April 16, 2016

Canon's New Cine-Servo Zoom Lens is Compact & Surprisingly Budget-Friendly

On the heels of their new Super 35mm pocket camera announcement, Canon has unveiled a cine-servo zoom lens that is lightweight, compact, and actually affordable.

Canon's new COMPACT-SERVO 18-80mm Zoom Lens has a bunch of features that may appeal to not only ENG-shooters, but indie filmmakers and documentarians alike, but perhaps the most impressive thing about it is its price. At $5225, this parfocal lens is a far cry price-wise to similar cine-servo lenses, some of which come in at over $60K. It boasts 4K optical performance, enhanced servo drive unit, 3 image stabilization modes, and Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus.

Features

  • Covers Super 35 & APS-C Formats
  • EF Mount
  • T4.4 Constant Maximum Aperture
  • 9-Blade Iris
  • Parfocal with Minimized Focus Breathing
  • Compatible with Servo Lens Controllers
  • Optional Control Grip
  • Image Stabilization & Auto Focus Support
  • 180° Rotation for Focus
  • Lightweight at only 2.65 lb

Typically when you think about cine-servo lenses it's within the context of broadcasting and ENG-style content. However, Canon's aim with this new line of COMPACT-SERVO lenses is to appeal with indie filmmakers and documentarians, who typically opt for smaller camera rigs rather than a huge shoulder-mounted camera with a cine-servo lens that you typically see in ENG shooting. Furthermore, the COMPACT-SERVO 18-80mm Zoom Lens was built to be compatible with EF- mount Super 35mm large-format cameras, like the C300 and C500, so creating a lens that could provide users with a cinematic look was one of the goals Canon had with this lens. From Canon's press release:

Covering the commonly used focal length range of 18mm to 80mm, this new Zoom Lens combines the functionality of Canon EF lenses with the precision and cinematic look of Canon Cinema lenses. The new COMPACT-SERVO 18-80mm Zoom Lens is 4K-ready and features auto focus and optical image stabilization with compatible camera models only, resulting in high-resolution imagery, with the ability to assist filmmakers in capturing the shot they envisioned.

The CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO lens is currently available for pre-order for $5225. Canon is also releasing the ZSG-C10 zoom grip at the same time as the lens for $474, which was specifically designed for their line of CN-E COMPACT-SERVO lenses.

Canon says they will be introducing new COMPACT-SERVOS in the very near future, so it's a pretty safe bet that will happen at NAB. Stay tuned!      

Your Comment

25 Comments

Would like to know if it is compatible with a Metabones SpeedBooster adapter...

April 16, 2016 at 3:11PM

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Zan Shin
318

It depends on the size of sensor you want to use it with but as it is a super35 lense, you can cover a super35 size max even with a speedbooster so it will work with a speedbooster on a gh4 in 4k but not on a a7rii or a a6300

April 16, 2016 at 7:32PM

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AvdS
1238

T4.4 for $5k

Canon, I love you. You made my day. Can't stop laughing.

April 16, 2016 at 3:30PM

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JeffreyWalther
Steadicam Operator
1300

Canon seems to be using the same sales strategy as with their cameras.... Overpriced with poor specs.

April 16, 2016 at 4:00PM, Edited April 16, 4:00PM

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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
578

Laughing why? Have you seen the prices for a Fujinon with these focal lengths?
A Fujinon 18-85mm T2.0 Premier PL Zoom Lens costs 88 000 USD. Almost 15x more!

April 16, 2016 at 5:48PM

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Parfocal for $5k is actually huge. Nice try though...

April 16, 2016 at 9:09PM

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Pat Heine
Producer.
349

OMG that music and those swooshing sounds!!! Hahahaha!!!!

April 16, 2016 at 4:03PM, Edited April 16, 4:03PM

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Omg, what is wrong with canon!?

First, their camera recording in HD and without the monitor included for 5k.

