Canon Cine Zoom 18-80mm T4.4 with Servo Motor for Video Shooters

Canon introduce their first servo powered Cine Zoom Lens at NAB 2016. Larry Thorpe tells us all about the new Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO.

Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO

Just as a quick reminder, the freshly announced Canon zoom 18-80mm lens features things like S35 (and APS-C) coverage, a constant T4.4 (f/4) aperture and a very competitive price tag of just over $5,000. Here are the hard facts again (read all about it in our recent article):

  • 18-80 mm zoom range, 4.4x ratio
  • Maximum aperture: T4.4, equivalent to f/4.0
  • No ramping of aperture throughout zoom range
  • Close focus MOD: 0.5 m
  • Optical image stabilization: On/Off and three levels of stabilization
  • Iris: Auto/Manual
  • Auto Focus / Manual Focus
  • Power through lens mount or connector
  • Filter thread: 77 mm threads for screw-in front filters
  • Front outside diameter: 84 mm
  • Weight: 2.6 lb / 1.2 kg
  • Length: 7.2” / 182.3 mm
  • Iris: 9 blades
  • Servo handgrip: detachable with one screw
  • Back focus adjustment under rear barrel
  • Covers 31.4 mm image diagonal
  • 20-pin connector for lens control and metadata: EIAJ RC5320A TYPE4 (5.5 mm diameter)

canon zoom

Issues with the Canon Zoom 18-80mm T4.4 lens

When we played with the lens, we noticed something quite odd. There were actually no hard stops on the focus ring, as you might expect from a traditional photo lens. Video shooters and cinematographers alike will have a more difficult time controlling focus, especially when using focusing tools like follow focus systems or wireless solutions.

canon zoom

An odd decision from Canon since the lens is clearly positioned as a professional tool for (indie-) filmmakers, particularly at that price point—and one of the most annoying things when dealing with photo lenses for a video shoot is the lack of hard stops on the focus ring.

The lack of hard stops probably justifies the very competitive price tag of the lens, but it feels like a slack tradeoff to me. What do you think about this issue? Dealbreaker or worth overlooking for the price tag?

We will make sure to review of this new Canon Zoom Lens soon. Stay tuned for our updates.

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Matteo Bertoli Reply
Matteo Bertoli April 20, 2016

4.4 for video shooters? Mmm… In the meanwhile Sigma came up with a 18-35 f/1.8 and a 50-100 1.8… Welcome in 2016 Canon.

Reply
Bror Svensson April 20, 2016

and those retail for under 1k each..

Jim Cullen Reply
Jim Cullen April 20, 2016

No hard stops stops my interest

Rafael Molina Reply
Rafael Molina April 20, 2016

I find it interesting, sad about the aperture, but well.

Kenny Shem Reply
Kenny Shem April 20, 2016

without high quality lens coating found in other exp lens to save cost I can understand….but without hard stop and u call this a pro cinema lens? Seems like a joke to me. How much does it costs to put a hard stop? It is a disappointment to me.

Philipp Peyer Reply
Philipp Peyer April 20, 2016

welchen Grund hat es, dass die da einen Fokusring ohne Stops einbauen, aus meiner Sicht ist das ein Dealbreaker, gerade wenn man vorhat die Optik mit Followfokus zu verwenden.

Benedict M. Heinzl Reply
Benedict M. Heinzl April 20, 2016

Ganz meine Meinung.

Koll Christian Reply
Koll Christian April 20, 2016

Also ich finde Fokusring ohne Stops eigentlich sogar besser. Gerade wenn man mit Followfokus oder Funkschärfe arbeitet. das macht doch das anlegen der Systeme viel problemloser und die Endanschläge kann man dann am Followfokus oder an der Funkschärfe setzen.

Philipp Peyer Reply
Philipp Peyer April 20, 2016

und das verschiebt sich sicher nicht? – ich bin bei solchen Systemen etwas kritisch …

Koll Christian Reply
Koll Christian April 20, 2016

kommt drauf an wie gut das ist, bei billigen Followfokus kann es sich schon ein bisschen verschieben. Aber viele Linsen die Endanschläge haben sind (vor allem beim Unendlich Anschlag) nicht beim Anschlag sondern minimal davor wirklich Scharf. Und wie oft kommt es denn beim Filmen vor das der Fokuspunkt auf den du Scharf stellst am Endanschlag der Optik ist? In Wahrheit bewegst du dich doch eh immer zwischen den Anschlägen.

