Canon Designed a Crazy 50-80mm f/1.1 Lens

Photography Gear

Canon is apparently hard at work developing some never-before-seen lenses. A newly published patent shows that the camera company has at least toyed with the idea of a crazy 50-80mm f/1.1 lens.

First spotted by Northlight Images, the patent (US20190243111) shows designs for a number of ultra-fast 50-80mm zoom lenses, including a f/1.8, f/1.6, f/1.4, f/1.2, and f/1.1.

Canon has offered an f/1.0 lens before in the rare 50mm f/1.0, but offering a fixed f/1.1 aperture on a zoom lens of this type would be unprecedented.

Here’s the internal design — check out the very large number of lens elements — and details found in the patent:

These lenses are presumably being designed for the new Canon RF lens mount for full-frame mirrorless cameras, but the back focus distance of around 6.5mm to 8.5mm seems like it would be too short. The 50-80mm f/1.2 lens described in the patent has a more reasonable back focus distance of around 22mm.

“We’ve been told that some ‘crazy’ lenses were coming to the RF mount, and here’s a patent […] that fits the bill,” Canon Rumors writes. “We expect some new lens designs to be announced in the first half of 2020.”

Patents often show wild and ridiculous product designs that never end up seeing the light of day, so there’s no guarantee this 50-80mm f/1.1 will ever be anything more than an internal idea, but it’s interesting to see Canon exploring new frontiers of what’s possible in optics (and perhaps a hint of things the future might have in store).

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