Canon Introduces Industry’s Widest Portable 2/3-inch HD Lens
Canon’s new HJ14ex4.3B portable lens is an even-wider version of their last 2/3-inch HD wide angle, providing a horizontal view unlike any other handheld before it.
The company’s existing HJ11ex4.7B wide-angle for HD production has become the worldwide choice for capturing everything from pro sports and major entertainment events, to news, episodic TV series, documentaries, and more.
“Based on our initial feedback from early users, anticipation is quite high in the industry for this new-generation wide-angle portable HDTV lens,” said Larry Thorpe, national marketing executive, Broadcast and Communications division, Canon U.S.A. “I firmly believe that Canon’s new HJ14ex4.3B will set a new industry standard of optical excellence for wide, long-zoom portable HD lens performance combined with unprecedented image clarity, sharpness, and operational advantages that will further enhance the HD video reproduction of the many superb new 2/3-inch cameras and camcorders that have recently entered into the marketplace.”
The HJ14ex4.3B is the result of a combination of Canon’s latest computer-assisted (CAD) tools, newly developed glass elements, and highly advanced optical coatings. The HJ14ex4.3B combines an extended 14 times zoom range and unprecedented 4.3mm-wide angle, while also improving on the exceptional optical performance of its predecessor. In addition, the lens’ newly developed Digital Drive unit provides improved operability and ergonomic advances for user comfort and convenient control of lens functions.
“We believe the HJ14 to be the world’s widest-angle lens in the professional realm of 2/3-inch lenses,” said Thorpe, adding that the HJ14 is the result of many creative suggestions received over the years from HJ11 users worldwide. He also revealed that Canon had applied considerable R&D effort into the development of the HJ14; in three major ways.
“One was to make this new lens even wider, while simultaneously making further reductions in chromatic aberrations and geometric distortion,” he said. “The second was to increase its focal range. The third was to expand the contrast range and minimize optical artifacts caused by strong light sources.”
These are extremely challenging goals from a design point of view, but Canon succeeded magnificently in all respects, and preliminary user reports are tremendously encouraging.
“Demand for portable HDTV lenses for cameras with 2/3-inch imagers continues to increase, year by year,” Thorpe said. “Using the highly successful HJ11 as its starting point, Canon has made a great lens even better with its new HJ14ex4.3B wide-angle portable HDTV lens.”
Wide, Advanced Optical Performance
Canon’s new HJ14ex4.3 wide-angle portable HDTV lens features a minimum focal length of 4.3mm and an angular field of view of 96.3 degrees at the wide end of the 16:9 HDTV aspect ratio. This optical performance is combined with a 14x zoom range reaching to 60mm (120mm with extender), which greatly expands creative options for the acquisition of crystal-clear, and virtually distortion-free HDTV video images.
Canon’s mastery of computer-based optical design techniques and use of the most contemporary optical technologies (including aspherical elements) has resulted in a unique optical layout for the HJ14ex4.3 portable HDTV lens that enables it to maintain higher resolution at both the center of the picture and the extremities of the 16:9 image plane. In addition, the adoption of new multi-layer optical coating technologies facilitate rich black reproduction, excellent transmittance efficiency and spectral response, and enhanced contrast range, while also contributing to control of undesirable ghosting artifacts caused by strong light sources. Innovative optical design techniques were also used to further diminish focus breathing and light fall-off from picture center to corners (especially at longer focal length settings). Canon has also made achievements in the minimization of chromatic aberrations and geometric distortion.
Improved Operability, Digital Drive, and Lighter Weight Using a 3D CAD-CAM design, Canon mechanically redesigned its new Digital Drive unit, employing free-form curves based on the shapes of human hands to make it narrower and shorter. At the same time, the redesign opened the spacing between the Digital Drive unit and the focus ring to avoid accidental interference with the unit while manipulating the focus control. It features new specialty rubber coatings that enhances tactile interface with the operator's hand.
The overall result is improved user operability resulting in the reduction of operator stress and fatigue, especially during prolonged shooting. The new HJ14ex4.3B also employs a smaller hood, which helps the camera operator view more of the actual scene.
Canon pioneered Digital Drive units for its portable lenses. The updated design of the Digital Drive unit for the new HJ14ex4.3B incorporates Canon-developed, ultra-compact rotary encoders capable of 0.1um position detection. They employ Canon’s unique Micro Roofmirror Array (MRA) technology to produce 16-bit resolution of the positions of the zoom, iris, and focus controls. These provide a means by which camera operators can digitally program precise and repeatable settings into their lenses for speed, focus and iris as well as zoom positions.
An LCD display built into the Digital Drive unit makes precise customization quick and convenient. The Digital Drive unit extends programmability of all lens operations and also provides (via three connectors) for the simple and direct digital integration of this new portable HDTV lens into virtual studio systems.
“Based on our initial feedback from early users, anticipation is quite high in the industry for this new-generation wide-angle portable HDTV lens,” Thorpe said. “I firmly believe that Canon’s new HJ14ex4.3B will set a new industry standard of optical excellence for wide, long-zoom portable HD lens performance combined with unprecedented image clarity, sharpness, and operational advantages that will further enhance the HD video reproduction of the many superb new 2/3-inch cameras and camcorders that have recently entered into the marketplace.”