 2018 - 11:16 PM

Those Super Speed Baltars are at Harmonica Rentals, you should pm Ignacio Aguilar (who posts here) about them. He also has a set of rehoused Baltars and other vintage treats. I don't know that the Super Speed Baltars are actually made by Bausch and Lomb though.
Apparently they are VistaVision lenses from the 70s. I'd never heard of them before.

There are plenty of Series 1 Cooke Speed Panchros around, anything on eBay with serial numbers under about 450000 will be first generation and uncoated. TLS will rehouse some of them, but they probably aren't worth a rental house getting a set for the reasons I mentioned earlier - smaller image circle, poorer image quality, more variation in condition.

I came across a lens diagram of a Cooke lens designed for Technicolor in a Cooke technical article and it included the prism block as part of the optical formula, so there would definitely be issues with using one without the 3 strip camera prism. Much better just using a normal Speed Panchro.

From what I've been able to deduce after a bit of digging around, I believe the series II Panchros came out in the mid to late 50s, with the 25mm and 18mm being quickly redesigned in the early 60s using aspheric elements to greatly improve image quality and reduce the number of elements. So the date of 1945 for series II Speed Panchros is way off. The first American Cinematographer ads I could find for series II are in 1959, the first mention of series III is in 1963. These dates also match the dates of technical articles in Cookes own compilation of cinema lens information they made into a book in the mid 60s.

In my opinion, your best bet for both anamorphics and large format optics with a vintage feel is Panavision, who have already unearthed and rejuvenated many of their lenses from the 50s and 60s. As more people get vintage lenses rehoused by the likes of TLS or P&S Technik you might see some different lines appear, maybe even some original 70mm Todd-AO lenses, but I wouldn't hold my breath, especially for Cinemascopes.
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#17 Robert Daniel Martin

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 09:24 AM

Those Super Speed Baltars are at Harmonica Rentals, you should pm Ignacio Aguilar (who posts here) about them. He also has a set of rehoused Baltars and other vintage treats. I don't know that the Super Speed Baltars are actually made by Bausch and Lomb though.
Apparently they are VistaVision lenses from the 70s. I'd never heard of them before.

 

VV ehh? Great info. And yes, I believe on a posting here Aguilar did state theses so called Super Baltars were comprised of two different brands to compose the entire set... (need to confirm). Nonetheless it can then be stated that these are not officially Bausch and Lomb's which were widely distributed throughout the industry. In other words, their a sort of parallel example of the Cooke Technovision's or JDC Xtal Expresses anamorphic lenses. If these were automobiles, it's like how Shelby created Shelby Cobras out of Mustangs haha

 

One piece of context -- when did this Super Speed Baltars come out (before the Super Baltars)? Or should I say... are their origins derived from modified retro glass ~ to be included in this catalog of discussion?

Regardless, this company isn't US based and this is the only instance of seeing this set, therefore I wouldn't catagorize them as being readily available per say.

 

 

There are plenty of Series 1 Cooke Speed Panchros around, anything on eBay with serial numbers under about 450000 will be first generation and uncoated. TLS will rehouse some of them, but they probably aren't worth a rental house getting a set for the reasons I mentioned earlier - smaller image circle, poorer image quality, more variation in condition.

I came across a lens diagram of a Cooke lens designed for Technicolor in a Cooke technical article and it included the prism block as part of the optical formula, so there would definitely be issues with using one without the 3 strip camera prism. Much better just using a normal Speed Panchro.

 

Agreed to Series I

Though it's rather odd that none of the rental houses specifically state they are a set of Series I-  rather they use the far too general and unspecific euphemism of labeling them as 'Cooke Panchros' or 'Cooke Speed Panchros'  and call it a day.

 

Final clarification on these- with their smaller image circle, may you provide confirmation of the coverage area if a set of series I were used?

For 35mm - do they cover 3 and 4 perf?

For digital - do they cover the sensor size of 5k, 6k, 8k RED Helium super 35???

 

 

Great info on this Technicolor Panchros -- with this now discovered incompatibility, they're out of the running.

 

 

In my opinion, your best bet for both anamorphics and large format optics with a vintage feel is Panavision, who have already unearthed and rejuvenated many of their lenses from the 50s and 60s. As more people get vintage lenses rehoused by the likes of TLS or P&S Technik you might see some different lines appear, maybe even some original 70mm Todd-AO lenses, but I wouldn't hold my breath, especially for Cinemascopes.

 

Agreed. And sad. The test footage and stills from Bjorn's B&L cinemascopes are incredible. Frankly, some of the best looking footage I've ever seen on the RED... and i'm a huge fan of RED.  Well basically, finding and pairing his lens/sensor combo is exactly what I'm looking to utilize, thus prompting this entire journey of research/discovery/forum posting etc etc.

 

'unearthed and rejuvenated' -- I do wonder what businesses, auctions and resources Bjorn and others are using to unearth and acquire these relics of the past.

 

...And with this round it is pretty well summed it up.


Edited by Robert Daniel Martin, 22 July 2018 - 09:26 AM.

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