MLB Network Taps Canon for Lenses, Cameras

The Major League Baseball (MLB) Network chose four of Canon’s XJ27x6.5B HD studio lenses and two HJ11ex4.7B portable HD lenses for its new broadcast studios in Secaucus, N.J.

In addition, MLB Network will supplement its studio-originated video with HDTV content from multiple Canon BU-45H remote-control pan/tilt outdoor cameras to be installed at all 30 MLB ballparks nationwide. MLB Network launched in about 50 million cable and satellite homes on Jan. 1.

The XJ27 and its "sister" lens, the XJ27AF Auto Focus, are the successors to Canon’s XJ25. The XJ27 is wider, has a greater zoom ratio, and features newly developed multilayer optical coatings that reduces ghosting and flaring while also increasing lens contrast, the company said.

“We did extensive research regarding the lenses that would go on our cameras,” stated Mark Haden, vice president of engineering and IT for MLB Network. “Canon continues to upgrade and improve their product. For quite a long time I’ve been impressed with the way they’re staying ahead of the curve. Anything that broadcasters want, Canon seems to deliver.”

Of MLB Network’s two Canon HJ11ex4.7B wide-angle portable lenses, one is mounted on a stabilized camera rig and the other on a jib arm. Capable of more than 91 degrees of horizontal angle of view in the 16:9 image format, the HJ11ex4.7B is engineered for wide-angle shooting with minimum chromatic aberrations and geometric distortion, while also providing lightweight operation and exceptional picture sharpness and contrast.

In addition to the HD programming viewers will see from MLB Network’s two new studios, there will also be live HD ballpark-cam “look-ins,” dugout interviews, and centerfield shots from the 30 Major League ballparks across the nation. This video will be captured by multiple Canon BU-45H remote-control pan/tilt outdoor HDTV cameras in each ballpark. Remote control via IP for each ballpark-deployed Canon BU-45H will reside at MLB Network headquarters in New Jersey.