Canon this week introduced an innovative new camera lens that combines two fisheye lenses into one housing. The new VR lens allows videographers to shoot stereoscopic 3D video with a single Canon R5 mirrorless camera.
Virtual reality headsets have been around for over six years now, but VR video has yet to catch on. Part of the problem is the challenge in producing valuable VR content. A few years ago, Google launched the VR180 platform, which made consumer-grade stereoscopic cameras with a 180-degree field of view. Professional videographers currently rely on niche products like Insta360's Pro 2 stereoscopic 360-camera or use two cameras mounted together in an elaborate rig.
Canon's new RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens will allow professional crews to drop the dual-camera rig and skip the complicated calibration process. This lens is the first product from Canon's new EOS VR System, which incorporates lenses and software to give content creators a full set of tools for VR video creation.
"At Canon, we innovate so creators can push artistic boundaries, and this commitment to innovation is what led us to introduce the new RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens. As Canon's first entry into the world of virtual reality image capture, the EOS VR System represents an important milestone in our company's rich history as a lens manufacturer and welcomes a bright future for VR content creation," said Tatsuro "Tony" Kano, executive vice president and general manager of Canon U.S.A.'s Imaging Technologies & Communications Group. "This new RF lens produces a stunning 8K virtual reality image and sets itself apart through its simplified workflow. Our goal is to make immersive storytelling more accessible for all."
Canon said the new lens would only be compatible with the Canon R5 mirrorless cameras because the dual-lens setup requires the 8K sensor of the R5 to function. The dual-lens configuration provides a 190-degree field of view, which allows for a small crop in post-production while maintaining a 180-degree final product.
Canon said the RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens would be available in December 2021. Be prepared to drop some coin on this thing if you want it. Canon set the price at $1999.