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Canon introduces two new L-series lenses  
Wednesday, August 23, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

Canon today has introduced two new lenses, the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM and EF 50mm f/1.2L USM, to its pro-oriented L series line.

EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

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Steady: The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM. Click to enlarge.

If you've ever used the current EF 70-200mm f/4L USM, you'll probably agree that this lens is a gem, at least when f/2.8 isn't required. It's compact, feels almost impossibly light, delivers excellent optical quality for a telephoto zoom and is inexpensive to boot.

The new EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM adds image stabilization without changing the size of the lens (they both share a barrel diameter of 76mm, a length of 172mm and a 67mm filter size) and adding only slightly to the weight (760g for the IS model, 705g for the non-IS model).

The lens features 20 elements in 15 groups, unleaded glass, one Fluorite element and two UD elements, an eight-blade aperture for more circular out-of-focus highlights at wider apertures, a closest focus distance of 1.2m, an environmental mount seal, ring-type ultrasonic autofocus and slightly superior MTF results in Canon testing than the non-IS version.

Plus, the image stabilization is rated at four stops of correction; 3 stops in the first 0.5 seconds of IS engagement, then another stop after an additional 2.5 seconds. The only apparent drawback to the new lens is the price premium over the non-IS version; the street price of the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM will likely be about double the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM. The IS version doesn't replace the non-IS version in Canon's lens lineup.

The EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM is slated to ship in November 2006 at an estimated selling price of US$1249 in the U.S. It will include a lens hood and pouch. A tripod collar will be an optional, extra-cost accessory.

EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

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Wide open: The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM. Click to enlarge.

While its focal length, aperture and L-series designation may remind longtime Canon shooters of a similar manual focus lens from yesteryear, Chuck Westfall, Canon USA's Director of Media and Customer Relationship, says the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is a new-from-the-ground-up design that, among other differences, is of course autofocus and also incorporates an aspherical glass rear element that is molded rather than ground and polished.

The new lens includes a ring-type ultrasonic motor and high-speed CPU for faster initial focus with 1-series Canons. It's comprised of 8 lead-free elements in 6 groups, has an eight-blade aperture, is 85.4mm in diameter and 65.5mm long, weighs 545g, has a front filter size of 72mm, incorporates an environmental mount seal and focuses down to 0.45m. It's bundled with both a lens hood and pouch.

The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is slated to ship in November 2006 at an estimated selling price of US$1599 in the U.S.

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