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What’s So Special About Broadcast Lenses?


Today we have something a little bit different for you. Thibaud (from the really cool and certainly underrated YouTube channel Zebra Zone) created this interesting video explaining some of the reasons broadcast lenses are so expensive and why they are actually used by professionals for very specific situations (like broadcasting soccer games and other large events).

So what makes the Fujinon 4K Premier UHD UA107X8.4 cost $212,000? Well, you can think about this lens as a sort of super zoom lens on steroids. It does cover a small sensor (2/3″ typically – much smaller than even a micro 4/3) but for what they typically shoot it is actually more than enough apparently.

This lens has an unbelievable zoom range of 8.4-900mm and 16.8-1800mm or 107x including the built-in extender, which means that they can get very very close a football field away and still get the action. The lens has a built-in stabilizer which is extremely effective even at very long focal lengths and is also very heavy (and typically sits on a very heavy stand, making it even more stable).

Besides the amazing quality glass inside this lens it has all sorts of different technologies that you can’t find in “normal” stills or even Cine lenses such as automatic focus “breathing” compensation (you can’t have your focus running away each time you zoom in into 1800mm during a football game right?).

This type of broadcast lens is not controlled directly (otherwise you will vibrate the lens each time). It has a very unique and special follow focus-like mechanism both for the focus and the zoom which is controlled from a separate (and quite expensive on their own) set of handles.

Thibaud also talks about some other parts of the broadcast-style system like the super heavy-duty tripods and monitor and of course the camera (in his case a Blackmagic broadcast camera although you can attach different cameras to this lens – or any other broadcast lens for that matter – practically all of them use the B4-mount).

You can find more technology-related photo and video news on our photo-technology subsection.
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