Canon, one of the world’s leading camera makers, has introduced the Canon RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens, its first interchangeable dual fisheyeAn extreme wide-angle lens, with image distortion occurring at the edges of the frame. lens to capture 180-degree 3D video (VR180) and the world’s first VR180 lens that is designed for a single full frame sensor.
The Canon RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual FisheyeAn extreme wide-angle lens, with image distortion occurring at the edges of the frame. lens ($1999), available in late December, captures 8K 180-degree 3D video onto the Canon EOS R5 camera’s single, 45-megapixel sensor.
The process of capturing with both lenses onto a single sensor divides the resolutionThe number of pixels in an image, typically presented as a ratio of the total pixels on x axis to the total pixels on th... More, but it also eliminates stitching and syncing. Both lenses are perfectly aligned and calibrated, and the time, focus, and color are synced. That not only improves the viewing experience, but also results in a single file and simpler post-production.
It can capture content at least 7.87 inches away and has an aperture range from f/2.8 to f/16. The fixed dual lenses are 60mm apart, close to the typical human interpupillary distanceThe distance between the pupils of the eye / lenses of a camera in stereoscopic photography. (IPD, the distance between a person’s eyes).
Canon’s new EOS VR System
The company also announced a new EOS VR System, which includes the lens, new camera firmware to support 3D capture, and new post-processing software.
The post-processing part of the ecosystem includes a subscription-based software utility and an Adobe Premiere Pro plug-in.
The EOS VR Utility converts dual fisheyeAn extreme wide-angle lens, with image distortion occurring at the edges of the frame. files to an equirectangularStretching a spherical image into a flat, rectangular format. (i.e. the way a world map represents the spherical Earth).... More projection and allows “quick edits” and resolutionThe number of pixels in an image, typically presented as a ratio of the total pixels on x axis to the total pixels on th... More and file format selection. The Premiere Pro plugin enables equirectangularStretching a spherical image into a flat, rectangular format. (i.e. the way a world map represents the spherical Earth).... More conversion within Premiere.
Further details about the software are forthcoming, but Canon said it will offer free trial periods and the ability to process still images and video clips of shorter lengths for free.
Too little, too late?
Canon has dubbed the new lens “an important milestone in our company’s rich history as a lens manufacturer,” and says it “welcomes a bright future for VR content creation.”
Although Canon has dabbled in virtual and augmented reality in the past, with devices like its MREAL Display MD-20, the company’s new lens is perhaps its biggest leap into the VR space (and one that feels like it might be coming a little too late).
“The product is a curious release from Canon,” wrote Upload VR, referencing a lack of willingness among consumers to pay for 180- and 360-degree content. “Still, Canon’s cameras are in widespread professional use and the company is pitching a ‘simplified workflow’ for processing captures with its hardware that might be tempting for some creators. Likewise, Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 is heading toward mainstream adoption and millions of engaged Quest owners might breathe new life into this type of content.”
Perhaps a simpler capture process and post-production workflow, paired with a ubiquitous name in the camera industry and increasing interest among VR headset users could be just the combination to breathe new life into the VR180 medium.