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Started Feb 17, 2007 | Discussions thread
T3 Forum Pro • Posts: 21,546
Re: Great chance for us

wjansen wrote:

I remember admiring the big Canon glass with the prestigious
flourite elements years ago. Seems like flourite was more delicate
and succeptible to heat than other types of "ED" glass, and Canon
went with white so the floutite element(s) wouldn't overheat. I
believe Canon had to "grow" the flourite crystals which was a long,
expensive process. At the time Nikon generally ruled the big glass
pro market, and they claimed their low dispersion glass to be
superior because it wasn't as delicate or heat intolerant. I'm not
certain if the flourite still requires a white lens barrel or if
that's just a look Canon likes. Since Zeiss also has lenses with
flourite, it certainly seems legitimate!

If painting the barrels white was the solution to the "problem", then I guess that was the solution to the "problem". I think you would have to search far and wide to find any incidents of Canon lens failures specifically and uniquely attributable to the use of fluorite in their lenses (as opposed to any other form of glass). And given that Canon fluorite teles make up a very large majority of the tele market, with a disproportionate number of Canon teles in circulation, one would expect that this so-called "problem" would be relatively common. But in reality and in practice, it's basically a non-issue. You're much more likely to find Nikon pro bodies with peeling rubber than you are to find Canon pro lenses with heat-cracked fluorite. I've had a trusty 70-200/4L (with fluorite element) since 2000. It's my primary travel tele, and it's traveled through very high extremes of temperature with it, with absolutely no ill effects. I think the biggest indicator of fluorite's reliability is the fact that my 70-200/4L lens has sat for very long periods of time inside my car on extremely hot days-- something that occassionally happens because it's literally small enough to sit inside my glove compartment, not to mention my messenger bag/photo bag which I generally complacently leave inside my car because it doesn't look like a camera bag. So in spite of sitting in such very hot environments over prolonged periods of time, it's still as sharp and excellent as the day I bought it! I think Canon's white paint is more about marketing than anything else, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. And my experience is that fluorite seems to handle extremes of temperature just fine, or at least as well as any other glass material. Maybe there are different types of fluorite, and maybe Canon's fluorite is of a particular composition that makes it relatively reliable, but clearly Canon has been successfully using fluorite for quite a while now with no significant failures.

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