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CNN Takes Canon's Widest Wide-Angle Lens

Canon's new
HJ14ex4.3B portable HDTV lens, billed as offering the widest angle of any portable
2/3-inch lens available in the professional market, is already getting some
traction. In a major deal, CNN will use the lens for HD newsgathering.

"We had a
terrific reaction at NAB to the lens," said Larry Thorpe, national marketing
executive at the Broadcast & Communications Division of Canon U.S.A. "We just closed a big one with CNN
for 37 units, and we're in discussions with a number of other companies."

The new
lens is the first major introduction of a high-end wide angle portable lens by
Canon since the 2001 launch of the HJ11ex4.7B wide-angle lens. "The HJ11 was
extremely popular with the production community," said Thorpe, particularly for
high-end HD drama and documentary production, news-gathering and studio work,
where it allowed wide shots of the entire set. "We expect the new HJ14 to have
similar appeal."

In the
eight years since HJ11 launched, a number of advances in optics and optical
design tools allowed Canon to significantly improve the lens performance while
providing an unprecedented wide angle, Thorpe said. "It is the best wide-angle
lens we know how to build."

The new
lens has a minimum focal length of 4.3mm, an improvement over the 4.7mm length
of the HJ11 lens, and an angular field of view of 96.3 degrees in the 16-by-9
format. It also has a 14 times zoom range, which greatly expands the range of
its use for HD productions.

Besides
providing a wider angle and higher zoom ratio, advances in design tools, glass
material, optical coatings and design techniques, such as the use of aspherical
elements, have allowed Canon to improve the lens's performance.

The lens
offers less geometric distortion -- an issue with all wide-angle lenses --
minimizes chromatic aberrations and curtails ghosting artifacts produced by
strong light sources, Thorpe said. It also offers higher resolution at both the
center of the picture and the edges.

In
addition, the new design has made the lens easier to use and improved its
ergonomics.

"We made a
number of improvements based on the feedback we got from users," Thorpe said.

Depending
on features, the lens is priced at $35,100 to $36,900.