Prime Lenses

Canon TV-16 1:1.5/13mm
Canon TV-16 1:0.78/25mm
Canon TV-16 1:1.4/25mm
Canon TV-16 1:1.4/50mm
Canon TV-16 1:1.8/50mm
Canon TV-16 1:2/100mm
Canon TV Lens 1:0.95/50mm
Canon 3.2/75mm

Zoom Lenses

Canon TV Zoom J10x11 1.8/11-110mm
Canon TV Zoom J6x11 macro 1.4/11.5-69mm
Canon TV Zoom J8x11 macro 2.1/11.5-90mm
Canon Fluorite C-16 Macro Zoom C10x12 2.2/12-120mm (Fluorite glass – supposed to be very sharp)
Canon TV Zoom J4x12 macro 1.8/12.5-50mm
Canon TV Zoom 1.8/12.5-75mm
Canon TV Zoom J10x13 2.4/13-130mm
Canon TV Zoom J5x15 2.1/15-75mm
Canon TV Zoom V10x15 2.8/15-150mm
Canon TV Zoom V6x16 1.9/16-100mm
Canon TV Zoom V6x16 2/16.5-95mm
Canon TV Zoom V6x17 2/17-102mm
Canon TV Zoom V6x18 1.6/18-108mm
Canon TV Zoom V6x18 2.5/18-108mm
Canon TV Zoom V5x20, 2.5/20-100mm

Made for the 1/2″ format:
Canon TV Lens PHF35 1.2/35mm  (only covers 1/2″)

Canon c-mount lenses, as one might expect are generally of the highest quality. The TV-16 series of lenses are so called because they were specifically designed for use both on early TV cameras and on 16mm cine cameras. They are mainly prime lenses, but some of the zooms are sometimes labelled TV-16 too.

The Canon 0.95/50mm listed above is the well-known (and highly priced!) Canon lens sometimes called the “Dream Lens”. It covers 35mm film and was originally made for the Canon 7 rangefinder system. It is not actually a true c-mount lens but has a Canon bayonet mount and its own dedicated c-mount adapter. Quite a lot of them have also been converted to other mounts, especially Leica M mount. Most of these lenses are simply marked “Canon Lens”, some are marked “Canon Cine” and some “Canon TV”, but they are all the same lens. Some further details can be found here.

The zooms also generally have the reputation of being excellent lenses. In particular, the Canon Fluorite C-16 Macro Zoom C10x12 2.2/12-120mm with its fluorite glass is supposed to be very sharp, while the Canon TV Zoom V10x15 2.8/15-150mm (sometimes labelled TV-16) is often compared favourably to the Angenieux 2.8/15-150mm. The prefixes to the model number refer to the sensor size the lens is designed for. The J lenses are designed for 2/3″ sensors, the V lenses for 1″ sensors. I would assume C-16 is an abbreviation for Cine-16.

Canon 1.9/16-100mm

40 thoughts on “Canon”

  1. Hello.
    Any idea what the initial T stand for? I found a “canon tv zoom lens T6X13.5” (13.5 – 81mm, f1.8) and I am wondering is it is of similar quality to the V lenses… but there is almost no information to be found online…

  2. ii was about to purchase a Canon J6x11-II 11.5-69mm 1:1.4 TV/Movie Camera Zoom Lens for my bmpcc m4/3 will it cover full censor

  3. Hi Jason,

    Do you think the Canon J12x10-16PZ TV Zoom Lens model VCL-1012SY 10.5-126mm 1:1.6 would cover the BMPCC sensor. It looks to be for the 2/3″ sensor, but I know some if these can still cover the super 16 sensor on occasions.


    1. Hi Tristan,

      Yes, with the J prefix that must be designed for 2/3″ sensors. I’ve haven’t tried one, but with 10.5mm at the wide end I’m afraid it would certainly vignette on the BMPCC.


  4. Hi Jason,
    Would really value you your recommendation on lens selection; – I have a GH3 which I am only just beginning to use – primarily for doco’ video. I got the std 14-140mm zoom with it but would like wide, wide zoom, macro and fast tele options in my kit, and it seems C-mount is the only affordable way to go! Could you steer me to some good C-mount [or other suitable mount] lenses that will work with the GH3, – even if requiring ETC mode? I have been browsing eBay and is too difficult to pick out suitable lenses without your knowledge of brands/ quality/ what works! Couple I wondered about were a Computar 4mm 1.4, Cosmicar 8.5mm, Tamron 4-12mm 1.2, and Vidicon 25-100mm 1.8, …any help would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your message.
      You ask a pretty big question, but will try to help at least a little on the c-mount options.

