I currently have a canon cl 8-120mm f/1.4-2.1 lens which uses the VL mount. Canon's goal appeared to have been to make this a standard system similar to the Micro Four Thirds system. See http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/history/canon_story/1987_1991/1987_1991.html (the section that mentions the VL mount is called Steady Refinement of Video Camcorder Technology).

I already performed many searches using Google and this website. So far all that I have found is that the flange distance is 20mm according to http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Lens_mounts.

I would like to be able to hook the lens up to a microcontroller and operate the lens. This will require having access to the pinout of the lens and a protocol specification in order to send commands to the lens. Does anyone have access to these? I do not have any cameras that use this lens system. I have access to only the lens itself. I added the reverse-engineering tag in case anyone has done any reverse engineering on the lens. I would like to hear about that as well.

Also I have read discussions about this lens and it seems that other people have unreasonable goals such as mounting this lens on their DSLR. Someone will then point out that the lens will not cover the entire sensor. To save everyone some time; I am already aware of this. I will use this for smaller sensors.


The Canon CL 8-120mm f/1.4-2.1 lens was designed to be used with the Canon EX1/EX2 Hi8 Video Camera with a VL mount.

Canon also had a EOS to VL mount adapter so EF lenses could be used on these cameras.

I would expect the pin arrangement should be the same as for an EF lens.

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The bad news is that the sensor size for the Canon EX1 was 1/2" which is considerably smaller than Micro 4/3.

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  • Thank you very much! This is the best answer in the world! – qwer_2002 Oct 4 '18 at 21:13

If you can't find pinouts the best approach is to buy a multimeter and try testing the contacts yourself to determine their functions.

Alternatively you could take the lens apart to view what components are used ic's etc... From there you might be able to find specific data sheets regarding the specific components and their uses!

It might also be a possibility as its quite and old lens their is no digital connection only analogue. In which case you don't need to worry about protocols only the specific voltages.

It might also be worth seeing if you could track down information regarding cameras that supported the VL mount as you might find a pinouts or data sheet.

Sorry I couldn't have been of anymore help.

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