How Canon created the CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm 'dream' Lens

Wildlife filmmaker Ivo Norenberg approached Canon in 2010 with a request for an extreme lens. Ivo challenged Canon to produce a long zoom 4K Super 35mm lens tailored to the diverse needs of wildlife video production.

Canon was challenged by German wildlife filmmaker Ivo Norenberg create an extreme, “impossible” lens. The desited combination of big zoom range and small form factor is what made this project difficult. Canon accepted the challenge, and this 7-minute video from CanonUSA is the fascinating story of how the $70,000 Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 EF-mount cinema lens came to be.

Norenberg had detailed specifications in mind for his “wildlife dream lens” — that could full frame a subject 4 to 5 feet in height like many wild animals from a distance of 300 to 350 feet. Canon decided to build a Super 35 sensor based lens with focal length of 1000mm.

But Norenberg also wanted to be able to shoot wide views of landscapes, so Canon decided the lens would need to be 50mm on the wide end.

Norenberg also wanted the lens to be compact and lightweight, weighing no more than 15 pounds and measuring no more than 16 inches long.

Canon says it was “the most challenging project ever undertaken by the Canon optical design team.”

Some great design work led to the 2014 unveiling the Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm.

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