Canon beefs up tech support in Sochi

Canon is out in full force at the Sochi Games, not only in an endless parade of broadcast lenses but also with an expanded on-site service desk for broadcasters.

For several years at the Olympics, Canon Europe has had a Canon Service Desk on-site to handle the needs of pro photographers at the Games. While continuing this service for photographers, the company has expanded the service desk to support broadcasters as well. Canon technicians have the capability to diagnose and repair broadcast lenses on the spot at the Canon Desk in the Main Press Center, enabling quick turnaround of any service issues that Olympics broadcasters using Canon lenses might have.

“Time is of the essence at events like this, and it’s Canon’s goal to ensure our clients get the support they need quickly,” says Rich Eilers, director of sales, ITCG Professional Products Sales Engineering Division, Canon USA. “So the broadcaster and photographer can spend more time at the venues making great images.”

Although Canon first offered this on-site service to broadcasters at the 2012 London Games, Sochi marks an expanded effort that allows any operator using a Canon lens to have immediate access and support right at the Main Press Center.

“We can actually take broadcast lenses and project them right at the Main Press Center,” says Eilers. “Before this, our photography [staffers] were doing that as the natural course of action. This year, our broadcast [staffers] walked in, brought a different set of charts, and now they are able to fix broadcast lenses on-site. It’s a huge benefit for anyone using a Canon lens. They can just walk right up and say their lens needs a tweak. Our guys can run it in the back, fix the issue, and the [camera operator] can be on their way.”

Chief among the broadcasters using Canon lenses in Sochi is NBC Olympics, which is deploying more than 70 HD lenses. Models include the XJ100X9.3B AF long-zoom field lens and the XJ27X6.5B AF studio zoom lens, both featuring sophisticated Canon auto-focus capabilities based on a proprietary HD implementation of Through-the-Lens Secondary Image Registration Phase Detection Method technology. Also helping provide steady images from telephoto distances will be the portable HJ40X10B super-telephoto HD lens featuring Canon Shift-IS internal Optical Shift Image Stabilization, and the compact HJ15EX8.5B image-stabilized HD lens with Canon’s patented Vari-Angle Prism image-stabilizer (VAP-IS) technology. NBC is also using the HJ14ex4.3B wide-angle zoom, HJ22ex7.6B and HJ21ex7.5B long-focal-length zooms, HJ18ex28B portable ultra-telephoto HD lens, HJ17ex7.7B high-end field production lens, and KJ22ex7.6B multipurpose portable HD lens. Among Canon portable HDTV lenses are the KH21ex5.7, KH16ex5.7, and KH10ex3.6 zoom lenses, designed for ENG/EFP-style cameras using half-inch imagers.

“Canon USA has a dedicated service team on the ground with NBC Sports to ensure the performance of the many lenses in play for the U.S. broadcast,” says Eilers. “The look of the NBC Sports production sets the standard for excellence, so we need to ensure that the optics they use are at their very best when they catch every thrilling moment from the mountains to the ice.”

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