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NAB 2019: Canon Image Stabilization in new 8.5-128mm F/2.5 B4 4K Lens

Finally, the right function for the right field.

Finally! If there was one thing, and just one thing, I have wanted in 2/3 B4 zoom lens it has always been an Image Stabilizer in the lens. I always felt like someone had the technology to add it but did not for whatever reason. Debuting at NAB 2019, the new Canon 4K  (yes I hate these ENG B4 Lens names too) UHDgc CJ15eX8.5B 8.5-128mm F/2.5 uses a solution Canon has perfected throughout the years to stabilize your shaky spot news footage.  We talked to Canon about the new IS zoom. I was a little enthusiastic.


From my perspective, as a camera operator who shoots news on a B4 lens very often, this is the kind of tech jump we needed in our industry. A reasonable B4 zoom range with image stabilization could be adopted by every local TV station in the country. Frankly, I feel like the technology should have already overtaken the industry. On the wide end, 8.5mm is not the widest of lenses. Personally, I prefer at least a lens with a wide zoom under 8mm. In this case, I will let Canon slide because you have to sometimes give a little bit to get something as good as Canon’s image stabilization. What we do not know yet is when these ships and what it will cost. The rest of this post I give over to Canon because I don’t want to mess up the technical details because I would.


Canon’s exclusive Vari-Angle Prism (VAP) Image Stabilizer is a unique solution for filmmakers who need to capture images in either bumpy terrain or from transport. The lens uses a high refractive index liquid placed between two layers of glass, and it’s through changing the angle of that liquid that the lens corrects blur caused by motion. It’s one of many interesting features of a lens that provides broadcasters with excellent control of footage captured over the entire zoom range – from wide angle to telephoto.

The Canon 4K UHDgc CJ15eX8.5B 8.5-128mm F/2.5 features an ergonomically designed grip that fits comfortably in the hand – easing strain on camera operators shooting for long periods of time. The CJ15eX8.5B is one of the two world-first portable zoom lenses for 4K broadcast cameras using 2/3 sensors, the other being the CJ18ex28B also introduced at NAB 2019.

4K Optical Performance 
The portable CJ15ex8.5B 4K UHD lens was developed using our exclusive optical design technology to achieve superb optical performance, with 4K resolving power and high contrast from the center of the screen to the edges. High index optical glass materials, each having unique dispersion characteristics, help minimize chromatic aberrations and geometric distortion. Lens element surface accuracy has been improved significantly over HDTV lenses contributing to the enhanced Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) performance required of 4K imagery. Multi-layer optical coatings combined with strategic deposition processes help ensure a deep black reproduction that is central to HDR imaging.

Minimized Chromatic Aberration 
An optimized arrangement of fluorite and UD glass help minimize chromatic aberration, increasing image clarity with reduced color fringing on edges.

Reduced Ghosting 
Special coatings and an internal lens barrel designed to prevent reflection result in clean black reproduction, less ghosting and flaring, sustaining high-tonality images that support HDR.


The portable CJ15ex8.5B 4K features dependable optical image stabilization for various shooting environments using Canon’s exclusive Vari-Angle Prism (VAP) technology. This system provides excellent image stabilization across the entire zoom range, while maintaining 4K-compatible optical performance. So this post is not super long I have created a gallery of images below from Canon showing how the image stabilizations work within the CJ15ex8.5B 4K lens.


Vari-Angle Prism Technology
The Canon developed Vari-Angle Prism (VAP) technology is an innovative image stabilization system based upon a flexible prism intercepting the light rays entering the lens proper – known as the Vari-Angle Prism Optical stabilization (VAP-IS). This system is ideally suited to removing image blur due to vibration frequencies encountered in a variety of shooting situations. This is especially important for 4K lens-camera system where the far higher resolution makes such image blur more visible.

Activation and Shooting Modes

The Image Stabilization feature can be activated directly on the lens. When using the image stabilization function, the IS lever is set to ON, and a mechanical lock is released.

1 –  IS lever: Image Stabilization ON/OFF Lever
The stabilization function is turned on by moving the IS lever in the direction of the arrow until it locks.

2  – IS OFF Button: Turns Image Stabilization OFF
After using the lens, be sure to press the OFF button to re-engage the mechanical lock.

Canon Greater stabilization effects can be achieved by using two modes according to shooting situation and vibration. The switch is located on the relay part.

3 – Image Stabilizer Correction/Direction Selector Switch
V Mode: Correction only in the vertical direction
V+H Mode: Correction for both vertical and horizontal vibration

4 – Stabilization Mode Selector Switch
Portable Mode: Mode optimized for portable shooting
Tripod Mode: Mode optimized for tripod shooting

5 – Panning Switch
If you push this switch during camerawork with stabilization on, the stabilization is temporarily turned off to prevent any shaking or fluttering effect on the screen.

6 – IS Indicator Light LED
Illuminates when stabilization is working

See all of PVC’s NAB 2019 coverage


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