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There are a lot of unfamiliar names floating around the CCTV industry these days and it pays to be careful when specifying critical components. When it comes to camera lenses few -- if any -- brands can match the reputation of Canon.



It's easy to overlook the fact that a CCTV camera is only as good as the lens attached to it. Cameras naturally attract a lot of attention because they're stuffed full of the latest microchip wizardry and do so many clever things. Lenses on the other hand appear to be relatively low-tech items, there's little to go wrong and even less to get excited about but choosing the right one is just as important as selecting the right camera; more so in some circumstances.


Lens selection is made more difficult by the seemingly vast array of types available, bearing numerous different brand names. Some of them you will undoubtedly know and respect, others come and go, and a few are best forgotten… Canon obviously falls into the former category. Their optical expertise stretches far and wide, from humble snap cameras to powerful high definition studio camera lenses, and everything in between, encompassing photographic, surveillance, commercial, industrial, medical and scientific imaging fields, to name just a few.  


That's by way of a preamble to introduce and put into context Canon CCTV lenses. There really is a lens to suit just about every camera, configuration and application. The current catalogue lists almost 70 basic types. It would be impossible to cover them all, however, we've been looking at (and through…) a small but representative sample, that illustrates the scope and performance of Canon's product range.


The five lenses fall into three distinct categories: compact fixed focal length models with DC controlled auto irises, a vari-focal type, again with DC auto iris, and lastly, what Canon describes as an 'Economical' motorised zoom lens.  


Our group test included three fixed focal length lenses, they are TF2812D, TF0412D and TF0813D, designed to be used with small lightweight cameras with 1/3-inch CCD image sensors. They weigh in at around 40 g apiece, have CD type mounting collars and are fitted with a 26cm cable, terminated in a standard 4-pin auto iris plug. The only other external detail is a lockable ring-type rear focus adjustment and a small bulge that houses the iris actuator. The principle differences concern the focal lengths which are 2.8, 4 and 8mm respectively; the maximum apertures are F1.2 (TF2812D & TF0412D) and F1.3 for the TF0813D.


The outer cases are made from tough ABS plastic and the multi-coated lenses are well protected against physical shock. The quality of construction and finish is generally good; inside the case the wiring is neatly laid out and the actuator mechanism looks as though it should enjoy a long and healthy life. The irises are two-leaf types with a fast, smooth and progressive action. The seal between the case and end caps wasn't very tight. You could actually see light through the join on one of our samples, so you can take it as read they're not suitable for use outdoors -- without a housing -- or in a dusty environment. Fitting and adjustment are straightforward; the camera mount will rotate when tightened, to allow the lens to be orientated to the most suitable attitude.


A simple tele-wide adjustment is the key feature on TV351D Vari-Focal lens. Again it is designed to be used with cameras having a 1/3-inch image sensor; the focal length in this case is 3.5 to 8mm with an aperture of F1.4. The housing is slightly larger than the previous three and tips the scales at 70 g so it is better suited to medium sized cameras, with a CS mounting collar. The DC auto iris cable is the same length as the other three and fitted with a 4-pin plug. The manual focus adjusting collar is on the front of the lens, behind that is the tele-wide ring. The mounting collar rotates so the lens can be aligned as required. The case is very well put together and if anything looks and feels even more robust than the fixed focal length models.   


Finally, the T10X6.5RG CS. This is a substantial motorised zoom lens, designed to be used with medium and large-scale cameras fitted with 1/3-inch CCDs. It is a big lens with wide operating range having a 6.5 - 65mm focal length and an aperture of F1.4 - 256. The auto iris is a DC controlled type and the focus adjustment is motorised as well. It is housed inside a cream-coloured ABS case with the iris zoom and focus control cable emerging from the top, this is 50 cm long and is terminated in a 4-pin DIN plug with a retaining collar. An unwired female 4-pin DIN is included with the camera. On the underside of the lens there's a standard 1/4-inch UNC threaded mounting collar to take the weight of the lens (450 g), when it is used in a housing. There are no external adjustments or fittings. In common with its stablemates fitting is very simple to fit and the mounting collar rotates freely so the lens can be turned.  


The instructions are not especially helpful. They're generic -- applicable to a wide range of similar models -- and imply that there are a number of user adjustments, when in fact there aren't any. Moreover there is a mysterious blanked off hole, and what appears to be a standard 4-pin auto-iris socket, neither of which are explained. It would also have been helpful to include some mounting information or advice, as this is quite a weighty object. On the plus side the lens is very quiet and the focus and zoom actions are both smooth.



The one thing we haven't covered so far is the optics. In keeping with the tradition of leaving the best things until last we are happy to report that all five lenses turned in an excellent performance. In all cases the image was pin-sharp, up to the edges of the picture.  We tried the lenses in a range of typical and unfavourable lighting conditions and there were no significant aberrations or distortions.  Internal reflections are occasionally apparent but this only happens over a very narrow band of lens/light source angles and can be easily compensated for with a relatively minor adjustment to the camera position.


We have very some minor misgivings about the cases on the small fixed focal length models, and the instruction leaflets are a bit brief. Nevertheless the Canon name inspires a great deal of confidence in installers and end-users but most important of all, all five lenses look, feel and perform like quality items.




Focal length                2.8mm

Aperture                     F1.2 - 180

Iris type                      DC auto

Focus                          manual

Angle of view              81.2 degrees

Weight                        40 g

Mount/plug                 CS/Sq 4-pin   



Focal length                4mm   

Aperture                     F1.2 - 200

Iris type                      DC auto

Focus                          manual


Angle of view              61.9 degrees

Weight                        40 g

Mount/plug                 CS/Sq 4-pin



Focal length                8mm

Aperture                     F1.3 - 256     

Iris type                      DC auto

Focus                          manual

Angle of view              33.4

Weight                        40 g

Mount/plug                 CS/Sq 4-pin



Focal length                3.5 - 8mm

Aperture                     F1.4 - 256     

Iris type                      DC auto

Focus                          manual

Angle of view              68.9 - 33.4 degrees

Weight                        70 g    

Mount/plug                 CS/Sq 4-pin                     


T10X6.5RG CS

Focal length                6.5 - 65mm 

Aperture                     F1.4 - 256

Iris type                      DC auto

Focus                          motorised

Zoom                           10x motorised                   

Angle of view              40.5 - 4.2 degrees

Weight                        450 g

Mount/plug                 CS/4-pin DIN                             



PSI RATINGS (all samples)


Product                       9         

Product design 9

Build quality               8

Ruggedness                8

Performance               9


Operation                   9

General functions            9

Ease of use                 9

Instructions                6

Manuf. support            8                     




Ó R. Maybury 1998 1011



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