NAB 2017 – Canon

Canon announced their Compact-Servo 70-200mm T4.4 EF lens, a big brother to an already existing lens in their stable.  A bit of history.

Last year Canon came out with a “crossover” lens for the market: a powered zoom, parfocal, EF mount lens that covered crop sensor cameras, the Compact-Servo 18-80mm T4.4 EF Lens.  It tried to have the best of both worlds: the coverage and range of their still camera lenses, but with a zoom motor and retention of focus through the entire zoom range.  That’s a lot of boxes to check.  Normally a lens like that would cost $30,000U.S.  They managed to do it for $5200U.S.  How?  By making smart compromises.

They are obviously not using glass with Cabrio levels of quality, but the main nicety that went by the wayside was light gathering ability.  T4.4 is not a fast lens by any means.  But, slower means small glass, which means smaller size and less weight.  Also, slower is not the doom scenario it used to be.  Modern cameras can shoot cleanly at much higher ISOs than they have in the past.  Once you get past that these lenses are not going to see in the dark, they have some real advantages.  They can use autofocus.  They have built-in stabilization.  Once again, they are parfocal.  They are the same physical dimensions, so accessories like a follow focus don’t move and throw off your rig’s balance in a huge way.  And finally, they have a powered zoom, which can be very handy.  One thing that I don’t think Peter mentions in the above video is that the 70-200 can be used with Canon’s still camera lens extenders (with the inherent further light loss).  If you’re shooting wildlife where you have lots of daylight, that can be a potent combination.