Canon introduced their pair of lightweight zooms, 15.5-47mm and 30-105mm, about a year ago and they’ve had a bit of a rough start. They were introduced into an already saturated market where every other manufacturer had been making zoom lenses for decades. Canon is no newb when it comes to high-end cinema zooms. They had their line of S16 format zooms a few years back (remember 16mm film?) that were adapted from their long running and still successful video lens division. Everyone knows that Canon makes great lenses. Their L series is a perfect indication of high quality, professional glass. But in the recent past, there wasn’t really any professional cinema lens offerings from Canon. The new lightweight zooms were an excellent comeback! They had all the features I look for in a zoom lens. They are designed with simple, robust components throughout the lens. Plenty of focus marks on clean, simple barrels. Consistent T-stop of T2.8 throughout the zoom range. And just about every other feature of a professional cinema zoom lens.
There’s one area that I didn’t like though… The mounts. I know that Canon is obviously partial to their EF mount and now with their new line of Cinema-Eos cameras and the vast army of DSLR shooters out there using the Canon EF mount, I don’t blame them for sticking with their heritage. But The EF mount isn’t a very good cinema mount at all. Luckily Canon had the foresight to offer these great lightweight zooms in PL mount as well. PL – a truly professional mounting system for motion picture work. It’s solid and robust, reliable, easy to work with, and just plain sturdy. Great, Canon EF mount or PL mount. But Canon still missed the mark by a tiny bit. Just about any Canon EF mount you’ve ever seen has been nickel plated brass. Brass is soft, pliable, and susceptible to temperature fluctuations. It’s also a LOT easier to machine and much cheaper to manufacture. It’s not a big deal since the Canon EF mount isn’t very robust to begin with… But Canon also used brass for their PL mounts. (What?!?) Not a great idea to hang a “lightweight” zoom off of a brass mount, unsupported. No biggie. Just use proper support and you’re golden. Last complaint: you had to choose between PL or EF mount. If you’re a working professional then you know how much variation comes along with jobs including which camera will work best for the project which, nowadays, determines which mount will be available. So if your job requires a PL mount camera, but you invested your 401k in a Canon EF mount zoom lens, you’re S.O.L.
Duclos to the Rescue!
Why not have your cake and eat it too? What if you could buy one of these great Canon zooms and simply swap the mount in a matter of seconds? Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Duclos Lenses has designed a “sub-mount” replacement that allows a user to swap mounts in the field, no shimming, no fuss. Based on the good ol’ universal mount that professional cinema lenses have used for decades, the Canon Lightweight Zoom Universal mount makes these new zooms from Canon some of the most versatile, affordable cinema zoom lenses currently available.
The new sub-mount will require installation by a qualified technician, but after the sub-mount is installed, the universal mounts simply require the twist of a ring to remove and replace. It’s as simple as it gets when it comes to interchangeable mounts. The new mounts will include PL, Canon EF, Nikon F, Panavision, and possibly more in the near future. Duclos Lenses has designed and tested the prototype with great results. The stainless steel PL mount is possibly the strongest we’ve ever tested. This new sub-mount can be installed on the Canon 30-105mm or the 15.5-47mm. Duclos Lenses will also be selling the lenses with the mount already installed and calibrated with your choice of mount flavor. The only downside at the moment is there is no word on factory warranty. Duclos Lenses is currently working out the details and will have a solution that will keep EVERYONE happy, one way or another. For more details including price and availability on this new modification, join the Duclos Lenses mailing list here.