      First of all, any c-mount lens under about 25mm is likely to vignette on the full MFT sensor, so you are pretty much limited to using ETC mode at the wide end and on the zooms.

      Computar 1.4/4mm – I haven’t tried it but it should cover ETC mode fine. Fixed focus so you may have to play around with spacer rings to get correct focus. Should be a nice quality lens.
      Cosmicar and Computar 1.8/4.8mm – fixed focus as above. Both perform quite well.
      Cosmicar 1.8/6.5mm – fixed focus. Much bigger coverage than the two above – comes much closer to covering the full MFT format (will cover Super 16). Performs well.

      The above may also be found under other brand names (Ernitec, Tarcus, VT, Apollo etc.).

      Cosmicar 1.2/6mm – just covers ETC mode (vignettes a little on 2x digital zoom). To consider if you want wide, very fast and with focusing. Mount needs machining to fit adapter.
      Vista 1.2/6mm – pretty much as above but mount doesn’t need machining.

      Cosmicar 1.5/8.5mm – nice lens to use in ETC mode. Mount needs machining to fit adapter.
      Tamron 1.2/4-12mm – haven’t tried it. Is reported to cover ETC mode. Google finds several tests on GH2/GH3. The Tamron 1.6/8-16mm I had performed OK.
      TUC (?) Vidicon 1.8/25-100mm – haven’t tried it. A fairly rare lens and probably good quality. Touch and go whether it gets infinity focus with an adapter (it looks like the mount only protrudes a little at the back).

      To consider:
      There are many 1.8/12.5-75mm zooms about (Kowa, Tokina, Cosmicar, Sony, etc). They cover ETC. Most are good quality and provide a good zoom range. Get one with a protruding mount that will fit the adapter.
      Fast tele primes:
      Cosmicar or Computar 1.4/75mm. Great lenses. Cover whole MFT format. Need no modification to the mount.

      Hope that helps a little.

      1. Hi Jason, thanks for your time, that is really helpful!

        I realise this is a “how long is a piece of string” question, but if you had to pick three prime/ fixed focal lenses to use with a GH3 for video, what would they be? – ie 12mm, 25mm, 50mm ?
        I have been shooting on video cameras for the past 10 years – currently on a Canon XF300 so have had luxury of an equivalent 28-400 zoom, now need to get my head around what lens kit for the GH3 will give me a similar range!

        When a focal length is given for a lens is that always the full frame equivalent? also when you say “you may have to play around with spacer rings to get correct focus”, once that distance is right will the focus be right throughout the range?
        Any recommendations for a macro lens for the GH3?

        Going back to those C-mount lenses, what is your opinion of these that I have seen on eBay?
        FUJINON 1.4/50mm C-MOUNT TV LENS?
        COSMICAR 1.5/8.5MM c-mount SUPER-16 LENS
        KOWA 1.1/55mm LENS
        ‘TV’ ZOOM LENS, 1:1.8 f12.5-75mm
        Canon video zoom lens, CL 8-120mm [not sure if these can be compatible with a GH3?]
        Are CS mount lenses out?
        Lastly I have some legacy Nikon lenses – 16mm, 20mm and 60mm macro – are any of these of any use on the GH3 with the correct adaptor, or not worth the hassle?

        Thanks again!

        1. Hi Dave,

          Focal length given for a lens should always be the real focal length not the full frame equivalent (the focal length written on the lens is certainly the real focal length). A “normal” focal length lens on MFT is therefore considered to be 25mm, a 12mm lens is equivalent to a 24mm on MFT.

          When I talked about playing around with spacers I was referring to fixed focus wide angle lenses, so there wouldn’t be any focal range (being very wide angle you would have great depth of field). Depending on your adapter, many focusing c-mount lenses may focus slightly past infinity – you can either live with that (you will get infinity focus at just under infinity on the scale e.g. at 10 metres) or you can usually adjust the infinity focus setting fairly easily (or you can use spacers in this case too). Correct infinity focus is much more important for decent zoom lenses which should be parfocal. In this case you may need to adjust back focus distance to be correct at wide angle (either with the lens’ own back focus adjustment or by using spacer rings). Once this is correct you will usually find that front focus is correct and that the lens keeps focus throughout the range (if not, front focus can usually be adjusted too).

