Canon shows off a new fold-out 180/360 VR camera at Photonext 2023
Canon has been showing off a new camera at Photonext 2023 in Yokohama, Japan. The camera has no name or model number yet, and Pronews reports it to be a concept prototype. The concept, though, is intriguing coming from a company like Canon. Intriguing because it’s a concept that’s been released before and didn’t really seem to take off.
It’s a 180º and 360º hybrid camera aimed at the consumer market. In its folded state, it’s a standard 360º 2D camera with its lenses back-to-back. Unfolded, it places its lenses side-by-side to shoot 180º 3D VR content. While the overall form factor appears very different, it sounds very similar to the Insta360 EVO.
PHOTO NEXT 2023のキヤノンブースで展示されている
Canon PowerShot Vシリーズのコンセプトカメラ
360°＆180° 3D VR Camera
— Ichiro Uematsu (@IchiroYqz01403) June 6, 2023
A number of images of the new camera have been posted to Twitter and other platforms showing off the new camera, including those above from Japanese photography enthusiast Ichiro Uematsu. Two of them are on display, with one in the folded position next to one unfolded. They were also captured by 360º and VR180 video creator wistaria_.
昨日、PHOTONEXT Canonブースで『360°&180°3D VR Camera』見てきた。
Insta360 EVO、Vuze XR 無き今、コンシューマでも買える(比較的)安価なVR180カメラとして発売に漕ぎつけて欲しい‼️ pic.twitter.com/lo7AmKi89t
— うぃしゅたりあ (@wistaria_) June 8, 2023
Canon already has the RF 5.2mm f/2.8 Dual Fisheye lens (buy here) and Canon EOS R5c (buy here) combo that covers the professional market. This camera won’t be quite so high-end, not in such a compact form factor. So, it’ll likely be tailored towards consumers and entry-level prosumers. Essentially, the same market that the Insta360 EVO was marketed towards when it was released in 2019.
When the Insta360 EVO was released, it was a pretty revolutionary little camera bringing 180º 3D VR content to the masses. But it was perhaps a little ahead of its time. The general public still wasn’t really ready for 3D VR content yet. Sure, there were a few VR headsets out there, but most people were the consumers of 3D content rather than the creators of it. Now, with Apple’s recent Vision Pro announcement, we may start to see an increase in user-generated 3D content creation.
This would make it an excellent time for Canon to enter the market with a 3D camera. Or for Insta360 to release an EVO 2 – something original EVO users have been actively seeking for the past few years since the EVO disappeared from retailers. If 3D content creation becomes easier for the masses and consumption becomes equally as easy, it has a significantly higher chance of becoming adopted by consumers.
Small camera technology’s come a long way in the four short years since the Insta360 EVO’s release. Canon’s also not limited to off-the-shelf sensors from Sony. So, it’s unclear what specs Canon might want to shove into this thing – or what might come in a hypothetical Insta360 EVO 2. There hasn’t exactly been a lot of competition in this sector. Canon might keep it as low a spec as it can get away with. Or, they might make it as high a spec as possible to make life more difficult for the competition.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.