The Canon CN-E Primes have been out for quite some time now and have been tested on and off set by bloggers and cinematographers alike. There’s no doubting the capability of the CN-E Primes at this point. Beginning with a mere three prime lenses – 24, 50, and 85mm, Canon filled out the line with a 14, 35, 135mm over the next few years but then simply stopped adding focal lengths. We finally have a new lens to add to the CN-E line.
The 20mm T1.5 CN-E prime comes as a brand new optical design while managing to fit perfectly among it’s slightly older sisters in regards to size, weight, dimensions, and most importantly, character. If you’ve used any of the other “normal” CN-E primes, you pretty much know what to expect out of the new 20mm. I observed a very minor amount of distortion in the full frame field. Wide open, you’ll start to introduce spherical aberration which will reduce your contrast just a tad. However, stopping down to even T2 will dramatically clean up the image. This is to be expected on most high speed primes, especially when design compromises are made to accommodate a 35mm Full Frame image circle! Where I really enjoy the 20mm is shooting close-up, wide open. It’s such a beautiful way to isolate a subject. The bokeh at T1.5 on a 20mm is just lovely.
Overall, the 20mm is an excellent addition to the CN-E line that users have been asking for. I had been hoping for an 18mm but I’m glad that Canon stuck with T1.5 – I won’t miss the 2mm difference. That said, some may criticize Canon for putting a lens only 4mm apart from the next lens in it’s line, the 24mm T1.5. However, keep in mind that field of view difference becomes progressively more dramatic the wider your focal length. For example, the difference between 20mm and 24mm field of view is pretty noticeable. But try to discern the difference between a 100mm and a 104mm. Same difference in focal length – but when considering longer lenses, the field of view difference is hardly noticeable. So yes, Canon only offered 4mm of focal length, but it does make all the difference!
As with all of the other Canon CN-E Primes, Duclos Lenses will be offering their Canon approved PL Mount Conversion. To Pre-Order the Canon 20mm CN-E Prime click here. For additional information on the CN-E PL Mount Conversion, click here.
Canon also provided a nice introductory video for the new 20mm which you can watch below. Also be sure to stop by Canon’s booth at NAB and check out the new 20mm as well as their C700FF!