January 15, 2014

Here's What is Really Happening Inside Your Canon Lenses

While Sony introduced a lower-cost consumer 4K camera, and Panasonic showed their own 4K solution within the GH camera line, Canon was relatively quiet at CES 2014. What they did show, however, was a fascinating look at the internals of their lenses, more specifically the new STM lenses designed to be used for both video and stills. We've also got another showing off STM technology, and a slightly dated making-of for Canon's over-$10,000 500mm lens.

Here is Popular Photography's video at Canon's CES 2014 booth:

Apparently Canon has shown similar cross-sections before, but it's still pretty amazing to see what kind of magic is going on to get seamless results. Image stabilization in particular seems like it should not produce anything usable just by looking at the internal of the element moving, but for anyone that's used any decent Canon lens with IS, it works extremely well, even in video.

And for a very in-depth on the STM lenses, check out this video:

Here's another video -- this one a bit older -- showing Image Stabilization working on one of Canon's large lenses:

While we're at it, this is Canon making the 500mm F4L IS USM (it's a bit dated, but interesting):

No this is not an advertisement for Canon, but I started with the video at the top and just kept going down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos. Lenses might seem unnecessarily expensive, but when you look at what's going on inside, take a look at the production, and understand that the most expensive lenses have the highest tolerances (with the most expensive raw materials), it starts to bring the cost into perspective.

Link: Video: This Is What Goes On Inside Canon Lenses -- Popular Photography

[via PetaPixel]

Your Comment


Until a new camera whit amazing video feactures i dont want to know nothing about Canon!

January 15, 2014 at 9:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM


+1 :-)

January 15, 2014 at 11:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM


The most welcome development in the lens area is the emergence of the new manufacturers that give a comparable performance to the Canon-Nikon-Zeiss brands but for a lot less. Considering that there are no trade secrets to making a quality lens, the rest is about having the best bang for the buck. Hopefully, there'll be higher end video oriented lenses with a similar approach. The top tier Cookes and Fujinon are fine and dandy but, given the ever sliding cost of the electronic equipment, there's a demand for much lower priced glass.
PS. Canon should introduce new products at CP+ that opens a month from now in Japan. Its prosumer and pro cams might appear at NAB.

January 15, 2014 at 11:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM


sigma is definitely making it interesting with their recent lenses, and two years later I still don't regret buying the tamron 24-70 2.8 VC over the canon

January 15, 2014 at 2:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM


i have the tamron too. the stabilizer is nice for video. BUT! for me the focus is backwards. so its hard to switch in some some quick situations. so in the end i will sell it although its a good lens.

January 15, 2014 at 5:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM


There's a company called Handevision, which is a partnership between the German designers IB/E Optics and the Chinese manufacturers Shanghai Transvision, that is producing what they call the "fastest lens in the world" - a 40 mm .85 - made for MFT/APC size sensors. The MSRP is around $2,100, when it is released in February, Not an inexpensive proposition but .85 might look pretty nice on your new 4K cam.

January 15, 2014 at 8:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM


I am flabbergasted that the Canon Cine Zooms dont have OIS.....

January 19, 2014 at 1:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM


thanks a lot for this amazing explanation ! now i really understand how my lens work.

February 19, 2014 at 4:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM