“The Canon HJ40 opened up a window into a whole new world,” explained Sorensen. “This lens allowed me to get shots that would have been impossible otherwise. The O’Dell Creek story is about wildlife, but only a lens with this level of HDTV image clarity, zoom range and image stabilization could allow us to fully capture what can be some highly elusive subjects, especially the eagles and other bird species.”
An award-winning feature film and commercial cinematographer with worldwide shooting experience, Sorensen, and co-producer Jeff Laszlo, documented the stream’s restoration in rural Montana for more than two years, capturing 720/30p HD footage with their Canon HJ40x10B EFP lens. “I started recording what was going on when I realized that this was a much bigger and more complicated project than I had originally envisioned,” Sorensen said. “There’s a lot of wildlife out there, but you just can’t get close enough to photograph it. We were lucky to have the Canon HJ40. Without its telephoto capabilities and image stabilization, we never would have been able to record what we did.”
What the pair recorded were remarkable close-ups of many bird species in their natural habitats, including Bald eagles, Great Blue herons, Sand Hill cranes, and the elusive sora, which frequents freshwater marshes. Sorensen and Laszlo also captured dramatic footage of elk, Whitetail deer, antelope, muskrats, and many more species, using the Canon HJ40x10B telephoto HD lens, which is capable of extending to 770mm with a 2X extender. The HJ40x10B is part of Canon’s HD EFP lens family that brings extreme shooting flexibility to field production. The lens also features Canon’s built-in Shift-IS system to achieve rock-solid images at extreme telephoto distances.
“There were two important aspects of this lens for shooting O’Dell Creek,” noted Sorensen. “Number one is that it’s a very long lens, capable of zooming in very tight. Number two is the built-in stabilizer. Without a stabilizer, in order to get a decent image on a long lens you need a heavy tripod, a good camera head, and an extremely stable platform. But with Canon’s built-in stabilizer, I was able to get on top of my truck – which shakes in the wind – zoom all the way in, and – like magic – the shimmering stopped and I got rock-solid images. This makes it ideal for recording wildlife, where you’re in remote areas and you need to travel light. The HJ40 is light enough to be easily carried around in the field. In addition, the ‘bracketry’ is solid and well-designed, including a sliding balance plate; this made changing lenses in the field an easy task to accomplish.”
Canon’s HJ40x10B telephoto EFP lens also features Canon’s Enhanced Digital Drive technology, which employs a microcomputer-driven servo control that enables users to pre-set zoom position memory and other user-defined settings that significantly empower the camera operator. Ergonomics are further enhanced by a compact digital servo drive unit, which is mounted to the lens at a 12.5 degree angle for operator comfort and balance.
“This is a fantastic zoom controller,” Sorensen stated. “All the buttons are exactly where your fingers have to be – it’s very well laid out. Canon really did think this through. All of the controls are very intuitive, and that’s really important when you’re outside, it’s freezing cold, and you’re trying to capture HD video of an animal that you’ve been waiting all day to see.”
In addition to the Canon HJ40x10B telephoto EFP lens, Sorensen also used a Canon HJ17ex7.6B IRSE portable HD ENG/EFP zoom lens. A wide-angle HD zoom weighing only 3.56 lbs. for maximum portability and versatility in EFP applications, the HJ17ex7.6B delivers a focal length ranging from 7.6mm to 130mm (15.2mm to 195mm with Extender) for high-end HD performance and excellent picture sharpness. The HJ17ex7.6B also features Canon’s eDrive for user-programmable iris, zoom, and focus control. Users can program lens-position memory for graceful “padded” zoom start/stops, memorized focus and zoom positions, repeatable focus (with no mechanical play or gear backlash), and steady and slow zoom creeps – all handy features for shooting in the wild. Functions are programmed via an easy-to-use LCD menu, assignable “soft” function buttons, and the rocker switch built into the lens grip. Users can program multiple settings or none at all, depending on their personal needs and preferences.
“It can be a battle to record wildlife in a harsh environment, but Canon gave me everything I needed to capture these shots,” Sorensen reflected. “I’m a big fan of these lenses.”
About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc. delivers consumer, business-to-business, and industrial imaging solutions. Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), a top patent holder of technology, ranking third overall in the U.S. in 2007†, with global revenues of $39.3 billion, is listed as one of Fortune's Most Admired Companies in America and is on the 2007 BusinessWeek list of "Top 100 Brands." To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/pressroom.
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†IFI Patent Intelligence Press Release, January 2008