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Fujinon One-Ups Canon

Fujinon literally one-upped Canon's new 100-times magnification lens with a 101-times magnification, setting the stage for Canon to respond with a 102-times lens. Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen, but, for now, its advantage Fujinon when it comes to zoom ratio.

Even Fujinon Marketing Manager Dave Waddell questions how much more zoom ratio is actually needed. The XA101x8.9BESM also features the widest angle of any high-magnification sports lens and also has a motorized macro feature, which allows it to swing around from covering game action to get a shot of a reporter in the booth who can be as close as 3 feet away. The lens is designed for 2/3-inch high-definition CCD cameras and weighs 50 pounds.

Helping drive lens development are new computer programs that greatly increase the speed and accuracy with which new lens designs can be created.

"We can design a lens in about one-third the time it previously took," says Waddell. "And the design comes out of the computer almost ready to go to production. It requires much less field-testing now to develop a lens."

Also new from Fujinon this year are six new prime lenses for the digital-cinematography market. Dubbed the Cine Super E series, they each have a front-end diameter of 95 mm and a length of 144 mm. One of the important features, according to Waddell, is minimal "breathing" during focusing, ensuring that the images remain sharp and don't shift when the lens is focused. The lineup also has a focus rotation of 280 degrees; standard Cine Style lenses previously featured 144.5-degree rotation.

To meet HD ENG demands, Fujinon has introduced the HA22x7.3ERM/ERD lens for 2/3-inch-format cameras. The F-stop range is up to 1.9, and the cameras feature the company's DigiPower servo system. Two versions are available: The BERM version has a 2X extender, manual focus and servo zoom; the BERD version has a 2X extender, servo focus and servo zoom.

"The HD market is starting to take off," says Waddell. "Broadcasters are still hesitant, but a lot of commercial work shot on film is now being shot in HD."