Canon has announced a new RF lens, described as its first digital interchangeable lens that captures stereoscopic 3D 180º images onto a single sensor: the RF 5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye Lens.
The new lens is designed to work on Canon RF camera systems as part of what the company is calling the EOS VR System. It will also come with a firmware update for the EOS R5 camera that will support the new lens along with new VR capture functions. Additionally, the company will release new software that will convert and process the footage for viewing on VR devices.
The lens features a unique folded optic design that consists of 24 total elements in 20 total groups (12 elements in 10 groups for each of the two lenses), including four ultra-low dispersion elements and an array of Canon’s proprietary coatings. The offers an aperture range of f/2.8 through f/16 and has an interpupillary distance of 60mm. The minimum focusing distance is 20cm (7.9”) and it includes a built-in gelatin filter holder for slipping in a neutral density filter in bright environments.
It also features dust and water-resistant sealing as well as fluorine coating that, when paired with the R5, allows it to operate in even challenging weather conditions. Canon says that from an operation perspective, the dual fisheye lens works just like any other RF lens. Canon’s free Camera Connect app and Canon’s EOS Utility program both will be updated in the future to offer remote-control live view functionality for monitoring purposes as well.
The resulting images should be compatible with most VR headsets and applications, but Canon particularly references Oculus’ Quest 2 headset, which is one of the best-selling headsets on the market.
Canon says that the EOS VR System’s workflow is particularly impressive and because it can record left and right fisheye images to a single full-frame image sensor and therefore bypasses the common challenges of stitching and synching since the footage is output to a single image file.
Canon is currently developing two paid subscription-based software solutions for completing the post-production process. Canon’s EOS VR Utility will offer the ability to convert clips from dual fisheye images to equirectangular and make quick edits, as well as select the resolution and file format before export. With the EOS VR Plug-In for Adobe Premiere Pro, creators will be able to automatically convert the footage to equirectangular and edit as they would normal footage from there.
The Canon 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye Lens is set to be released in late December 2021 for $1,999. Neither the EOS VR Utility, nor the EOS VR Plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro has a price yet, but Canon says the software is currently in development and expects to announce further availability and details in early 2022.
More info on Canon’s website.