VR coming to EOS R5: Canon announces RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens and VR firmware


posted Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at 8:45 AM EST


Canon has announced its most unusual RF lens yet, the RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens. The new lens brings stereoscopic 3D virtual reality (VR) capture to the EOS R5 as part of the EOS VR System, which includes a future firmware update for the R5 camera.

The upcoming firmware update will provide compatibility between the R5 and the new RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens, plus add VR shooting functions. Canon will also be releasing Canon EOS VR software solutions for conversion and processing. Canon's new lens is the first digital interchangeable dual fisheye lens capable of shooting stereoscopic 3D 180° VR imagery to a single image sensor. Of course, to enjoy content recorded by the R5 and the new dual fisheye lens, people should use a compatible VR headset. Canon namedrops the Oculus Quest 2, specifically.

'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 RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens

The RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens uses high-quality L-series optics 'engineered with an interpupillary distance of 60mm for delivery of 3D imagery in VR with natural parallax closely resembling human vision when viewed through a compatible headset.' The lens has a 190° field of view captured through two separate optical systems, ideal for producing 180° VR content. The lenses include subwavelength coating for flare control, allowing the lens to be used in backlit conditions.

The seven-bladed aperture is electronically controlled, like other RF lenses, and has an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/16. The lens includes dust- and water-resistant sealing and fluorine coating on the front of the lens. The lens has a close-focusing distance of 0.2m (7.87"), allowing for a maximum magnification of 0.03x. With a built-in gelatin filter holder, you can use ND gel filters to ensure a wide aperture even in bright conditions.

Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens on Canon EOS R5 camera

Canon writes, 'The EOS VR System's convenient workflow is a standout feature. Accomplished by recording left and right fisheye images to a single full-frame image sensor, this design helps to solve common VR challenges of stitching and synching, by outputting one single image file.' Although full details have not yet been revealed, Canon says it is working on two paid subscription-based software solutions to complete the VR post-production process. Canon EOS VR Utility will allow users to convert clips from a dual fisheye image to equirectangular and make quick edits and exports. An EOS VR Plug-In for Adobe Premiere Pro will further enhance workflow options.

The Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens is due to arrive in December with an estimated retail price of $1,999. The EOS VR Utility and Canon EOS VR Plug-In for Adobe Premiere Pro should be available by late December. However, free trials will be available at launch. You will be able to process still images and certain clip lengths for free in the EOS VR Utility.