          Specific lenses:
          FUJINON 1.4/50mm C-MOUNT TV LENS – very nice lens indeed. Covers full MFT. Needs modification to fit an MFT adapter.
          COSMICAR 1.5/8.5MM c-mount SUPER-16 LENS – a nice lens, but doesn’t cover Super 16 (covers ETC mode). Needs modification to fit an MFT adapter.
          KOWA 1.1/55mm LENS – this is usually just a lens block – needs a lot of modification.
          ‘TV’ ZOOM LENS, 1:1.8 f12.5-75mm – Covers ETC. Lots of different models on the market. Usually good performers. Get one with a protruding mount that will fit an adapter without modification.
          Canon video zoom lens, CL 8-120mm [not sure if these can be compatible with a GH3?] – No – made for very small sensors, no adapter available (as far as I know), probably electronic aperture which would not work.
          Are CS mount lenses out? – Yes, made for small sensor, no adapter.
          Legacy Nikon lenses – 16mm, 20mm and 60mm macro – Yes, definitely worth trying (just the cost of a Nikon/MFT adapter), especially the 60mm macro since you need a macro lens. The 16mm, being fish-eye, may give quite a lot of distortion.

          Macro lens for GH3:
          You probably have that covered with your 60mm Nikon lens.
          Otherwise there are quite a lot of 2.5/18-108mm macro zooms out there (different makes but they are all fatter at the front). These have a dedicated macro filter screwed onto the front which can be removed to use the lens as a normal zoom. When used for macro work at a longish focal length they cover the whole MFT format (they vignette at wide angle but can still be used in ETC).
          Personal favourites for macro work: Tarcus 2.8/28mm macro and Tarcus 2.8/35mm macro. These have double focusing helicoids for long focus throw – like the Kilfitt Macro Kilar 2.8/40mm (which is also a nice lens but much more expensive).

          Three primes for GH3 – some suggestions:
          The best, if money is no problem, are probably Kowa’s new XC series which cover the full MFT format: 2.8/8.5mm LM8XC, 2.0/12mm LM12XC, 2.0/16mm LM16XC, 2.0/25mm LM25XC, 2.0/50mm LM50XC.
          Others (any 12.5mm legacy c-mount lens will need to be cropped on MFT or used in ETC mode):
          Fujinon 1.4/12.5mm, Fujinon 1.4/25mm, Fujinon 1.4/50mm (need modification)
          Computar 1.3/12.5mm, Computar 1.3/25mm, Computar 1.3/50mm (1″ lenses – need modification, but simpler to do than the Fujinons).
          Cosmicar 1.4/12.5mm, Cosmicar 1.4/25mm, Cosmicar 1.4/50mm (1″ lenses – need modification, but simpler to do than the Fujinons).
          Canon TV-16 1.5/13mm, Canon TV-16 1.4/25mm, Canon TV-16 1.4/50mm (need no modification but more expensive).


  5. CANON ZOOM FAST! 1.8/12.5-50mm

    Has anyone tried this lens on the Blackmagic Pocket cinema?

    Will it vingette or have focus issues throught the zoom?


    1. Hi Jeremy,

      Thanks for the message – sorry it took so long to approve. It got lost in a lot of spam.
      I don’t think this lens will cover the BMPCC. I haven’t tried it, but the Kowa 1.8/12.5-50mm (which looks very similar) doesn’t cover.

  6. So I bought Canon Fluorite C12-120mm F2.2. It covers S16 from 12-15mm, but then it starts to vignette between 15 and about 30mm, with the worst about 25. Then it covers again. When it doesn’t completely cover, it’s mostly usable, but there might be some corner darkening inside the safe areas. In all, I was not impressed with the sharpness either. V10x15 is far better lens for S16 cameras.

    1. Hi Robert,

      I own a Canon Fluorite C12-120mm from an old CP16 I had.
      I recently purchased a BMPCC and I wait it from day to day (or month to month :). What adapter would you suggest and what’s your opinion for the lens overall?

      Thanks in advance,

  7. Hi, I also got a Canon TV zoom V10X15 15-150 2.8. Seems very good. I have a thin c-mount to m43 adaptergaetaus. Do you know how it can be made parfocal? Does it need some heavy modification or is it just a matter of shaving the mount to make it stay closer to the sensor? Thanks

    1. Hi,

      If you have a thin adapter, I believe that lens should mount fine without needing any machining of the mount. It should also be a parfocal lens. If it is not staying in focus, it is much more likely that it is focusing slightly beyond infinity and needs to be moved slightly further away from the sensor. Check what happens when you are using the lens on the widest angle – do you have to focus down to a near distance on the scale in order to get infinity focus? If so, try putting the lens on infinity and wide angle and then unscrewing slightly until you get infinity focus. Once you have this, try zooming in while keeping the lens unscrewed the same amount – you should find it is parfocal. If this is the case, try putting a thin spacer between the lens and the adapter to get the right distance (or you can remove the mount and put the spacer under that). Very thin rubber or plastic sheet cut to a washer shape usually works well.

