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Canon Releasing New Line of Video Optimized Lenses, Starting with 18-135mm and 40mm Pancake

06.7.12 @ 4:20PM Tags : , , ,

Autofocus in video mode on the new Canon T4i wouldn’t be all that useful without some lenses designed to handle it. That’s why Canon is introducing a new STM (stepping motor) line of lenses. Not only are they basically silent, but they are more capable of handling the smooth focus transitions that are required for video autofocus as opposed to photo autofocus — which is designed to be fast and accurate at the cost of jerky focus movements. The first two lenses they are introducing will be a replacement to the 18-135mm kit lens, and a 40mm f/2.8 pancake.

Here are the specs on the new EF-S 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM:

  • Close focusing distance: 0.39m
  • Image stabilization is designed for both photography and video – and will give stability at up to four stops more during photographs
  • Employing circular aperture EMD (Electronic drive aperture) mounted close to the original than by the light of the background
  • STM (Stepping Motor) AF operation of the motor has dramatically reduced noise and features smooth movement of the AF drive

This is the new 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens, which is about half the size of the Canon 50mm f/1.8:

  • Closest focusing distance: less than 1 ft.
  • The maximum magnification ratio: 0.18-fold
  • Filter diameter: 52mm
  • The maximum diameter: 68.2mm
  • Length: 22.8mm
  • Weight: About 130g

Below you’ll find a comparison of the new pancake lens with the Canon 50mm f/1.8. With lenses getting bigger and bigger, they begin to negate the usefulness of a small body. This lens is supposedly going to be relatively inexpensive (thanks to its slower speed), but I’m sure it’s going to find its way into plenty of bags as it takes up almost no space. You can also see the new 18-135mm STM lens on the Canon T4i in a photo below.

[via Canon Rumors - 40mm & Canon Rumors - 18-135mm]



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  • I love my old pentax 40mm pancake. I might check out the Canon one and compare.

  • A step in the right direction for sure from Canon, and that zoom range on the 18-135mm is mighty attractive, but I pretty much refuse to use zoom lenses with variable f-stops in my video work. The last thing you want when you’re shooting is to crash zoom in on something and lose 2 stops of exposure. I never have my camera in anything other than full manual, so variable zooms make it a pain in the ass to operate on the fly or correct in post.

    • that 18-135 is the same kit lens they have been using for a long time. It is great for starting out and learning the camera but if you are doing any type of professional work you should not even touch that lens. Like I said its great for fun, learning, and personal videos but compared to L series lenses it is trash.

    • john jeffreys on 06.8.12 @ 12:49PM

      cheap telephotos with variable aperture are a joke for proper video.

  • Will these lenses work with the T2i?

    • Yes but they will not autofocus in video mode, which is one of the main selling points. If you were to buy one of them for anything but the T4i, you’re buying it for the optical performance of the lens itself.

  • Great. MORE lenses to buy for your EF mount …LOL.

    I hope they are a shitload cheaper than the Zeis lenses ;)

  • Sorry, Canon, but based on your performance and product launches during the past 9 months, I cannot believe much of anything you are promising. Canon has some decent B4-mount servo zoom lenses, even some for 1/3-inch sensor pro camcorders, but these new ones aren’t much of anything, really.

  • urbanvideos on 06.15.12 @ 2:18PM

    Similar to the above post, I too am wondering about how “variable aperture” fits with “optimized for video.” Is it just a special kind of stabilization? I’m assuming you may NOT zoom while shooting video if the aperture changes, right?

  • The pancake lens should be interesting.

  • These lenses are supposedly made for the consumer market – to give consumers with their eos cameras the ability to easily point and shoot, just like with a smaller camera.

    The zoom is a typical kit lens while the pancake looks like a possible kit lens for a future small system camera with aps-c sensor.

    I don’t see these lenses as being useful for anyone who shoots more professionally with their dslrs, the optical quality just won’t be good enough, neither are the f-stops of the zoom lens.

    • For the price, the 40mm MTF charts look pretty good to me. It’s really a full frame lens – 40mm is a good length for a walk around lens that you leave on your camera all the time. I would argue, though, that it’s really aimed at photographers – and if you look at it that way, it’s a great lens for pros who want a small lens to carry around and shoot street photography.