And now this???

Hahahaha... Come on!! What's going on in there?

April 16, 2016 at 5:14PM, Edited April 16, 5:14PM

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Jorge Díaz Arjona
Producer
83

The issue it the difference of price between their photo and cinema line, 5k$ if a deal for ciné use but expensive compare to the photo lense

April 16, 2016 at 7:34PM

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AvdS
1238

For less than half the price I have Canon's L series 24-70mm 2.8...it doesn't have the servo, but why would I pay 5k and only get F4? Looking at the demo there's not a lot of shallow focus or bokeh in the footage...there IS way too many 'swoosh!' sound effects and lens flares over bad action 80s TV series theme music. Not a very tasteful demo....

April 16, 2016 at 7:41PM

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Jeffrey Norman
Director / Editor
102

To correct you when you say "this has a constant aperture of T4.4" isn't just nitpicking, it's something you all might want to educate yourselves about if you want to sound like you know what you're saying vs. just parroting other people's news/press releases.

A T stop (as most people reading this know) is a measurement of light. An f-stop is a physical measurement based on the focal length of a lens divided by the aperture diameter; so these are two completely different ways of measuring two different things. I wouldn't be surprised if this lens has a constant f/4 aperture.

And everyone here dissing this lens with the credentials of "DP" or "Producer" behind their name, it really makes me wonder who here actually knows anything. For doc/reality shooters with a professional camera like the F5/55, Varicam/LT, RED and Canon's EOS Cinema line (not a small market) the importance of this lens is almost hard to understate. Try finding a real parfocal lens with this range, IS, professional optics and servo control that covers an S35 lens. I don't think you can, but if you did, it'd be well over $15K.

Based on what's available in the market right now, this lens would be expected to come in between $7K and $10K, and I think Canon would've priced it there-- if there wasn't competition coming that we don't know about yet.

I'm not a "fanboy" of any brand, I shoot with Sony and Blackmagic mostly, but this is something I'd really think about owning (if it wasn't coming out this fall/next year).

April 16, 2016 at 7:47PM

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I find T4.4 is just fine for documentary - the high ISO capabilities of the C-series cameras makes it a non-issue IMO. I don't understand why so many people scoff at lenses just because they're not super fast. T4.4 is cool for me because when I'm doing run-and-gun work I don't want to be pulling focus all the time - if I'm looking to blow everything out around my subject I'd probably use a prime anyway. And I second the comment about looking at servo-ready lenses in that market - anything Fujinon is north of $15,000.

That said, I could've used another bit on the long end.

April 16, 2016 at 8:12PM

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Ben McGinley
Producer / Shooter / Editor
205

This looks like a pretty flexible and competitively priced cinema lens. If you don't understand the value of a lens like this, then it's probably not for you to begin with, but there are a lot of shooters out there who are already putting their preorders in.

April 16, 2016 at 8:41PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
894

More non-exciting news from Canon. Yawn....

April 17, 2016 at 1:42AM, Edited April 17, 1:42AM

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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
578

$5k for a photo T4.4 zoom with a servo, IS, and AF...Horrendous!!

$5k for a cine T4.4 zoom with a built in servo, IS, and AF...Amazing!!

If you don't understand the difference... you have some serious learning to do.

April 17, 2016 at 3:07AM

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Matthew Devapiriam Emmanuel
Camera Operator
335

More like an ENG zoom, at best. Basically it's a glorified slow photo zoom with a servo:
- T4.4 means it's not a good option for neither low-light, nor shallow DOF. Modern cine applications often require larger apertures for these reasons, so I wouldn't take this as my only lens on narrative work.
- Short focus throw (somewhat better than photo, but not on par with proper cine-zooms) and lack of proper focus marks - means hard time for your focus puller. I hope to god it's not fly-by-wire, even though it doesn't say that anywhere and that windowed focus scale makes me suspicious. Also just look at that throw between 6ft-to-30ft - it's like 4-5 degrees - and imagine nailing the marks there, especially with a wireless follow focus, not relying on monitors.
- Fixed EF mount limits your camera options significantly, unless you're keen on 3rd party adapters and limited camera choice. You want to shoot your film on the Alexa? Not with this lens.
- You want to shoot on RED and cover full frame? Too bad. Hence - not really future proof. I know few cine zooms actually cover full frame, but that's something that protects your investment and gives you more options to start with, if you invest today.

