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Cooke Optics introduces new SP3 prime lens set for full-frame mirrorless cameras

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

Published Sep 5, 2023 | William Brawley @ DPReview

The Cooke SP3 full-frame prime lens series features five lenses, all with T2.4 apertures: 100mm, 75mm, 50mm, 32mm, and 25mm.
The Cooke SP3 series features five lenses, all with T2.4 apertures: 100mm, 75mm, 50mm, 32mm, and 25mm.
Long-time motion picture lens manufacturer Cooke Optics is expanding its reach into the prosumer video market for the first time with the SP3 prime lens series for full-frame mirrorless cameras, with mount options supporting E-Mount, RF-mount, L-mount and M-mount cameras. The small and lightweight Cooke SP3 prime lens set will be offered in five focal lengths while maintaining a consistent T2.4 aperture across all five lenses. Additionally, all SP3 lenses share a nearly identical design and shape, allowing for fast and easy interchangeability.
These new SP3 primes use an all-new optical and mechanical design tailored to full-frame mirrorless cameras. They are smaller and lighter than traditional Cooke motion picture lenses, fitting to the more compact designs of full-frame mirrorless cameras. Further, the compact size allows them to easily fit onto lighter-weight gimbals like the DJI Ronin series or into other tighter, difficult shooting situations.
The Cooke SP3 25mm T2.4, the widest focal length offered in the SP3 lineup.
The Cooke SP3 25mm T2.4, the widest focal length offered in the SP3 lineup.

Lenses aimed at full-frame video creators
The SP3 lenses represent a new direction for Cooke; the company has traditionally focused on the premium, ultra-high-end motion picture lens market. For example, a single lens from Cooke's flagship S8/i line of PL-mount lenses costs over $34,000. This is well out of reach for videographers who don't have a Hollywood budget.
The Cooke SP3 full-frame prime lens series features five lenses, all with T2.4 apertures: 100mm, 75mm, 50mm, 32mm, and 25mm.The company tells us that as it began to look broadly at the video market, it realized that many 'prosumer' video creators were nonetheless familiar with the Cooke brand.
This mid-market/prosumer category is the fastest-growing segment of the video market, with many videographers using cameras like Sony, Canon and RED, ranging in price from around $4,000-$10,000. This hasn't been a market category in which Cooke traditionally had a presence, yet they saw strong brand recognition among these creators. As such, Cooke developed the SP3 mirrorless lens series as a way to introduce Cooke Optics to a broader user base.
Design and Features
The new Cooke SP3 primes come in five different focal length options. The lens line includes two wide-angle options, 25mm and 32mm, a standard 50mm lens, and two mid-telephoto varieties, 75mm and 100mm. All lenses share the same aperture (iris) range of T2.4-16 and feature a 9-bladed aperture. Like many other cinema-focused lenses, the Cooke SP3 primes have manual focus and aperture, offering no electrical communication back to the camera body.
The Cooke SP3 100mm T2.4The SP3 lenses are constructed with hardened, anodized lens barrels, and all share similar physical design characteristics, such as the placement of the lenses' focus and aperture rings. These rings are in the same position across all five lenses, use the same gearing (83 teeth for both focus and aperture rings), and have the same angular rotation on both rings (160º for the focus ring; 78º for the aperture ring). These matching design features allow the lenses to be quickly and easily swapped out on set or in the field without requiring camera rigging accessories, such as follow-focus equipment. The lenses also feature non-linear focusing and aperture scales. Cooke says this allows for finer control of focusing towards the minimum focusing distances and finer control of exposure adjustments (iris control) at wider apertures.
Although Cooke doesn't offer specific details about the optical layout, such as the number of elements or the types of glass used, they are nevertheless tuned to match the optical characteristics of Cooke's popular Panchro/i Classic cinema lenses, which have a long history in the filmmaking industry. Cooke states that the SP3 primes offer excellent sharpness and definition and closely match the characteristic look and feel of the Speed Panchro lens series. Special care is put into how the lenses, both the SP3 primes and the Speed Panchro, render facial features and skin tones, as well as contrast and sharpness characteristics both at the center and out towards the edges of the frame.
The Cooke SP3 25mm T2.4, the widest focal length offered in the SP3 lineup.Although very similar in size and weight, there are slight variations from lens to lens. The 25mm and 75mm are 98mm (3.85") in length, and the 32mm and 50mm lenses are both 94mm (3.7") long. The 100mm is the odd one out, measuring 124mm (4.88") long. Lens diameters are more consistent across the line, with all lenses except the 100mm version measuring 64mm (2.52") around. The 100mm lens has a maximum front diameter of 82mm (3.22"), although the focus and iris rings remain the same diameter across all five lenses.
Weight is similar, ranging from 500g to just under 700g. The 100mm lens is the heaviest of the group, at 690g (1.52 lbs), while the 50mm is the lightest, at just 500g (1.1lbs). The 32mm and 75mm lenses both weigh 520g (1.15 lbs), and the 25mm lens weighs 575g (1.27 lbs.). The Cooke SP3 lenses will be sold individually or as a complete kit, including a hard case, user-swappable lens mounts and other accessories.

Pricing & Availability
The Cooke SP3 lenses are compatible with a variety of full-frame mirrorless cameras and include user-changeable lens mounts. The lenses will be available in E-mount, RF-mount, L-mount and M-mount. Lenses will ship with E-mount flanges preinstalled. RF-mount will be available soon after launch, and buyers can redeem a set of RF mounts free of charge via instructions included in the packaging. L-mount and M-mount flanges will be available separately, with M-mount versions, in particular, scheduled to become available in early 2024. Pricing for the L-mount and M-mount equipment has yet to be announced.
Notably, the company stated that EF-mount will not be supported. The longer flange focal distance of the EF-mount is different from how these mirrorless-centric lenses were designed. Cooke noted that they are open to additional mounts, such as the Nikon Z-mount, but there are no plans for Z-mount at the moment. They will continue to assess the market and determine demand for other mounts.
The Cooke Optics SP3 lenses are set to go on sale worldwide in mid-September. Pricing for a single SP3 lens is $4,500; a complete five-lens set with hard case, mounting hardware, shims and other accessories will retail for $21,375.

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