Philipp Peyer Reply
Philipp Peyer April 20, 2016

also verschiebt sich der Ring auch bei schnellem fokussieren nicht?
sprich ich hab sicher eine hohe wiederholgenauigkeit? :)

Koll Christian Reply
Koll Christian April 20, 2016

Solange du es so einstellst das der Fokusring nicht über den Anschlag (den gibt es ja, nur dreht der Ring mit einer Rutschkupplung drüber) rausgehen kann, sollte es eigentlich auch mit der Wiederholgenauigkeit passen.

David Knapp Reply
David Knapp April 21, 2016

das gilt aber nur solange alles am Strom bleibt, dann muß man ja wieder einmessen, das ist doch bei Anschlag schneller als ohne?

Benedict M. Heinzl Reply
Benedict M. Heinzl April 20, 2016

Ist das Ding wenigstens parfokal?

Philipp Peyer Reply
Philipp Peyer April 20, 2016

jep, dazu minimales breathing, auf die t4 hätte mich nicht gestört, aber das mitm fokus is echt blöd

Harald Schossmann Reply
Harald Schossmann April 20, 2016

Ja das ist wirklich Schwachsinn!

 Andrea Daviddi Reply
Andrea Daviddi April 20, 2016

:-O
No hard stops?
Seriously?
On a cinema lens?
Sure it is a cheap zoom but sony cleverly offers both af and hard stops in their 28-135 (which yeah, is a tad too much on the tele side for s35) and it is sold south of 2.000€.
A deal breaker?
For many productions surely.
Every lens has downsides (unless you are paying way more than this) but this has to be optically amazing to justify such a tradeoff :-D

Reply
Anthony Burokas April 20, 2016

“Canon introduce their first servo powered Cine Zoom Lens at NAB 2016.”

How fast we forget the
Canon CN7x17 KAS S Cine-Servo 17-120mm T2.95 (EF Mount)
or the
Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 with EF Mount.

Christian Zorzi Reply
Christian Zorzi April 20, 2016

Das Objektiv wird erst im Q4/16 lieferbar sein. Also wäre ich noch vorsichtig mit einem abschließenden Urteil.

Philipp Peyer Reply
Philipp Peyer April 20, 2016

du glaubst, dass sie das noch ändern werden?

Christian Zorzi Reply
Christian Zorzi April 20, 2016

Ich habe keine Ahnung. Sobald ich Info habe, gebe ich diese gerne weiter.

 Ian Hunter Reply
Ian Hunter April 20, 2016

“At what point is it good enough?”

Exactly

Anton Seim Reply
Anton Seim April 21, 2016

I wish it were F/2.8 equivalent, but it’s a great range and having the stabilizer is a huge plus. This is going to be a very popular lens for C100/C300 shooters.

 Beebee Lestr Reply
Beebee Lestr April 21, 2016

This Canon lens, and the C300 camera, are aimed at documentary film makers.

Hard focus stops don’t matter. It’s common for run and gun video cameras.

Reply
Kevin Almodovar April 21, 2016

T4.4 for documentary?

Reply
James Manson April 26, 2016

The 24 – 105 has been used to great effect for years on doco’s. Everything’s great and nobody’s happy.

 Ian Hunter Reply
Ian Hunter April 21, 2016

Never understood that. Who are you/they to tell me what purpose O can use the cam/lens for.
If I want to shoot a film with the thing, then I’ll do it. If I wanna jump out an airplane with it, it’ll do it.

Alexander Boboschewski Reply
Alexander Boboschewski April 21, 2016

das Ding hat interne Motore also warum sollte ich einen Motor von aussen anschließen wenn schon welche drin sind? Entsprechende Adapterkabel und schon funktionierts mit der Funkschärfe Eurer Wahl ;-)

David Knapp Reply
David Knapp April 21, 2016

Es gibt aber noch keine Angaben ob es die üblichen Anschlüsse hat, oder habe ich es übersehen?

Alexander Boboschewski Reply
Alexander Boboschewski April 21, 2016

David sie ist auf jeden Fall über die RC-V100 komplett bedienbar und soweit ich es mitbekommen habe, wird sie die Standardanschlüsse haben. Nächste Woche hab ich mehr infos.