Point is - it has some merits to it, spec-wise, and it can fit *certain* applications, (can't say anything about the picture quality yet) but it still has a lot of boxes to tick to be considered a proper "cine-zoom".

April 17, 2016 at 7:29AM, Edited April 17, 7:33AM

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Gleb Volkov
Director of Photography
386

People were starting to think that a cheap, compact, lightweight, parfocal, constant aperture, zoom lens with a decent range, that covers a S35 sensor was impossible to design. Search for another lens that ticks all those boxes. They don't exist.

Will they shoot the next Avengers movie on it? Probably not, but this lens is going to be an instant classic with the low-budget-documentary crowd.

April 17, 2016 at 4:54PM

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Frank
349

Agreed. Low-budget-documentary crowd is in for a treat. So can you see why many are underwhelmed?

April 17, 2016 at 6:23PM

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Gleb Volkov
Director of Photography
386

It's my dream to have this camera. Maybe one day I will earn enough to afford it!

April 17, 2016 at 9:45AM, Edited April 17, 9:45AM

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6000 is cheap for t/4.4 lens...???!!

April 17, 2016 at 10:14AM

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It's amazing to see people loose their minds at the opportunity to shoot with (or own) anamorphic glass (especially zooms) that are as slow as T4 and beyond for $30,000 and up. And yet here we are with a nearly $5,000 cinema lens that has a series of fantastic, professional and convenient perks, but a majority posting here seem to be up in arms over the T-stop.

I wonder how many here would be okay with a client criticizing their cost for freelance or contract work similarly.

April 17, 2016 at 2:30PM

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Wow! Anyone who shoots documentaries with large sensor cameras is already familiar with the canon 24-105 f4. This lens looks similar, except you won't have to adjust the iris and re-focus every time you change focal lengths. The price is a steal if you actually shoot things for money.

April 17, 2016 at 4:44PM

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Frank
349

This is great news!

There's only one other parfocal zoom lens with servo (Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS Lens) for under $15k... and this is the first EF mount.

I've been waiting for a lens like this since the 5D mkII came out in 2009.

April 18, 2016 at 2:38PM

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Jon Wolding
DP/Director
204

This is not really a CINE lens. More of a broadcast or one-man band lens since it lacks the focus markings and is therefore clearly designed to be focused by the shooter himself. Also the range 18-80 in FF terms would be 24-105... You know like the Canon 24-105 F4.0 lens (which probably is close to T4.4 on its actual light transmission). I bet this is based on that design, the focal length range is tweaked down to wider which is easy to do when you sacrifice FF coverage for it. I think 24-105 was nearly parfocal (at least when it is new and the mechanism is not worn out) so probably on that not big adjustments needed either. So they added manual iris ring, stabilizer and that's what you are paying the extra for. Of course there's the zoom grip but for that you are going to pay more.

April 22, 2016 at 2:25AM, Edited April 22, 2:27AM

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Sorry, but your synopsis is incorrect....this lens is built from scratch by the Cine lens division, not re-housed, redesigned, or re-anything by anyone in the still lens division. I have it in my hands right now and if you were here and had it in your hands, I know you might think differently....and this is the first in a series of Compact Servos. Sorry for jumping on this but there is too much misinformation being thrown about by people that are guessing things based a spec sheet, not actual knowledge.

October 28, 2016 at 5:55PM

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Jim Martin
Director of Sales - EVS
10