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Canon CN-E 35-260mm f/2.8 LS soft focus lens patented

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Canon CN-E 35-260mm f/2.8 LS soft focus lens patented

Canon has patented a new cine lens with a focal range of 35-260mm and a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8, which uses a soft focus mechanism to add dream-like effects to videos.

A new patent has emerged from Japan and this time it is coming from Canon instead of Tamron, which happened more often than not in recent times.

The EOS maker has been granted a patent for a soft focus lens with a 35-260mm focal length range and an f/2.8 maximum aperture. The optic has been designed for cinema cameras with Super 35mm image sensors and it would have implications in the videography industry.

Canon CN-E 35-260mm f/2.8 LS soft focus patent
This is the internal design of the Canon CN-E 35-260mm f/2.8 LS soft focus lens.

Patent for Canon CN-E 35-260mm f/2.8 LS soft focus lens shows up on Japan

The National Association of Broadcasters Show 2015 is approaching and companies are working on new products that could be displayed at the event. Canon is expected to reveal a bunch of 4K cameras, including camcorders and DSLRs, while several cine lenses are on their way, too.

A special model could be demoed at NAB Show 2015, as the Japanese company has just been granted a patent for it. This is the Canon CN-E 35-260mm f/2.8 LS soft focus lens, which has been designed for camcorders with Super 35mm-sized sensors.

If it becomes available at some point in the future, then the optic will offer a 35mm focal length equivalent of approximately 48-361mm. As its name is suggesting, the lens is capable of maintaining a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8, which is fairly bright and ensures a very shallow depth of field at telephoto lengths.

Despite all that, the most interesting aspect of this optic is the fact that it is a soft focus model and that it will offer dream-like effects. It could be used in videography as well as glamour photography by users who want to add special effects to their content.

Soft focus explained
The difference between an out-of-focus photo and a soft focus one. Credits: Bob Atkins.

What is a soft focus lens?

Soft focus is actually an optical flaw. It is generally confused with out-of-focus images. However, it is very different from OOF and the effect cannot be replicated by defocusing.

Today’s lenses feature special elements to reduce optical flaws, such as aberrations. A soft focus lens would actually encourage such flaws, as the effect is achieved thanks to spherical aberration.

This way, the images are blurred, but the edges will remain sharp. The reason why it is often seen in glamour photography is because it cuts down almost all blemishes and it produces dreamy, ethereal footage, as stated above.

Post-processing could help users add soft focus effects to their shots, but the problem is that specific bokeh is almost impossible to reproduce using software.

Nikon is making DC-series (Defocus Control) lenses, which are similar to the soft focus effect. However, such optics are actually capable of changing the look of elements in a photo and are associated with out-of-focus techniques.

Canon has previously produced a soft focus lens in the body of the EF 135mm f/2.8, which was released back in 1987 for portrait photographers. It will be interesting to see whether or not a new soft focus optic is coming to the market, so stay tuned!

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Canon CN-E 35-260mm f/2.8 LS soft focus lens patented