Canon Responds: Why No Hard Stops On Cine Zoom 18-80mm T4.4

Canon introduced their first servo-driven Cine Zoom Lens with autofocus at NAB 2016. But the new Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 compact servo zoom comes with an odd trait for a cine lens: it has no focusing hard stops. Here is Canon’s response.

No Hard Stops on Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO

The new 18-80mm is a very welcome lens for documentary style, large sensor shooters. Just like the newly announced Sony 18-110mm lens, it has a lightweight design, super35 (and APS-C) coverage, features autofocus and servo zoom functionality with a price tag of just over $5,000.

canon zoom

We first noticed the missing hard stops when we took the lens for a spin at NAB 2016. The lens has a gear ring for focusing with a follow focus or remote focus, but the lack of hard stops is reminiscent of traditional Canon photo lenses. Video shooters and cinematographers alike will have a more difficult time controlling focus, especially when using focusing tools.

According to the response from Mr Yuya Suzuki we got at IBC this year (see video above), in order to achieve the much applauded Dual Autofocus functionality they had to incorporate soft stops on the lens.

The lens is clearly positioned as a professional tool for (indie) filmmakers and marketed as a cine lens, so the missing hard stops will probably leave some questions open. On the other hand, follow focuses are rarely used by single operator shooters, and this might just be the perfect lens for those looking to equip a Canon C300 Mark II documentary style.

The lack of hard stops might justify the competitive price tag of the Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 lens, but could be a tradeoff that some are not willing to accept.

What do you think about this issue? Dealbreaker, or worth overlooking for the Dual AF functionality?

cinema5D at NAB 2016
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SKY LIKE September 30, 2016

Most people wont use it as a “cine lens”, but as an ENG lens. But here is the worst for an ENG lens, beside the start/stop there is only a “one shot af” button on the grip?!?!?! The only useful option for an ENG use would be “push auto iris” button. I asked at IBC if u could assign the button, they said no.
Its very sad because the zoom rocker is actually quite nice
in comparison with the very useless motor system of the new Sony 18-110 and the old 28-135, which is about a second laggy.

Marko Hila Reply
Marko Hila October 1, 2016

T4.4 can only imagine how creativity would die right there.

Anthony Burokas October 2, 2016

“Canon introduced their first servo-driven Cine Zoom Lens at NAB 2016.”

That honor belongs to the Canon CINE-SERVO 17-120mm T2.95 Zoom Lens, introduced April, 2014.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 2, 2016

You’re absolutely right. I wasn’t aware they gave this the same name. Corrected the article by adding the word “autofocus” which clearly differentiates the series.