(September 21, 2012) Feature filmmakers and producers of episodic TV series and commercials are increasingly transitioning to large-format single-sensor digital cinematography cameras for the many creative and image-performance advantages they provide. The Camera House, a high-end motion-picture rentals company in North Hollywood, sees this trend accelerating with the recent introduction of new top-end PL-mount EF Cinema zoom lenses having over 4K resolution from Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions.
Camera House President/CEO Rufus Burnham with one of the new PL-mount Canon lenses, the CN-E14.5-60mm T2.6 L SP wide-angle cine zoom. Camera House also purchased a Canon CN-E30-300mm T2.95-3.7 L SP telephoto cine zoom.
“The move from film to large-sensor digital cameras has opened the door for newer lenses,” noted Rufus Burnham, President/CEO of The Camera House. “There really hasn’t been much out there in terms of new zooms for those cameras. Now Canon has come along with new PL-mount cine zooms that are lighter, smaller, and more affordable than most of the competition whilst being amazing in quality. We were so impressed and I believe these new Canon zooms will be very successful in the commercial world, as well as for TV and features.”
The two new Canon PL-mount EF Cinema zoom lenses purchased by The Camera House include the CN-E14.5-60mm T2.6 L SP wide-angle cine zoom and the Canon CN-E30-300mm T2.95-3.7 L SP telephoto cine zoom. Both of these precision-matched lenses incorporate breakthrough Canon optical designs that simultaneously optimize and enhance multiple imaging attributes while also minimizing optical aberrations and distortions. New Canon technologies employed in the CN-E14.5-60mm and the CN-E30-300mm cine zooms include advanced glass materials with fluorite and large aspherical lens elements to achieve sharp, consistent images throughout the zoom range of each lens. Canon also utilized exotic new optical coatings and new computer-design techniques to achieve significant overall optical performance. Canon engineers incorporated geared inner focusing within each lens to minimize focus-induced changes in the angle of view and reduce focus breathing virtually to zero. At 12.8 lbs., the CN-E30-300mm telephoto lens is significantly lighter than any lens in its class. Both lenses are engineered to meet the most demanding overall imaging requirements of the latest large-format single-sensor digital cinematography cameras (not to mention the creative requirements of discerning cinematographers, producers, and directors). This new optical platform was born of the extensive Canon developments of prototype 8K lenses to support the work of NHK on a future UHDTV 8K/4K television system. These new Canon PL-mount cine zoom lenses provide resolution beyond emerging 4K production image format standards, which also ensures the very highest performance in contemporary 2K and HD digital motion imaging.
“These Canon lenses project beautifully, and their color and resolution are great,” Burnham affirmed. “We tested these lenses with rental clients and they were very impressed with the picture quality, compact size, and low weight. When we get that kind of professional feedback we take it very seriously, which is why we invested in the lenses. We are also very excited to see the new hand held zooms which are coming later in the year*; they will also be a fantastic addition to our inventory!” The Camera House’s latest set of Canon PL-mount CN-E14.5-60mm and CN-E30-300mm cine zooms were purchased from Band Pro Film & Digital.
The wide-angle CN-E14.5-60mm 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, and also help to maximize the image-creation capabilities of the current top-of-the-line single-sensor digital cinematography cameras. The telephoto CN-E30-300mm complements the wide-angle CN-E14.5-60mm in larger studios while also servicing many outdoor shots with exceptionally vivid imagery.
“They are beautifully made lenses, and the glass is of impeccable quality,” Burnham stated.
The focal ranges offered by the Canon CN-E14.5-60mm wide-angle cine zoom and CN-E30-300mm telephoto cine zoom lenses are designed to flexibly address most of the needs of contemporary episodic HDTV program production. The short depth of field, high sensitivity, superb contrast ratio, and excellent picture sharpness of both lenses provide producers of TV movies, episodics, commercials, and music videos with the creative imaging flexibility needed to fulfill a myriad of potential story-telling objectives. In the case of television production, a precision back-focus adjustment can be accessed (the mechanism is concealed beneath a cover plate) to expedite lens-camera set-up, which is especially useful in multi-camera TV production environments. In addition, both lenses provide superb control over geometric distortion to prevent visible anomalies when shooting at extreme wide angles on large studio sets with extended straight edges.
Both lenses are engraved with large, highly visible focus scales for convenient film-style operation. Both also have a common 136mm 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.
“Canon has made a tremendous commitment to our industry on several levels and I am very excited with what they are doing.” Burnham said. “They are listening to people like us and producing great products at great prices. Canon is a huge worldwide company, so you know you’ll have the support you want in terms of service and support.”
“Canon has had enormous success with its HD-SLR cameras and now with the introduction of the EOS C500 4K Digital Cinema Camera* they cannot be ignored on the high-end professional level,” Burnham added. “Everything that I have seen footage-wise from the Canon C500 camera is extremely impressive. As I mentioned I am very excited at the potential of the upcoming hand-held zooms as well. Perhaps even a commitment to providing a PL-mount prime lens to match their studio and hand-held zooms. I think Canon is going to continue to impact in industry in positive and innovative ways.”
* This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.