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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Aug 11

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8/11/2010 1:25 PM  RssIcon

Canon HJ15ex8.5B Lens

Advanced Image Stabilization Capabilities Combined With High Optical Performance

Make Canon’s New 2/3-inch HJ15ex8.5B Portable HD Zoom Lens Ideal for Many Applications

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., August 10, 2010 – As HD video production activity with portable 2/3-inch cameras and camcorders continues to increase, so does the need for effective image stabilization in many situations. Whether it’s capturing scenes of marathon runners from the back of a motorcycle or shooting a live news event from a TV helicopter, camera shake is more noticeable in HD because of its greater picture resolution and considerably larger display size. Addressing this challenge, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, introduced the HJ15ex8.5B portable HD zoom lens, the world’s first portable HD zoom lens with built-in Optical Image Stabilization. Designed to maintain stable images even when the camera is subject to jolts and vibrations, the HJ15ex8.5B uses a refined version of Canon’s patented Vari-Angle Prism Image-Stabilizer (VAP-IS) technology to achieve a high level of steadiness all the way from wide-angle to telephoto settings. Recognizing the importance of this new lens to the HD production industry, Bexel, a unit of the Vitec Group’s Services Division and a leading worldwide provider of broadcast services and solutions, has now added the HJ15ex8.5B to its equipment rental inventory.

“We have five of Canon’s standard-definition VAP lenses and they have been a good rental product for us,” said Bexel Chief Operating Officer Tom Dickinson. “We’ve been looking for an HD replacement for those and have found it in Canon’s new HJ15ex8.5B lens. It’s a very good product that many discerning clients will need for specific projects.”

Dickinson explained that Bexel evaluated the Canon HJ15ex8.5B before purchasing it by spending a week shooting HD video in different situations.

“As owners of Canon’s standard-definition VAP lenses, our engineering department knew all the stress points to put it under and how to test it,” he noted. “We were very pleased with how well the new HJ15ex8.5B performed. Canon has done a lot of work on providing switches on the lens that are specifically designed for certain situations.”

The HJ15ex8.5B lens provides four selectable stabilization modes to allow camera operators to optimize the degree of correction under diverse – and often unique – outdoor shooting conditions. The lens is ideally suited for different situations because it can stabilize a wide range of vibration frequencies. Examples range from the low-frequency vibrations encountered on a camera operator’s shoulder in a jostling crowd situation, to tripod-mounted operation on shaky platforms, to the higher-frequency vibration that cameras are subject to when operated inside TV news helicopters, motor vehicles, motorbikes, or boats. The image-stabilization capabilities of the HJ15ex8.5B lens frees camera operators to fully concentrate on creative framing, focusing, and capture of HD imagery.

In addition to its image-stabilization capabilities, Dickinson is also impressed with the optical quality of the new Canon HJ15ex8.5B portable HD lens.

“VAP-IS is a very sophisticated technology,” he said. “We were concerned whether HD would amplify its challenges. It turns out we were pleasantly surprised. Canon actually did a very good job of achieving excellent image-stabilization in the HJ15ex8.5B lens while also maintaining very high picture quality. We think that clients are going to be very pleasantly surprised with the optical brilliance of this lens.”

Canon’s unique VAP-IS technology comprises a prism that is flexible in two dimensions. This entails a novel optical group made up of two flat glass elements joined by a sealed bellows containing a high-refractive-index liquid. It is positioned directly in front of the lens-input focusing group. Physical perturbations to the lens, in the form of jolts or vibrations, are sensed and this information is processed in a high-speed microcomputer, which in turn generates two control signals that are converted to drive two actuators that grip the VAP unit. These, in turn, flex the bellows horizontally and/or vertically proportional to the amplitude of the lens perturbations. The associated distortion of the liquid instantaneously alters the direction of the transmitted light rays in a manner designed to counter the incoming light-ray displacements created by these disturbances. The system has been optimized to operate at very high speed, achieving close to real-time compensation for image instabilities arising from all forms of lens-camera operational unsteadiness. The new lens helps eliminate image unsteadiness when operating with any of the major high definition 2/3-inch cameras and camcorders.

Although highly sophisticated, Canon’s unique VAP-IS technology allows the remarkably compact HJ15ex8.5B portable HD lens to weigh-in at only 4.4 lbs., which is considerably lighter than other image-stabilization solutions for portable ENG-style HD cameras. This can help to extend location-shooting flexibility, where size and weight are important factors.

“We also like Canon’s new HJ15ex8.5B portable HD lens because it’s a complete, self-contained item,” Dickinson said. “It’s convenient to provide to our clients. This is a lens that fits a perfect niche, so it’s ideal for rentals.”

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), a top patent holder of technology, ranked fourth overall in the U.S. in 2009†, with global revenues of US $35 billion, is listed as number six in the computer industry on Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies 2010 list, and is on the 2009 BusinessWeek list of “100 Best Global Brands.” Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. At Canon, we care because caring is essential to living together in harmony. Founded upon a corporate philosophy of Kyosei – “all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future” – Canon U.S.A. supports a number of social, youth, educational and other programs, including environmental and recycling initiatives. Additional information about these programs can be found at www.usa.canon.com/kyosei. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss.

About Bexel

Bexel is the pre-eminent worldwide provider of broadcast services including video and audio equipment rentals, fiber services, new audio sales, used equipment sales, and repairs/maintenance. Bexel provides brilliantly designed and flawlessly executed systems and solutions to all customers – including producers of the biggest and most important televised events in the world. For more information, visit www.bexel.com.

†Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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