This short video released by Canon USA just a couple of days ago tells the story behind one of Canon's most impressive optical achievements: the $78,000 Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 CN20x 50 IAS H/P1 lens introduced in 2014. We don't cover much broadcast equipment here on DPReview, but even we couldn't help taking note of this impressive lens when it was first announced.

As Canon USA Senior Fellow Larry Thorpe explains in the video, this lens was the result of a challenge posed to Canon by wildlife filmmaker Ivo Nörenberg in 2010. Nörenberg asked Canon to produce a long zoom 4K Super 35mm lens that would allow him to capture a seemingly impossible zoom range.

Zoomed all the way in, Nörenberg needed this lens to be able to "fully frame a subject of 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 meters) in height from a distance of 300-350 feet." Then, without changing lenses, he wanted to zoom back out and capture "great outdoor vistas." And as if that's not difficult enough, Nörenberg also asked Canon to keep the lens size manageable: no more than 15lbs (~6.8Kg) and no longer than 16 inches (~40cm).

It took four years, but this is what Canon came up with:

Credit: Canon

It wasn't easy. Thorpe calls this lens "the most challenging project ever undertaken by the Canon optical design team." But in the end, Nörenberg says Canon delivered 100% of his specifications and ideas. Not only that, Canon also built a 1.5x teleconverter right into the lens, giving the CINE-SERVO lens an extended range of 50-1500mm.

Check out the full video above to hear the story from Thorpe and see the lens in action capturing footage of wolves in arctic Canada, only 1,000Km (~620 miles) away from the North Pole.