The challenges, design and production of Canon’s 20x 50-1000mm cinema lens


posted Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 3:30 PM EDT


In 2010, cinematographer and filmmaker Ivo Nörenberg approached Canon with a challenge. He wanted them to make a long telephoto zoom lens which was capable of high-quality 4K video footage in the Super 35mm format. Ivo works on wildlife documentaries and a long zoom lens would be very well-suited to wildlife production.

Well, Canon stepped up to the plate and produced the Cine-Servo 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 lens. This lens features a removable Digital Drive unit and is available in EF and PL lens mounts. It delivers the world's longest focal length when using its built-in 1.5x extender (75-1500mm) and was the highest magnification super 35mm zoom lens as of October 2014.

Despite its massive focal length, the lens is actually just under 16 inches long and it weighs under 15 pounds. For more information on the lens, including its full list of specifications, click here. In case you're curious, this level of technology does not come cheap, the lens sells for over US$70,000.

As you can see in the video above, the design challenges posed to Canon by Ivo were born out of a real-world need. The size and weight constraints were born from the need to move quickly in the field when filming wildlife and the zoom range requirements were dependent upon artistic vision and technical desires. As you can also see above, the final result is a very impressive lens capable of producing excellent footage. 

(Via Canon USA)