David Knapp Reply
David Knapp April 21, 2016

Ich frag nur so blöd da der Preis extrem niedrig ist für solche features, eine Zoomwippe kostet ja ca die Hälfte von der Optik, Remote Panel ja auch

Christian Zorzi Reply
Christian Zorzi April 21, 2016

Der Zoom Griff für das 18-80 wird etwa 480,- kosten.

Alexander Boboschewski Reply
Alexander Boboschewski April 21, 2016

Christian, David hat die Hinterkamerazoomwippe gemeint, da sind wir dann mit dem Schärferad bei über €2.000.- ;-)

Christian Zorzi Reply
Christian Zorzi April 21, 2016

Ok, Hinterkamera ist wieder was anderes.

David Knapp Reply
David Knapp April 21, 2016

Alexander Boboschewski Genau :-)

Alper Kasap Reply
Alper Kasap April 21, 2016

They wait for the NAB and release this … 4.4 seriously.. canon has become a joke really lost sight of what people need and are looking for..

 Lee Christiansen Reply
Lee Christiansen April 21, 2016

I love the way people rave about he benefits of large format and its depth of field characteristics… and then cripple it with a T4.4 lens.

A C300 gives a depth of field difference equiv to about 2.5 stops compared to a standard ENG 2/3″ camera, and my ENG camera stops down to F1.8 (which seems measured at about F1.9 / F2.0)

So congratulations, we have a camera combination which gives just 1/2 stop advantage in the DoF stakes but whilst I’m playing with a 17x zoom (and my lens has end stops for the focus), together with a blistering zoom spreed and a perfect servo action), my clients are still saying the magic word C300

It is hillarious sometimes how the TV world jumps on the next big thing because it has all the right buzz words, but no one seems to be looking at what we’re really being offered.

 Andrea Daviddi Reply
Andrea Daviddi April 21, 2016

You know better than me that is very difficult to have a short depth of field for run and gun shooting.
In many medium quality tv productions today you see 90% of the time focus pulling and 10% of the time the subject correctly in focus :-)

Still I see a big improvement from my pmw-200 in terms of noise (using an a7s with the 28-135 f4 as B camera) while shooting indoor. Plus if I have a more “relaxed” situation I can switch to a prime for interviews / beauty shots and be able to further isolate the subject thanks to a shallower depth of field.

Of course these are my impressions and my needs so results may vary :-)

Reply
Anthony Burokas April 21, 2016

Excellent assessment.
I’ve been putting B4 lenses on my M43 cameras for four years now. Getting the benefits of both worlds.

Michael Großmann Reply
Michael Großmann April 21, 2016

No hard stops, is that true? Sorry Larry, but you have to use a lens in real life to form an opinion.

Reply
Jim Martin April 21, 2016

In terms of range, this is the equivalent of the 24-105mm f4 lens…which is widely used. As for the no hard stops, Leave it to Cinema5D to blow something out of proportion. Almost all follow focuses have settable hard stops so if you are using that, no problem. If you have actually touched and operated the lens (which I did), you’d see how this is not a problem. It has stabilization and auto focus, something that is not in the higher end lenses in the Canon line….and for the very affordable price of $5700 (w/grip), this is a really good deal and a great step-up from the EF line. We’ve already had a lot of orders and the overwhelming response we observed on the NAB floor, there was no doubt this lens will be a big success.

Reply
Kevin Almodovar April 21, 2016

So basically I can just buy a 24-105 for $999. Slap a gear and FF on the zoom ring and I can save a few grand?

Reply
Jim Martin April 21, 2016

no, not the same glass or functionality….the 24-105mm breaths a lot, the 18-80mm hardly noticeable…..

Reply
Silton Buendia April 22, 2016

I had the chance to try this out at NAB I was a bit disappointed. For one the standard zoom buttons are hard as hell and can’t variable speed zoom, the canon guy who couldn’t speak English well said something like you can get a sperate zoom control for it but it cost 500 or so dollars. Also it’s supposed to be par focal but no back focus and it looks a bit soft on the wide side. Idk a bit of a let down for me especially at this price point

Alex Sofo Reply
Alex Sofo April 22, 2016

Why Samyang doesn’t make a declicked manual zoom like this at 1/4 the price and f2