NAB 2009: Canon To Debut New Booth, Filled With HD Products

By Carolyn Braff

Canon’s booth at NAB 2009 will be brimming with new products — including the booth itself.

“We are going to unveil a booth that we’ve completely redesigned for the broadcast side,” explains Larry Thorpe, national marketing executive for Canon. “I think it will make people flow a lot better, and the products will be presented much more effectively.”

Inside that booth will sit a new high-performance portable high-definition wide-angle lens, the first that Canon has released in eight years. A significant improvement on the company’s current offerings, the HJ14ex4.3B is a 4.3-mm lens with 14x focal range; the widest lens currently offered is 4.7mm with 11x.

“I believe this will cause a stir, as wide-angle is always dear to the hearts of cinematographers and ENG shooters,” Thorpe explains. “This will be the widest available, unless we’re surprised by the competition.”

The third-generation HD lens features a complete redesign of optics, glass materials, optical coating materials, mechanics, digital variety (zoom, iris, focus), and ergonomics.

“When you’re holding these lenses and cameras for some period, that can be quite tiring, so we use a lot of computer modeling to try to optimize for the shoulder mount, the angle of the arm, the position of the hand holding the lens,” Thorpe explains. “This lens is of overall higher optical performance than its predecessors, so, on all fronts, it should be a breakthrough.”

Canon will also introduce a second generation of its lower-priced HDGC high-definition lenses, a family tailored to credible HD performance at a lower price point.

“Now that all of these ⅔-inch high-definition camcorders have emerged,” Thorpe says, “we decided to try re-optimizing this tier of lenses, to see if we could get somewhat better performance but at that modest level of pricing. “

The ⅔-inch KJ17x7.6B, designed specifically for HD newsgathering, is the first lens in the family and will be on display at NAB. Others are slated to debut at IBC.

Completing Canon’s new-product trio is the BU-50H, a high-definition remote pan-and-tilt zoom system. A sibling of the BU-45H, it features the same integration of lens, camera, and drive units, but the housing is tailored for indoor use.

“This one is designed to be extremely quiet when you’re controlling pan, tilt, and zoom,” Thorpe explains. “We’ve gone all out for absolute quiet so it can be used in studios, near microphones, in lecture halls, board rooms, churches — places where you really don’t want to hear the whir of a mechanism, even if it’s low-level.”