In a surprise move, Canon has announced two new zoom lenses with the cinema-standard PL mount (note the green rings!). The lenses are 14.5-60mm T2.6 and 30-300mm T2.9-3.7, rated up to 4K resolution, and cover a 27.5mm image circle (plenty large for Super35-sized sensors, but not large enough for, say the RED EPIC's 33mm sensor). Considering Canon does not make a camera that natively accepts PL lenses, it would certainly make sense that their video division would also debut a large-sensor PL-mount camcorder to go along with these new lenses. Right?
Yes, you'd think that Canon will debut a cinema camcorder with a sizable chip sooner or later. Something to compete with the Sony F3, Panasonic AF100, and offerings from RED, perhaps? Something to compete with their own photo division, which has effectively taken over the cinema market from the video department thanks to HDSLRs? We'll see at this year's NAB, though we've seen no glimpses whatsoever of such a camera. If it's not at NAB, you'd think there will be something eventually. Here's a look at the lenses (no word on pricing yet), with the press release following.
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., April 7, 2011 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, today introduced two advanced-design PL-mount lenses that address the emerging 4K production standards. Designated as the Canon FK14.5-60 wide-angle cine zoom and the Canon FK30-300 telephoto cine zoom, these precision-matched lenses incorporate breakthrough Canon optical designs that simultaneously optimize and enhance multiple imaging attributes while minimizing optical aberrations and distortions. Both lenses are also more compact and lightweight than contemporary PL-mount lenses and both feature a totally new Canon optical design that virtually eliminates focus breathing. As digital cinematography continues to accelerate for theatrical motion pictures, TV movies, episodic dramas, commercials, and other forms of digital high-resolution production, professionals will require the very best in performance and image quality. By already performing in accordance with emerging 4K production image format standards, both of the new Canon PL-mount cine zoom lenses inherently ensure the very highest performance in contemporary 2K and HD digital motion imaging.
“Both the Canon FK14.5-60 wide-angle cine zoom lens and the FK30-300 telephoto cine zoom lens are engineered to meet the most demanding overall imaging requirements of the latest large-format single-sensor digital cinematography cameras, and the creative requirements of the most discerning cinematographers, producers, and directors. Canon’s new wide-angle FK14.5-60 and telephoto FK30-300 PL-mount lenses will be on display at the 2011 NAB Show along with many other Canon HD lenses and advanced imaging products in booth # C-4325 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, April 11-14.
“The 2K and HD digital production formats are firmly established in the global marketplace today, while 4K resolution is poised to further propel the imaging quality of digital cine production. Anticipating this exciting evolution in digital acquisition guided Canon’s developments of a new optical platform in recent years to meet the current and future imaging needs of high-resolution camera sensors,” explained Larry Thorpe, national marketing executive, Broadcast and Communications division, Canon U.S.A. “Canon has extrapolated a new optical platform – first seen during NAB 2009 on a working prototype 8K lens – to bring to market these two new PL-mount lenses. Advanced glass materials, exotic new optical coatings, and new computer-design techniques were all employed to achieve significant overall optical performance in these two lenses.”
Digital Cinematography for Feature Films
Canon’s new FK14.5-60 wide-angle cine zoom lens and FK30-300 telephoto cine zoom lens are both engraved with large, highly visible focus scales for convenient film-style operation. Both also have a common 136 mm front diameter for use with industry-standard optical accessories. The location, diameter, and rotation angle of the lens gears are also identical, which further facilitates convenience in exchanging lenses on-set.
The wide-angle FK14.5-60 maintains its T2.6 maximum aperture over the entire focal range, and with the virtual absence of focus breathing offers new freedom in exploring novel picture creation. The lens preserves a high MTF (modulation transfer function) at wide-open apertures, exhibits well-controlled light distribution across the image plane, and greatly curtails ghosting and veiling glare artifacts from strong light sources. These attributes combine to help ensure superb contrast under a wide range of scene-lighting conditions, help maximize the image-creation capabilities of the current top-of-the-line single-sensor digital cinematography cameras. The telephoto FK30-300 complements the wide-angle FK14.5-60 in larger studios while also servicing many outdoor shots with exceptionally vivid imagery.
TV Movies, Episodic Series, and Commercial Production
The focal ranges offered by the wide-angle FK14.5-60 and the telephoto FK30-300 cine zoom lenses are designed to flexibly address most of the needs of contemporary HDTV episodic program production. The short depth of field, high sensitivity, superb contrast ratio, and excellent picture sharpness of both lenses are designed to provide producers of TV movies, episodic (drama) series, commercials, and music videos with the creative imaging flexibility needed to fulfill a myriad of potential story-telling objectives. Both lenses are equipped with precision back-focus adjustments to expedite lens-camera set-up, which is especially useful in multi-camera TV production environments. The mechanism is concealed beneath a cover plate. In addition, both lenses provide superb control over geometric distortion to prevent visible anomalies when shooting at extreme wide angles on large studio sets that contain extended straight edges.
[via Matthew Duclos]