Canon Is Releasing a Lens With a Digital Display — But Why On This Specific Lens?

by Bret Hoy4 Comments

Canon has been very busy apparently. Not only are they going to be releasing the eagerly anticipated Canon 5D Mk IV, they’re going to be adding some totally new features to one of their lenses – A digital display.

Now this isn’t really groundbreaking news as Zeiss has already done this with their gorgeous and lovely to use Batis line of lenses. The idea is that the digital display allows cinematographers and photographers to shoot in complete darkness and still see the vital measurements of the lens.

Of course, this spawned cries about battery life, but that’s pretty much just a distraction. If you’re truly worried about the battery life this feature could effect, you’re probably already struggling with your battery life.

What I find interesting about this announcement is actually, totally separate from the feature itself. It’s about the lens they’re choosing to implement the feature on – The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6. So why is this interesting?

Well, it’s because this isn’t really one of their high end lenses and isn’t a lens that would normally be used in a pitch black environment. And that is a very telling decision because if they’re choosing to implement this feature on this specific lens, that probably means they’re going to start releasing MOST of their lenses like this.

Zeiss made their line of lenses with digital displays entirely separate from most of their other lenses. Canon is looking like they’re ready to jump entirely into the digital display pool.

Canon Lenses May Soon Have a Digital Display

Canon Is Releasing a Lens With a Digital Display

Via PetaPixel:

Canon may have some unusual things planned for upcoming DSLRs and lenses. The company will reportedly introduce “a DSLR first” in the upcoming 5D Mark IV, but that’s not all: an upcoming lens may be the company’s first to include a digital display.

Canon Rumors is hearing from a known source that the upcoming replacement to the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lens, the Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS II, will feature a “digital display like the Zeiss Batis lenses.”

Read full article at PetaPixel “Canon Lenses May Soon Have a Digital Display”

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(cover photo credit: snap from PetaPixel)

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy is a filmmaker, photographer and writer based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Mainly focused on documentary and experimental film, he has produced, directed, shot and edited many short films and a few long form works.

He shoots a lot and often.
Bret Hoy


  1. I can barely get my shoes on the correct feet :-) but it seems like this could be used in conjunction with a future camera function that would make focus pulling very accurate.

  2. This is typical Japanese fascination with features.

    It’s something else to break. And I suspect there’d be less need for it, if manufacturers didn’t choose to shut off the viewfinder display after a few seconds. I can’t tell you how much I hate this annoying and time-wasting “battery-saving” feature.

  3. I cannot see any utility for this feature either in video or stills.

    If it were for video, one would be measuring first and marking the lens that had a long travel focus helical that would then be used for focus pulls.

    If they are thinking of stills then it may have applicability in flash except that it is not the sort of lens one would choose for studio work. In addition the flash users today either use flash meters, chimp or TTL where information is largely invisible to the user.

    Sadly, a lack of imagination coupled with a marketing department that is ceaselessly demanding “features”.

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