In 2010, photographer and filmmaker Ivo Nörenberg approached Canon with a request for an “impossible” lens. He needed a long zoom 4K Super 35mm lens, designed for needs of wildlife video production. Canon said “challenge accepted,” and the CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 was born.
Narrated by Canon’s Larry Thorpe, this video outlines the specs of this $70K lens, but also shows Nörenberg thoughts about it, as well the results it lets him achieve.
Nörenberg needed the lens for filming subjects 4-5 in height, or in other words – mainly wild animals. He needed it for shooting from a distance of 300-350 feet. The calculations showed that the focal length of 1000mm was required to achieve this framing on a Super 35mm image sensor. However, he also wanted to shoot some wide angles, so the widest setting was ultimately determined to be 50mm.
Other than the desired zoom range, Nörenberg needed a lens as compact and lightweight as possible, no more than 15 pounds and no longer than 16 inches. Lastly, he needed an integrated high-speed precision servo drive unit for zoom, iris, and focus.
Canon responded to the filmmaker’s challenge, and in the video, you can hear his review of the lens, which was introduced in 2014. According to his words, Canon fulfilled his expectations and produced just the kind of lens he needed. Additionally, they added a 1.5x teleconverter, so the lens has an extended focal range of 50-1500mm.
Make sure to check out the video to hear the full story and see what this powerful lens is capable of. You’ll see plenty of examples in Nörenberg’s footage – from wide angles, to close shots of wolves’ eyes. Sure, the lens comes with a massive price tag, but it sure is impressive.
[The History of Canon’s CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm Lens via DPReview]
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