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Author Topic: History behind the white lens  (Read 6187 times)

lopicma

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History behind the white lens
« on: January 16, 2013, 02:55:57 AM »
Is there a thread relating to the history/reason for Canon using white for it's premium lenses?

I also notice that Sony has a couple of white lenses as well.
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History behind the white lens
« on: January 16, 2013, 02:55:57 AM »

eml58

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 05:05:00 AM »
Dont know if there's a separate thread, but I'll throw in my understanding. I have read that Canon say they Paint the Large Lenses White as the Bodies are mostly metal, therefore subject to heat absorption, the Glass in most Canon Lenses (Not All) is fluorite crystal, which is sensitive to heat which can make the elements expand & contract, the white colour reduces the amount of expansion & contraction in the Metal body and the fluorite elements.

The fact that Large White Canon Lenses stand out in the crowd is I imagine a positive as well.

Nikon I believe offer some of their large Lenses with an optional white paint finish.
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LDS

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 07:02:58 AM »
AFAIK when there was only "black" lenses many photographers started to cover them with more or less improvised white covers to avoid excessive heating. Canon started to deliver some FD L telephotos in white finish, starting with the larger and more expensive ones - i.e. the FD 300/4 L was black, while the FD 300/2.8 L was white, the FD 400/4.5 was not even an L less although it used UD glasses... probably later Canon understood even cheaper lenses could benefit from the white paint (and the L "signature"), and maybe commercial reasons were important as well.

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icantpickaname13

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 02:57:17 PM »
It's meant to be a universal symbol for someone who has great taste in camera equipment so that others with inferior gear/taste might take note and up their game. 
Also on an unrelated note when shooting in the desert in summer my camera body is hot to the touch and my white glass is much much cooler...

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 08:08:04 PM »
From the source: http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/lenses/black_or_white_lenses.do
+1
This is the correct answer .
Hmm, so throwing in those lens covers in the equation will be a bad thing? I walk around with my 70-200 MkII and obviously people notice it, where I live it's not a good thing to be noticed for your expensive gear. I guess I'll just have to stay careful as I've done up until now.

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 08:08:04 PM »

bycostello

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 08:43:33 PM »
as said.. to be reflective to limit expansion and contraction

Nishi Drew

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 10:48:43 PM »
Some of Sony, a.k.a. Minolta's telephotos are white for a similar reason I think, they had white finishes since the early 90s as I recall, but could have started soon after Canon brought out their whites.

The main reason for white is to reflect the heat, but traditional lens designs didn't have so much of an issue with that, it was when Canon began using Fluorite elements in lenses like the mentioned FD 300 F/2.8 L that it became rather necessary, as Fluorite reacted badly to heat. Probably a lot worse then the average glass or metal bodies would in even the worst heat and weather. Eventually it did indeed become a symbol for the 'best of the best' telephotos, and lately with lenses like the 70-300 they're painted white just to show off it's "L status" when there's no practical reason to be sporting the white finish... just stands out unnecessarily for when it's compactness should help with maneuverability and stealth.

dilbert

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 11:36:00 PM »
Some of Sony, a.k.a. Minolta's telephotos are white for a similar reason I think, they had white finishes since the early 90s as I recall, but could have started soon after Canon brought out their whites.

This is arguably to try and upset Canon's "white party" where they say "look at all those white lenses!".

The interesting thing about white vs black is that if a white and black lens are both at the same temperature after being in the sun for some period of time then the black lens will return to a room temperature quicker than the light coloured one if they are both then taken into an air conditioned building.

Jesse

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 12:37:10 AM »
White doesn't absorb heat. The end.
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unfocused

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 02:10:47 PM »
From the source: http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/lenses/black_or_white_lenses.do
+1
This is the correct answer .

I don't know, I kind of want to call b.s. on some of the official explanation.

I'm sure that the original purpose was as stated, but I'm also pretty sure that Canon uses white on lenses like the 70-300 "L" , 70-200 f4, and probably even the 300 f4 and 400 f5.6, as a marketing tool so us mere mortals can own a "white" lens.

After all, why would the non "L" versions of the 70-300 zooms be okay in black but the "L" version require white, when they all use the same aperture and why is the 200 f2.8 prime black while the 70-200 f4 is white?

Canon is a smart company. They know their white lenses are a good marketing tool and, regardless of the original reason, it's clear they are now using it for marketing purposes as well.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 02:14:42 PM »
...why is the 200 f2.8 prime black while the 70-200 f4 is white?

Not denying that some of this is marketing, but in the specific case above, the 70-200/4 has a fluorite element, while the 200/2.8 does not (fluorite is more thermally sensitive than glass).  But then...the 70-300L has no fluorite, nor do the 300/4 IS or 400/5.6 (although the 100-400 does), which is why I'm not denying some of this is marketing...
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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 02:14:42 PM »

kubelik

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2013, 03:50:55 PM »
The interesting thing about white vs black is that if a white and black lens are both at the same temperature after being in the sun for some period of time then the black lens will return to a room temperature quicker than the light coloured one if they are both then taken into an air conditioned building.

has this been tested? I assumed the black vs. white thing only helps regarding heat absorption from radiation, but once you bring it into a room it should be cooling via conduction in the air, which shouldn't have anything to do with its color.

dilbert

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 04:25:01 PM »
The interesting thing about white vs black is that if a white and black lens are both at the same temperature after being in the sun for some period of time then the black lens will return to a room temperature quicker than the light coloured one if they are both then taken into an air conditioned building.

has this been tested? I assumed the black vs. white thing only helps regarding heat absorption from radiation, but once you bring it into a room it should be cooling via conduction in the air, which shouldn't have anything to do with its color.

http://littleshop.physics.colostate.edu/activities/atmos1/ColorAndCooling.pdf

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Re: History behind the white lens
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 04:25:01 PM »