Canon has launched the RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye Lens which is a one of its kind product for virtual reality capture. The lens is capable of stereoscopic 3D 180-degree VR shooting with a single image sensor. With this dual fisheye lens, Canon appears to be making its strike in the VR space.
The RF lens is engineered to work as a part of Canon's EOS VR System and comes with a firmware update for the EOS R5 camera which is said to support the new lens as well as new VR functions. Along with that, a software will also be released which will convert and process footage for viewing on VR devices. Canon also recommends a compatible VR headset which is the Oculus Quest 2.
The lens, as claimed by Canon is the first interchangeable dual fisheye lens, which supports stereoscopic 3D 180-degree VR shooting on a single image sensor and aims at making the complexities of VR a bit easy to understand and streamlined.
Specially designed using Canon's impressive optics with inter-pupillary distance of 60mm, the lens delivers an output so close to human vision; known as the natural parallax. The lens also enables capturing with 190 degrees Field of view, from 2 separate optical systems which is perfect for the finishing the 180-degree footage.
The Canon lens offers remarkable flare control, even in backlit situations, which gives photographers the freedom to shoot at any time of the day, thanks to the subwavelength coating technology.
Along with featuring a set of apertures which are electronically controlled (range of f/2.8 through f/16), the lens also has a water and dust-resistant sealing and a fluorine coating which enables shooting even in challenging weather conditions.
Both the Canon Camera Connect App and the EOS Utility program will be upgraded in the coming time to offer remote-controlled live view for monitoring the shoot.
The RF 5.2mm lens features a maximum magnification of 0.03x and a close focusing distance of 7.87 inches/0.2m, along with a built-in Gelatine Filter Holder which enables the use of ND gel filters in bright lighting scenarios without having to stop the lens.
The EOS VR System, as claimed by Canon, can record right and left fisheye images into one full-frame image sensor, thus overcoming the challenges like syncing and stitching the footage.
Two paid subscription-based software are currently being developed by Canon for the post-production process. Additionally, Canon's EOS VR Utility will also enable the conversion of clips from dual fisheye to equi-rectangular along with the provision to select resolution and file format before exporting the images. Creators will also be able to convert footages into equi-rectangular and edit as per needs with the EOS VR Plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro.
The Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye lens will be available from December 2021 and will be priced at $1,999.