Six Canon lenses

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Canon has added four new L-series lenses and two new accessory extenders for professionals and advanced amateurs. Leading the introductions, the EF 8-15 mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens is claimed to be the world’s widest fisheye zoom lens, providing pros and cinematographers with a unique optical tool for capturing 180º angle-of-view shots on all EOS DSLRs. Photographers looking for a broad focal length range with excellent image quality will enjoy the company’s first L-series 70-300 mm telephoto zoom lens, the new EF 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens. Canon is introducing two new versions of its popular super telephoto lenses, the new EF 300 mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF 400 mm f/2.8L IS II USM lenses. For professionals and advanced amateurs looking to push their L-series Canon telephotos to the limit, Canon has upgraded its two popular extenders with the new Extender EF 1.4x III and Extender EF 2x III.

The EF 8-15 mm f/4L USM delivers 180º diagonal angle of view images for all EOS SLR cameras with imaging formats ranging from full-frame to APS-C, and provides 180º circular fisheye images for full-frame EOS models. The new zoom features both UD and aspherical lens elements to enhance image quality and is equipped with rubber gaskets and seals to enhance weather resistance. Canon’s proprietary SWC (Sub Wavelength Structure Coating) is used to minimize flare and a new fluorine anti-smear coating is applied to the front and rear elements to make lens cleaning easier than ever. The lens is expected to be available in January. No Canadian pricing has been announced, but the tentative U.S. retail price is US$1,400.

The EF 70-300 mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens features two UD ultra-low dispersion glass elements for enhanced sharpness, L-series weather and dust sealing for shooting in harsh conditions, improved mechanical design, and streamlined ergonomics to help avoid inadvertent mode switch operation. The shapes of the lens elements and their coatings have been optimized to minimize ghosting and flare to produce high-contrast and high-resolution throughout the zoom range. A sophisticated floating system optical formula optimizes image quality at all distance settings and reduces minimum focusing distance by more than a foot. An updated optical image stabilization system compensates for camera shake up to an equivalent of four full shutter-speed steps, a full step improvement compared to earlier EF 70-300 mm lenses. A new fluorine anti-smear coating is applied to the front and rear elements. The lens is expected to be available in November. Again, no Canadian pricing has been announced, but the tentative U.S. retail price is US$1,500.

The Canon EF 300 mm f/2.8L IS II USM is the sixth generation lens of this focal length, well-known since 1974 for exceptional sharpness, contrast and colour fidelity. The new lens carries on this tradition with improved image quality, lighter weight, improved Image Stabilization and enhanced durability. The optical formula of the new lens has been upgraded with the inclusion of two fluorite lens elements for improved image quality and reduced chromatic aberration. Canon has reduced the overall weight of the lens by 8 percent to 82.9 oz., making it the lightest weight lens in the Canon EF 300 mm f/2.8 series. The Image Stabilizer provides an equivalent of approximately four full shutter speed steps of shake compensation and has been enhanced through the incorporation of a rolling-ball-friction system in place of sliding parts in the compensation optics barrel for a minimum-friction structure. The overall durability of the lens has also been enhanced through increased use of magnesium alloy and titanium for lens barrel components, together with weather sealing for all exterior joints and switches and a new fluorine anti-smear coating applied to the front and rear elements. The lens is expected to be available in December. Tentative U.S. retail price is US$7,000.

The Canon EF 400 mm f/2.8L IS II USM is the fifth generation in this series and the successor to the current EF 400 mm introduced in 1999. The new lens has been engineered for the ultimate in optical performance through the use of two fluorite  lens elements for improved quality and reduced chromatic aberration. Canon has reduced the overall weight of the lens by a substantial 28 percent from 189.4 oz to 135.8 oz, making it Canon’s lightest weight 400 mm f/2.8 lens ever. The Image Stabilizer provides an equivalent of approximately four full shutter speed steps of shake compensation and has been enhanced through the incorporation of a rolling-ball-friction system in place of sliding parts in the compensation optics barrel for a minimum-friction structure. The overall durability of the lens has also been enhanced through increased usage of magnesium alloy and titanium for lens barrel components, together with weather sealing for all exterior joints and switches and a new fluorine anti-smear coating is applied to the front and rear elements. The lens is expected to be available in December. Tentative U.S. retail price is US$11,000. (Sorry, I should have given you given warning . . .) 

The two new EF extenders are direct replacements of the current extenders. These new extenders have been designed to provide faster autofocusing and improved autofocus precision with compatible EF lenses. Each extender includes an anomalous dispersion lens element for reduced chromatic aberration and enhanced optical image quality. Each extender also features a newly developed microcomputer that increases AF precision when the extenders are used with a IS Series II EF super-telephoto lens. Both extenders are equipped with rubber gaskets and seals to enhance weather resistance. A new fluorine anti-smear coating is applied to the front and rear elements of both extenders. They’ll hit stores in December. Tentative U.S. retail price for each lens is US$500.

About that new fluorine anti-smear lens coating . . . it’s highly oil- and water-repellent so that any oil smears or water droplets on the lens can be wiped off quickly and easily without the aid of solvents using a soft dry cloth. These four new lenses and two new extenders are the first of their type to employ fluorine coating, and it is expected that this new feature will enhance the usability of the lenses during adverse shooting conditions.

Canon has introduced a third Image Stabilization mode option to the new 300 and 400. When Mode 3 is selected on the lens, the image stabilization effect will not be seen in the viewfinder. When the shutter button is pressed halfway, the lens will begin detecting camera or lens movement and only during exposure, when the shutter is fully depressed, will the Image Stabilization engage and provide the equivalent of four stops faster compensation. Canon says the new Mode 3 is particularly useful when a photographer does not want to see the IS working in the viewfinder while tracking a moving subject.

Helping moviemakers achieve smoother and more appealing focus shifts when filming on EOS DSLRs, Canon has included a new Power Focus (PF) mode on the two new super telephoto lenses. This mode allows manual rack focusing to be operated smoothly by turning a playback ring that is normally used for the focus preset function. Both low-speed and high-speed focus shifting are available.

Additionally, a new security slot attachment has been included on both new super-telephoto lenses to allow a wire-type security lock to be easily affixed, a great safety feature for professionals shooting from high vantage points above arenas and crowds.

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