After quite a long break from cine-specific zooms (aside from their hybrid style Cine-Servo line) Canon has introduced a new series of lenses for the company’s EF Cinema Lens lineup. A 20-50mm and 45-135mm, both with a maximum aperture of T2.4 which one may thing is reasonably fast, but combined with an image circle large enough to cover Full Frame formats!? That’s impressive. Let’s take a closer look at the new pair of zooms and the features that really make them stand out.
Aside from the relatively fast aperture and the Full Frame coverage, the new Flex Zooms, true to their name, will also feature an interchangeable mount. I don’t have specific details on how simple or complex the mount swap process will be, but it’s very loosely mentioned in some of the early material I received. There’s a chance that it’ll be user-swappable. But there’s also a pretty solid chance that it’ll be a service that Canon offers wherein you need to send your lens to a Canon Service Center in order to perform the swap. This feature will determine how “professional” these zoom really are. Close focus of the 20-50mm is really great at 24″ meaning you’ll eb able to focus within about a foot of the front element. The 45-135mm isn’t as great, but it’s still respectable at 3.3′. If you really need to focus closer, either switch to the 20-50mm for the wide angle overlap or grab an extension tube! Both lenses have a standard 114mm front housing which has really become the sweet spot for a professional zoom lens.
As far as image quality goes, I expect nothin short of high quality. Canon has clearly spent a long time researching this new line so I’m hopeful that the compromises will be very sparse. Canon claims “8K Optical Performance” but if you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ll know that such a claim is useless without qualification such as pixel pitch or format size. Marketing junk aside, I have no doubt that these two zooms will perform very, very well on every modern sensor available. I’ll issue a follow-up post with more technical details and image quality after I’ve had a chance to put the new lenses through their paces on proper test equipment.
The introduction of Cooke /i data to the PL version of these lenses is a very nice touch and sign that Canon is throwing everything they can at these new zooms. The EF models will come with the usual Eos metadata as well. The /i metadata is available through the contacts on the PL mount or via an external port for additional flexibility (get it?).
Price & Availability
The zooms are priced at $21,999 each. The 20-50mm will begin shipping in June this year and the 45-135mm will begin shipping in September this year. You can pre-order now with Duclos Lenses: Canon 20-50mm T2.4 Flex | Canon 45-135mm T2.4 Flex .
I also noticed an interesting line in Canon’s initial press material that says “The first lenses in the series are…” Implying that there will be more zoom lenses added to the Flex line. Perhaps a super-tele? Something wider seems quite challenging considering the wide is already at 20mm. But time will tell! I’m extremely happy that Canon didn’t make these a dedicated RF mount cine lens and take a more consumer-based approach to these new zooms. They could easily have made a pair of cinema lenses to pair with the C70 or other super light pro-sumer cameras. But they didn’t. These appear to be a proper, professional zoom lens for working production environments.
As usual, tech specs for my fellow lens geeks. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Did Canon hit the nail on the head this time? Or did they miss the mark?
|Data||EOS & Cooke /i||EOS & Cooke/i|
|Weight||7.28 lbs.||7.5 lbs.|
Edit: I referred to the 20-50mm as a 20-55mm several times throughout this original post. It has since been corrected to 20-50mm. Apologies! – Matthew Duclos