More Patents for Canon CN-E “Super Zoom” Cinema Lenses

More Patents for Canon CN-E “Super Zoom” Cinema Lenses

When Canon launched the original C300 video camera they also jumped head-on into the world of cine lenses with the CN-E 14.5-60 T2.6 and the CN-E 30-300 T2.95-3.6. These have since been followed by a variety of zoom and prime lenses, and every one of them has been met with high praise from people in the industry, with lenses like the 30-300mm becoming a staple addition to aerial filming units, and the insane 50-1000mm taking the top spot in natural history film units for people like the BBC and National Geographic.

Lenses with gigantic zoom ranges are not uncommon in the film industry due to the complexity of camera setups, and the cost per hour of having large crews on set at expensive locations. A cinema camera isn’t just a camera and a lens, but also a complex array of cabling, monitors, external recorders, matte boxes, remote control motors and other rigging. The process of changing a lens can be extremely time consuming if the new lens has different physical dimensions or weight to the one being swapped out. All of the above items might need to be relocated, and boom arms or cranes would need to be re-balanced.  All this time, hundreds of people and the production’s “talent” could be sitting around costing money and doing nothing. Zoom lenses with seemingly ridiculous ranges and sizes to people who are used to stills lenses, solve many problems, albeit at a gigantic cost.

Last year we published a post about a patent for a Canon CN-E 60-800mm and today we thought we would bring you some slight variations on this idea in the form of three more optical designs that Canon has patented. With NAB just around the corner, will we see one of these designs become a reality in 2017?  Hard to say. I’m sure that Canon would not produce more than one of any of these lens designs, so this is certainly them just testing out the possibilities.  I’m relatively confident that we will see one of these lenses at some point though, as it seems that Canon certainly have the ability to make something like this, and it would also be unique in the industry. Currently, the longest zooms of this type all top out natively around the 300mm mark, with the most popular probably being the Angenieux Optimo 24‑290. This lens is compatible with a special 2x extender though which delivers a 580mm T5.6, but adding that extension necessitates many of those previously mentioned time-consuming tasks, so a zoom that went past 300mm would certainly be appreciated in some circumstances. Whilst the CN-E 50-1000 does cover the range, it does it at the relatively slow speed of t5-t8.9, whereas these new patent are all for lenses with t-Stops in roughly the t4 range, and with much less ramping on the long end.

In the previous 60-800mm patent, we drew attention to the physical length of the lens: 465mm. That’s a monster! The CN-E 30-300mm is big, and that’s 350mm long. Looking at these other optical designs, you can see how the overall lens length is affected by the focal length, with the 500mm design coming in at 373mm long, while the 600mm and 640mm designs are 436mm and 440mm in length respectively. It’s likely that Canon could make all four of these designs (that’s including the 60-800mm) optically excellent, and that the overall size and weight of the resulting lens will be a considerable factor in  them deciding which of these they will bring to market.


Canon CN-E 75-600mm Patent

This diagram shows the optical design as it varies with the zoom position.

  • Zoom ratio 8.00
  • Focal distance 75.00 250.00 600.00
  • F number 3.50 3.50 4.00
  • a half field angle (degree) — 10.65 3.23 1.35
  • Whole length of the lens 436.32 436.32 436.32
  • BF 50.02 50.02 50.02


Canon CN-E 80-640mm Patent

  • Focal distance 80.00 275.00 640.00
  • F number 3.50 3.50 4.50
  • a half field angle (degree) — 10.00 2.94 1.26
  • Whole length of the lens 440.03 440.03 440.03
  • BF 50.01 50.01 50.01

Canon CN-E 60-500mm Patent

  • Zoom ratio 8.33
  • Focal distance 60.00 180.00 500.00
  • the f number 4.00 4.00 4.80
  • half field angle (degree) — 14.48 4.92 1.78
  • Whole length of the lens 373.88 373.88 373.88
  • BF 50.05 50.05 50.05