Canon’s New Dual Fisheye EOS R Lens For 3D VR Capture

October 7, 2021

By Hillary K. Grigonis

© Canon

Shooting virtual reality requires either a dedicated VR camera with multiple lenses, or multiple cameras set up with scientific precision. But, photographers will soon be able to capture 180-degree 3D images using a single camera and lens, thanks to Canon’s Dual Fisheye lens. The Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye is the first interchangeable dual lens that can capture stereoscopic 3D, 180-degree images to a single image sensor. The 3D lens will work with the R5 with an upcoming firmware update, as well as with upcoming Canon VR software.

Canon's new dual fisheye.

The “odd” lens puts two fisheyes onto a single Canon RF mount. Canon says that the pair delivers “natural parallax closely resembling human vision when viewed through a compatible headset.” The two 5.2mm f/2.8 lenses record to the R5’s image sensor at once, which creates two circular images in one frame. An upcoming Canon VR Utility will be able to convert those circular images to the equirectangular shape that VR headsets use. Canon will also release an EOS VR Plug-In for Adobe Premiere Pro that will allow users to convert footage, cut and color.

The lens isn’t without sacrifices, however. There is no autofocus motor, so the optic is manual focus only. Users will be able to adjust the focus difference between the left and right lens with an adjustment dial that requires a hexagonal wrench. The lens is capable of manually focusing on objects that are as close as 7.87 inches from the lens.

[Read: Canon’s EOS R5 & R6 Full-Frame Mirrorless]

The aperture range is f/2.8 to f/16, with a seven-blade aperture. Canon says that the lens also features coatings for flare control.

Despite the odd design, the Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye is still weather-sealed, including fluorine coating on the front optics. Filters, of course, won’t fit such a non-traditional lens so Canon incorporated a built-in gelatin filter holder, which can use ND gels.

[Read: How to Launch a 3D Virtual Reality Photo Exhibition: A Case Study]

Canon is developing two programs to convert the image but both will be paid subscriptions. Canon’s VR Utility is a stand-alone program that will convert the image for VR headsets, make “quick edits,’ and change the resolution and file type before exporting. A similar program will be developed as a plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro. Canon says that the Camera Connect app and EOS Utility will be updated for remote live view.

The Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye is scheduled for arrival in late December. The dual fisheye will list for $1,999. While the manual focusing and 3D view may have limited uses, the ability to record stereoscopic 3D on a full-frame camera could entice a few creatives.