Behind the Lens episode two – Canon CN-E zooms

Matt Porwoll has posted the second entry in his series Behind the Lens, looking at a wide range of documentary zooms and how they perform.

Double trouble: Canon CN-E 15.5-47 T2.8L and Canon CN-E 30-105 T2.8L

Behind the Lens episode 2: Canon CN-E 15.5-47 T2.8L and CN-E30-105 T2.8L
The wide end: the Canon CN-E 15.5-47 T2.8L

This episode is a two-for-one bonanza as he takes a look at the Canon CN-E 15.5-47 T2.8L and CN-E 30-105 T2.8L lenses. He’s treated them as a shooting kit as despite the overlap in zoom range, they’re actually designed to be used as a matched set to offer coverage from 15.5mm out to 105mm.

Behind the Lens episode 2: The Canon CN-E 15.5-47 T2.8L and CN-E 30-105 T2.8L
The long option: the Canon CN-E 30-105 T2.8L

 

Rent or buy?

One thing it’s probably worth addressing first up that Matt doesn’t really get into during the series: price. In the UK they retail for around £17,000 each, and hire out for around £240 a day. So it’s unlikely you’ll be strapping them to a DSLR to shoot your friend’s Kickstarter video. But if you’ve got a budget to play with it sounds like renting a pair could be a great, low stress option for great results.

Handling and colour

Both lenses are available as PL or EF mounts, which are user exchangeable in the field. Both also offer a constant T2.8 throughout the zoom range, and the size and weight is identical across both lenses.

Behind the Lens episode 2: The Canon CN-E 15.5-47 T2.8L and CN-E 30-105 T2.8L
The long end of the 30-105 is useful for interview situations.

Matt found the control rings to be well damped and thought that the lenses were a good weight – not too heavy, but substantial enough to counterbalance the FS7 he was shooting on.

The focus, iris and zoom wheels are located in the same place across the two lenses, making lens changes when using a servo unit more straightforward.

Behind the Lens episode 2: The Canon CN-E 15.5-47 T2.8L and CN-E 30-105 T2.8L
Sample bokeh from the Canon CN-E 15.5-47 T2.8L.
Behind the Lens episode 2: The Canon CN-E 15.5-47 T2.8L and CN-E 30-105 T2.8L
Sample bokeh from the CN-E 30-105 T2.8L.

Colour preferences are always going to be a little subjective, but here Matt thought they were generally accurate with a little extra warmth in skin tones – par for the course for Canon I’d say.

Canon CN-E 15.5-47 T2.8L and CN-E 30-105 T2.8L: a good match for you?

Matt goes into more detail in the video – give it a watch! And there’s an even deeper dive on his blogpost over on the AbelCine website. Plus if you missed the last instalment on Fujinon’s 18-55 E-mount manual zoom, that’s waiting for you too…

Do let us know what you think in the comments below: is this a favourite combination of lenses for your work or would you be happier with a 17-55 and 24-105 combo and £30K in the bank?

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