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Bill DiPietra

"An Amusing Look at Cooke's Super High-End 5/i Prime Lenses"

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Good lenses, but unfortunately haven't really taken off. One of the reasons is that Otto Nemenz decided not to buy the sets and instead help develop the Leica's which are smaller and nimbler but still deliver similar performance. And Otto doesn't just buy one set, he buys a lot, so that was probably a majority of the lost sales right there. The S5's and the Master Primes suffer from simply being too big in these all handheld times, too. And with the crispness and the ever higher resolution of digital cameras, old glass has come into vogue again to take the curse of that ENG sharpness, which didn't help the S5 case.


I use the Leica's a lot. They remind me of a warmer set of S4's, that happen to open up to T1.3. They have that organic look and are perfect lenses for these times. When the budget can't afford those (which happens quite often), it's easy to botanise amongst the old stablehands: S4's, SuperSpeeds, High Speeds, PVintage etc and get them for a song and a dance.


Even the UP's are too sharp for me. I love the old Zeiss T2.1's - they're tiny and have a really nice feel to them. ANd the PVintage series at Panavision is really nice.


If there are trends in lenses, I predict that we will soon see really small and thin retro lenses in the style of 60's Cooke Panchros or Lomo's all again. Chromed housings or even brass. The day of the big honking prime is probably over.

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Yeah, S5s are crappy and inappropriate for modern day shooting. If you ask me owners should salvage what little they can from the glass and sell it off at firesale prices...







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I'm about to start a feature using Master Primes, I don't see many other options for decent sharpness at T/1.3 besides the S5's and the Leica's. I don't mind the look of Super Speeds at T/2.8-2.0, but below that, they just get too mushy.

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