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We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs


What is your first and your favorite Canon lens?

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 1

It’s not everyday you get to sit down with three master lens designers, but it’s also not every day you tour Canon’s Utsunomiya lens factory (read the interview and take the tour). Each of the three gentlemen we posed our two questions to – what was the first lens you designed and what is your favorite lens – has decades of experience designing Canon glass.

Masato Okada (center), the Deputy Chief Executive of Image Communication Products and Operations, first began designing lenses for Canon back in 1982. Meanwhile, Kenichi Izuki (right), the Plant Manager and Shingo Hayakawa (left), the Deputy Chief Executive of Image Communication and Products Operations, have each been designing Canon lenses since the late 80’s/early 90’s.

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 2
It takes decades of experience to design a lens like the Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L III USM.

What was the first lens design you worked on at Canon?

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 3

Masato Okada: “It would go back many years, maybe you weren’t even born yet (Editor’s note: I was not), but the first lens I worked on was the FD 150-600mm F5.6L. It was one of those lenses where it was on a box and you actually had a one-touch action to do the zoom and one-touch action to do the focus. That was a big revelation.”

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 4 Masato Okada is the Deputy Chief Executive of Image Communication and Products Operations at Canon’s Utsunomiya lens factory. 

What was the first lens design you worked on at Canon?

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 5

Shingo Hayakawa: “It launched in 1991, the 75-300mm F4-5.6 USM, was the first lens I worked on and also the very first lens in that series. At the time, we actually launched the product at a lower price than the third party manufacturers, which was big news. The version “III” of that lens is still on the market.”

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 6 Shingo Hayakawa is the Deputy Group Executive of Image Communication and Products Operations at Canon’s Utsunomiya lens factory.

What was the first lens design you worked on at Canon?

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 7

Kenichi Izuki: “Because I joined Canon as a technical engineer I have so many memories of all the products I’ve worked on. Initially, I handled maybe 10 products over the course of a year. But the very first one that I worked on, which is now discontinued, is the EF 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 USM. It’s also one of my favorites.”

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 8 Kenichi Izuki is the Plant Manager at Canon’s Utsunomiya lens factory.

What is your favorite Canon lens design?

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 9

Masato Okada: “For me I’d have to say the 11-24mm F4L USM, because when launched, it allowed the widest angle possible on a full frame with no distortion. And I was torn at the time of production because we could have gone for the 12-24mm F2.8, which I thought would be more customer-prone. But I was developing the lens more in terms of particular users: a videographer for example, needing that extra field of view, even if they can’t physically back out. Other manufacturers were doing the 12-24mm, but only Canon was doing 11-24mm. We thought it was something we should go for. And it was really difficult in terms of the design for mass production. So because of those challenges, I’d say this would be my pick.”

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 4 Masato Okada is the Deputy Chief Executive of Image Communication and Products Operations at Canon’s Utsunomiya lens factory.

What is your favorite Canon lens design?

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 11

Shingo Hayakawa: “I can say that in terms of the lenses we’ve been launching over the years, we’re proud of them all. But the ones that came out last year in 2016, the 16-35mm F2.8L III USM in particular, was very highly spec’d at the time of its release. I’m proud of it because it has amazing performance and resolution. But if I were to narrow it down, my choice would be a lens that came out in 2012: the Canon 24-70mm F2.8L II USM. And if I were to choose a telephoto, I’d say the 200-400mm F4L IS USM with the 1.4x internal extender. But the 24-70mm II is my overall pick.”

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 6 Shingo Hayakawa is the Deputy Group Executive of Image Communication and Products Operations at Canon’s Utsunomiya lens factory.

What is your favorite Canon lens design?

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 13

Kenichi Izuki: “My favorite, which I truly remember because it was so hard to design, was the original Canon 70-200 F2.8 L USM non-IS. I actually worked on the 70-200mm F2.8L USM version II with IS when I became a manager of the division. That posed a challenge because we had to exceed the requirements of the previous version.”

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 8 Kenichi Izuki is the Plant Manager at Canon’s Utsunomiya lens factory.

Have your say, what’s your favorite lens?

We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs 15

So what do you think of the responses we received – were there any surprises? And what is your all time favorite lens? Let us know in the comments!



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