    1. Hi,

      No – I’m afraid the Canon PH6x8 (1.0/8-48mm) macro will vignette quite severely on Super 16.
      It even vignettes slightly when used on the Panasonic G1 2x digital zoom mode, although it will cover the ETC mode in micro four thirds and it will cover the sensor of the Pentax Q.
      I attach a photo showing approximate coverage on the full MFT sensor with the Super 16 frame size superimposed.

  8. Hi! I got myself a Canon TV zoom lens V6x16 16-100mm 1:1.9 but I can’t get it to work. First I tested it on my Sony Nex 5n with a C-NEX adapter. Of course lots of vignetting but the big problem was the inability to focus. No matter what f-stop or focal distance there is no way the get proper focus. I just got my Panasonic GH3 and was hoping the problem was related to the Nex-5n but no. Same deal with my GH3. I of course have a C-M4/3 adapter to this. If I dial the iris to a place between the “C” and 16 clicks I ALMOST have focus. Of course, there’s not much light at this position. Am I a newbie moron who missed something or is the lense faulty?

    1. Hi!
      The lens may be faulty but there are a few other things to look at first:
      1. Does the lens screw home properly? As far as I know the mount on that lens always protrudes far enough to mount properly on an adapter (like the one pictured above) but there may be models I haven’t seen that don’t or the thread may be damaged so that it doesn’t screw right in. When it is screwed in, the rear of the thread should be more or less flush with the back of the adapter.
      2. Can you not get focus at any distance from the lens or is it just infinity focus you can’t get? If you can focus on near objects when the lens is set at infinity, but can’t focus on far away objects, it means that the lens is not near enough to the sensor – either a mount/adapter problem or the back focus distance of the lens is wrong.
      3. If you can’t get focus at all it may be focusing past infinity – can you focus on far away objects when you turn the focus ring to close focus? Try setting the lens to wide angle/max. aperture and unscrewing the lens while you look through the camera at a distant object.
      4. Make sure the rear lens is screwed in OK. If you shake the lens gently can you here any elements moving?

      Hope this helps!

      1. Thanx for your reply.

        1. I can see that the lens mount comes out about 1mm at the back of the adapter. I don’t know if this is OK or not. It sits tight with no wobbling or anything.

        2. I made a strange discovery. It seems that the only way to get anything in focus is to hold the lens 10-15cm (4-6 inches) from the object. The distance includes the rubber lens hood. While holding it at this distance I notice that there is no change whatsoever in focus when I’m turning the focus ring. It seems locked at this weird distance. The focus doesn’t change when I’m changing the iris either. So what I have is a quite useless macro lens… <:-/

        3. No.

        4. It is screwed on properly.

        So it looks like my first experience with a C-mount was a bust. I hope it's like sex, that it does get better. 😉

  9. Thanks for the info and a great write up. I bought Canon V10x15 for my Pocket, then sold it for much more then I paid and managed to buy Canon C10x12 Fluorite for $300. The lens is on it’s way from Canada, but I am already looking forward to shooting with it.

      1. That is a good question. I have heard it covers S16 at 12mm and 40-150. Might have made a mistake selling my Canon V10x15? I will let you know soon.

    1. Hi Roberto,

      Thanks for the test – it looks very successful.

      The Canon 2.8/15-150mm lens has a good reputation, it is reported to be as good as the Angenieux 15-150mm and I suspect has better coverage. You show that it covers the BMPCC sensor with no problem even at wide angle and I note that it holds the focus nicely while zooming.

      I think the 1970’s is right for the age of this lens although they may have continued making them into the 1980’s. There is a website explaining how to date Canon lenses here, but I expect that numbering was not used on TV lenses.

      Thanks again

  10. I have bought a Canon V! 5-150 and I’m really happy with this lens. Its construction and image quality seem staggering.
    I am following the history of this lens. Your telling me you would know what year it was built?. From what I could find I think it was in the early ’70s. Is that correct?. I await your response. thanks

  11. Hi! I have the TV ZOOM LENS V6x17 17-102mm 1:2.0, I was wondering if you had any idea how i would use it? Like what cameras can i use it with and how would i put it on the camera? As you can see im a beginner so i have no idea what to do..

