Canon Has Introduced a New Lens for 3D VR Videos
Canon has developed a $2,000 dual fisheye lens for shooting 3D VR videos.
Canon is set to begin shipping a dual fisheye lens priced at $1,999 in late December, 2021 capable of shooting 3D 180-degree videos when paired with an EOS R5 camera.
The Canon RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens is set to debut along with a subscription-based software utility as well as an Adobe Premiere plugin “for completing the post-production process” according to a press release.
The press release further states that Canon will be offering free trials for the EOS VR Utility as well as the EOSW VR plugin, details of which will be shared later. It will also include “the ability to process still images and certain clip lengths for free.”
According to Canon, the lenses have been designed with an interpupillary distance (IPD) of 60mm to provide a field of view of approximately 190 degrees onto a single full-frame sensor in the R5 camera. The press release further states that the product can focus up to 7.87-inches away and has an aperture range from f/2.8 to f16.
This is an interesting release from Canon given that the virtual reality market has already seen various consumer and professional camera products come and go which targeted 180-degree and 360-degree capture and so far, few consumers have shown a willingness to pay for content that has been captured using this method. However, Canon’s cameras are already being used professionally and widely and Canon is floating a “simplified workflow” play for processing captures using its hardware and some creators may buy into this. VR content is also widely growing in popularity as Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 headset goes mainstream and we might, therefore, see millions of engaged users breathing new life into this type of content.
Still, the hype that surrounds virtual reality content has toned a bit compared to the early years. A lot of content on the Oculus Store, for instance, is making a niche existence on Oculus TV.
Google has also curtailed its YouTube VR ambitions considerably. Although the format is still supported, it is no longer as heavily advertised as in the blissful days of the Google Daydream. YouTube’s 180-degree VR initiative with its own dual lens cameras has almost totally disappeared.
However, the VR video format still lives on and provides interesting perspectives that are still not possible with conventional recordings.
Canon Stereoscopic Lens: Dual Fisheye Lens for 8K 180-degree Recordings in 3D
The new dual fisheye Canon lens have been developed for the EOS R5 which has an 8K resolution and provides the requisite pixel density for high-quality VR recordings in 3D.
Canon says the 3D stereoscopic lens supports 180-degree videos or photos with a resolution of 8,192 x 4,096 (8K) pixels and an angle of view of 190 degrees for AR and VR applications.
Both lenses can be focused at the same time via a ring and the focus of both lenses is adjusted to one another through an additional adjustment screw.
The aperture range is from F2.8 to F16. In pictures, the lens looks quite massive but it should be quite compact and should be hardly bigger than the Canon 35 mm F1.8 lens. The two lenses are 60mm apart which roughly corresponds to a human eye and they thus, support a more natural viewing experience.
EOS VR Software and Plug-in Merge Dual Images into a Single File
Apart from the dual fisheye lens, Canon is also providing access to EOS VR software for $5 a month which helps with the processing of the raw footage. The software can mirror stereo images and merge the two circular images into a rectangular format. The software also allows clips to be trimmed and exported into a single file in various formats for further editing. Canon is providing the EOS VR plugin for Adobe Premiere.
The RF 5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye will be available from December 2021 for $1,999. The corresponding R5 camera costs anywhere from $4,000 to $5,000. The R5 is capable of delivering 8K recordings with a playing time of up to 20 minutes after which the camera has to cool down for about 10 minutes.
Canon has also invested in VR videos elsewhere. The company launched a program for volumetric videos in collaboration with IBM. The two companies are both founding members of the Volumetric Format Association.