NAB Preview: Canon To Present World’s First HD Portable Zoom Lens with Built-in Optical Image Stabilizer

The new HJ15ex8.5B KRSE-V is the world’s first HD portable zoom lens with a built-in optical image stabilizer and will be on display at Canon’s NAB 2010 booth in Las Vegas. Designed to maintain stable images even when the camera is subject to jolts and vibrations, the lens uses Canon’s patented Vari-Angle Prism image-stabilizer (VAP-IS) technology to achieve a high level of image stability all the way from telephoto to wide-angle settings. This unique technology allows a compact high-performance lens to weigh in at only 4.4 lbs.

Canon’s Vari-Angle Prism technology entails an optical group made up of two flat glass elements and a sealed bellows containing a high-refractive-index liquid, selectively placed within the lens’s overall optical system. Physical perturbations to the lens flex the bellows proportionally to the amplitude of these disturbances. 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 introduce a high degree of real-time compensation for image instabilities arising from all forms of lens/camera operational unsteadiness. The technology was originally introduced more than a decade ago in an SDTV lens that became very popular. Based on the considerable experience gained and further technological advances, the VAP-IS system in the new HD lens achieves a much higher degree of image stabilization.

The HJ15ex8.5B KRSE-V is ideally suited for diverse, challenging outdoor shooting 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 crowd situation, to tripod-mounted operation on shaky platforms, to the higher-frequency vibration that cameras are subject to when operated on vehicles, motorbikes, boats, or helicopters.

Four selectable stabilization modes are available to optimize degree of correction under diverse, sometimes unique shooting conditions. A major advantage of the VAP-IS system is that it totally relieves the camera operator of any concerns on lens/camera stability, allowing full concentration on creative image framing and focusing. This is of particular importance, given the extreme image detail associated with HD acquisition.

This was highlighted by a European production company’s recent coverage of the Tour de France: the camera operator shot handheld from a motorbike’s back seat and consistently delivered rock-steady close-ups of the cyclists, even on very uneven roads.