Cooke Optics' Chairman Les Zellan On Cooke's Storied Film History

Cooke Optics lenses have contributed to the film industry for over a century, with films such as “The Martian” and “Zero Dark Thirty”, and television like “Game Of Thrones” and “Orange Is The New Black”. We spoke with Cooke Optics’ Chairman Les Zellan on their long history and the integrity of their lenses. 

For over 100 years, Cooke has been at the centre of the filmmaking business. We’ve been listening to the community of which we are a part. We lead by introducing new products such as /i Technology, and we remember our success is built on a simple idea – do what the filmmaker needs.
Our factory in Leicester, England has generations from the same family working side by side. That experience is un-beaten anywhere. We manufacture a full range of primes and zooms for 35mm, digital and Super 16mm photography, plus a range of large format stills lenses.
We know our customers, and they know us, as individuals. Our rental partners do their training next to the craftsman who built their lenses. There are no barriers. We meet our customers at our factory, at trade events, distributors and rental houses and of course on the set.
We’re intolerant when it comes to tolerances. We research continuously to drive innovation. Our lenses are dependable and practical in use on the set; our optics superb. The lenses are straightforward to maintain – which is why so many rental facilities carry our products. Our manufacturing and testers keep going until we get each lens within our very tight specification. We get it right, whatever it takes.

For more information on Cooke’s long and storied history in film and tv production, visit

Written by Jake Fruia

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