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Canon developing a new technology to take new kind of photos?


French site Focus Numerique visited Canon’s Optics factory in Utsunomiya, a chance others had too. Focus Numerique interviewed three Canon execs about the company’s future strategy, products etc.

There is one answer in the interview that caught my attention. When asked about Canon’s future goals with lens development, this was the answer (machine translated from French, emphasis mine):

What will be the goals in the future? Further improve optical quality, maximum apertures, increase the zoom range of the zoom, etc. ?

I can not give you the ratios between the development of new products and the improvement of existing products. What I can tell you, though, is that we want to improve all aspects – including the ones you just mentioned – for the development of future products. None will be forsaken. Without being able to tell you more, we are developing a new technology that will bring real added value and will allow to take a new type of photo.

Well, that sounds intriguing. A “new technology” that will allow to shot “a new type of photo”, what could that mean? Liquid lenses, maybe? There were some pertinent patents for liquid lenses that surfaced in the past. What do you think Canon may refer to with a “new technology” for their lenses?

  • Mistral75

    The “new type/kind of photo” is purposely vague. One can say that each and every new lens that goes beyond what was possible until then (lighter, brighter, with a larger zoom range, a more efficient stabilisation, a quicker autofocus, providing a better image quality, etc., all things being equal) will allow to take a new type/kind of photo.

    Think of this new technology as something in line with the DO (Multi-layer Diffractive Optical Element, 2000) and BR (Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics, 2015) technologies.

    For instance this new technology could be related to the Canon patent of a lens with a double apodization filter (one on each side of the aperture), see patent 2016-218444 requested on 20 May 2015 and granted on 22 December 2016.

    There have been rumours of a new 135mm f/2 “unique” to the line-up that would not be a replacement for the classic Canon L prime.

    Working examples in the patent referenced above include two 135mm f/2 with double apodization filter.

  • animalsbybarry

    The article does seem to indicate large diameter asymmetrical lens elements

    Sony recently built a special machine to make more precise asymmetrical lens molds to make higher guality asymmetrical lens elements than have ever been possible before

    It seems probable that Canon will build similar technology

    • Mistral75

      In the article, the journalists begin by asking whether Canon has the same capability as Sigma to manufacture by moulding large diameter aspherical (not asymmetrical) elements like those in the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 and 14mm f/1,8 lenses.

      The answer of the Canon executives is that their large diameter aspherical lenses are made by grinding and polishing (which is much more expensive).

      • animalsbybarry

        Thanks….I could not translate it

        • Mistral75

          You’re welcome.

  • animalsbybarry

    Achromatic metasurfaces have been in development and the developers have been actively seeking commercial opportunities

    A single flat element can be easily fabricated by any computer chip fab using a single process any inexpensive titanium dioxide

    They can be built in sizes up to 12″ diameter and at apertures as large as F0.8

    The lenses are apochrnatic and diffraction limited

    A 12″ (300mm diameter) single element flat lens for example can be can built from 240mm F0.8 to 2400mm f8 (theoretically)

    This is widely believed to be what future lenses will be….perhaps Canon is actually developing Metalenses????

  • animalsbybarry


  • Automated tilt-shift with microprocessor-controlled motorized movements and auto-focus, available presets based on detected tilt angle and focus distribution requirement of subject in any plane.

    • Mistral75

      Sensor shift is already available in Pentax cameras (taking advantage of IBIS).

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