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for your interesting question.
      That is a nice lens you have there. It was made for 1″ sensors so there are several digital cameras you can use it on.

      If you are thinking of using it for CCTV use you can use it on just about any c-mount camera – just screw it on. You will have to set aperture and focus manually though.

      If you are thinking of using it for photography or video/film, there are quite a few options:

      1. Any 16mm c-mount film camera (Bolex, Beaulieu etc.) or any 8mm c-mount film camera.
      2. Any micro four thirds camera for still photography or video (see here for the full list of cameras). You will need to use a micro four thirds to c-mount adapter like the ones here (click on the link on the right hand side of the page). The lens will not quite cover the full sensor – it will cover quite well at long focal lengths but will vignette at wide angle. However you can use it with the 2x digital zoom or in ETC mode for video on the Lumix cameras.
      3. The Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera. Again, you will need to use a micro four thirds to c-mount adapter. It will cover the whole format without vignetting and would make a good lens to use on this camera.
      4. Pentax Q series cameras.. It will easily cover this sensor and the lens would be a very long zoom on this camera (e.g. for wildlife etc.). You would need to use a Pentax-Q to C-mount adapter like the ones here (click on the link on the right hand side of the page).
      5. Nikon 1 series cameras.. It will easily cover this sensor and the lens would be a moderately long zoom on this camera. You would need to use a Nikon 1 to C-mount adapter like the ones here (click on the link on the right hand side of the page).

      Hope this helps.

  12. Hey there, Great article!

    I’ve just come across a Canon TV Zoom V6x18 2.5/18-108mm, would I be able to use it with Canon dslrs (be it straight in or with an adapter)? In particular the 550d


    1. Hi,

      Thanks for the comment and my apologies for the late reply.
      You can mount that lens (like all c-mount lenses) on a Canon 550d using a c-mount to Canon EOS adapter, but you will not get infinity focus so you would have to use the lens for macro shots only, and it would not cover the whole format so you would also have to do some severe cropping. In my opinion it’s not worth doing unless you have some specific need.

  13. I see those lenses have electrical connectors for aperture? I used
    Canon V6x16 16-100mm 1:1.9 TV Zoom once and it had some kind of button that would manually control the iris – But it did not work.

    I’m not sure it was the problem with that particular lens or canon tv lenses can only change iris through electrical control. Do you if I buy one of them, I can have full manual control of changing aperture without any connections? I’m planning on using c-mount lenses on MFT cameras. Thank you.

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for visiting and for your question. There are two versions of the Canon V6x16, 1.9/16-100mm TV Zoom: a manual aperture one and an auto iris one with manual override. The latter is more common and is obviously the one you had.

      The button you refer to is actually a small wheel. When pushed in, the iris is controlled electrically by the camera. To override the auto iris you have to pull the button out which engages it with a small cog mechanism inside the housing. You then turn the wheel to open and close the iris.

      Since these lenses are all fairly old and the cogs are made of plastic, this mechanism often doesn’t engage properly so the manual override doesn’t work. There are several small screws holding the plate in place at the rear of the housing. Remove these and you can see enough of what’s happening to see if it’s an easy repair.

      I’ve inserted a photo at the end of the article above.

  14. Hi there and congratulations for your article!

    I have a Canon Fluorite C-16 Macro Zoom C10x12 2.2/12-120mm from an old CP-16 but I can’t really tell what’s the mount of this lens.

    Would really appreciate any help as I would like to buy some adapters in order to use it with my DSLR and MFT cameras.

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for the message.
      If it came off a CP-16, your lens presumably has a Cinema Products mount. This is supposed to be very similar to an Aaton mount (almost interchangeable?). If so it should have three flanges and a diameter of about 50mm (see here for a good list of mounts).

      I’m afraid it is going to be very difficult to find adapters. It would make more sense for MFT than larger format DSLRs since it won’t have enough coverage for the latter. Actually it will vignette on MFT too, but would give full coverage in ETC mode or with the 2x digital zoom.
      There are some adapter makers on ebay who make quite a selection of different types. The best thing might be to track them down and ask if they have any suggestions. I’m afraid you might need a custom adapter made though.

      That lens is supposed to be excellent by the way – better than the Angenieux 12-120mm.

        1. It looks like an Arri Standard mount with a cut in the side. Not sure about the release mechanism though – is that to remove the mount from the lens or to release the mount from the camera?

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