Object of Desire: Canon Cinema Prime Lenses

April 26, 2013

By Dan Havlik

Canon often likes to slip in a few high-end gear announcements amidst the sea of new point-and-shoot cameras at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and this year was no exception. The company took the wraps off two new pieces of prime cinema glass at the show: the CN-E14mm T3.1 L F and CN-E135mm T2.2 L F. Both are single-focal-length lenses for large-format, single-sensor cameras employing Super 35mm or full-frame 35mm imagers.

The lenses expand Canon’s Cinema EOS prime lens lineup to five models as the company makes a big push into the ultra-high-def video market. The lenses are part of the Canon Cinema EOS System for 4K/2K/HD video, which includes the EOS C500 4K/2K digital cinema camera; EOS C300 digital cinema camera; EOS C100 digital video camera; EOS-1D C 4K DSLR cinema camera; and four Canon Cinema zoom lenses.

Most photographers are already very familiar with Canon’s high-end glass for still photography but these cinema lenses are a whole different animal. They have an odd-numbered, 11-blade aperture diaphragm, designed to achieve cinema-style depth of field manipulation and luscious, background blur (bokeh) effects. They also offer 300-degree focus ring rotation for precision control along with easy-to-read, engraved focus scales on both sides of the lens barrel so cinematographers can adjust the step-less focus and/or the aperture from either side of the camera.

If you’re ready to graduate from shooting HD with your Canon EOS 5D Mark III, these new cinema primes are what making professional-looking movies is all about.

CN-E14mm T3.1 L F, $5,500; CN-E135mm T2.2 L F, $5,200.