Meet Canon’s new sword

© samurai: Kage-Warrior, lens: Canon.

If a Samurai swears by their swords, a photographer swears by their lenses. Nearly 8 years since the first version was introduced, Canon today announced a new replacement to their legendary white-bodied telephoto pro-grade zoom lens, the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II.

What’s so special about this lens that I bother writing about it? Well, trust me, this one’s different.

Focusing distance is to the lens what the shutter delay is to a camera body. One can always wait a little longer, or move aback to get the shot, but we also loose the critical moment. Another way would be to cook some magic in the labs, and let these obscure designers, scientists & engineers move their wands around and create the impossible. And that what Canon has achieve today:

A reduced minimum focusing distance of 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) and improved 0.21x magnification will allow photographers to get closer to subjects without needing to swap lenses – greatly benefitting time-pressured news and events photographers who require flexibility. An updated Image Stabilizer mechanism also offers a shutter speed advantage that’s equivalent to four stops, reducing the effect of image blur resulting from camera shake in busy shooting environments.

What you see as a mere .2m (20cm) closer, is years-of-work of number crunching, glass-polishing, super-high-tech-craze back at the shop, their closest competition, Nikon, released a similar lens last July, and they only manage to cramp 1.4m. Trust me, 20cm can cost you your job on the frontline, imagine you’re shooting the world’s most important person delivering speech in a room full of journalists, that 20cm became your most valuable distant you’d ever hope for when you fail to… ergh, focus! Oh that squeaking sound of failed motor movement!

Changes are good, but what Canon has achieved in the last couple of months are more than good, they’re sensational… big, bright 100% viewfinder coverage on a not-so-high-end camera body? Check. Better sensor that doesn’t involve the buzz-selling megapixel count? Check. A weather-proof camera body that would not break after the rain? Check! Check! Check! Canon is breaking the ice, people. Pay attention, and you’ll thank them later.

Leica, Nikon, Apple and Sony (who helped lowering camera costs & beauty standard), you guys deserve the credits too, I’m happy that finally you can quit fighting like a baby and start competing like a man with your latest toys, keep it boys! Cause we’re going to be at the finish line, waiting for your next sensation to come.

(PS. They even throw in a new lens case that you might finally use)