Canon shows off prototype consumer VR cameras and 3D lenses
Canon has been trailblazing in the VR world the last couple of years with their groundbreaking RF 5.2mm dual fish eye lens. Finally, it was possible to create 3D VR180 videos relatively easily and cheaply.
At CES 2024 recently, they showcased three new concept models for consumer VR and 3D 180/360 cameras. In this video, VR expert Hugh Hou shows us what’s new.
3D photo booth
One interesting concept is the ability to create a 3D image from one single flat photo. In the demo, the Canon rep shows how the 3D image can be turned around and viewed from all angles in a similar way to characters in a video game. Except that you create those images, you usually have to use photogrammetry and a multiple-camera set-up.
This 3D photo booth could be a game changer in this aspect. The set-up just uses your off-the-shelf R5 camera and RF lens to take the photograph.
360/180 consumer 8K camera
Canon is once again showing off the concept model of this camera. DIYP saw it at IBC 2023, and it features a flip-out lens that can turn the camera from a 360 view to a 180 view. It’s still just a concept model, which means it’s not yet in production. However, it now apparently has an EU CE sticker on it which perhaps means that it will start being produced soon. We just don’t know, but fingers crossed.
APSC 3D stereoscopic VR lens
Again, this is purely a concept model, so isn’t in production yet. The idea with this is to have a lower-cost stereoscopic lens for use with APSC sensors such as the EOS R7. The lens would function the same as the RF 5.2mm dual fisheye. However, it would work on the smaller, less expensive bodies. Presumably, the lens would also be cheaper.
This is great news for consumers wanting to make VR 180 videos. Currently, DIYP estimated that you need to spend around $10,000 to get the current system to work fluidly. Of course, any VR videos shot with an APSC camera will only be 4K resolution, just like the EOS R6II, which will now also work with the RF 5.2mm dual fisheye lens.
3D lens for spatial video
Apple has created a lot of hype around spatial video with their Vision Pro and iPhone15 capable of shooting it. It’s when you can see the image in 3D, but the image is only as large as the screen you’re viewing it on. So if you turn your head in a headset, you don’t see more of the image like you would with 180 or 360 video.
Because of this, the two lenses can be placed much closer together and the resulting image is usually higher quality. There has been some speculation that this prototype lens could be used for macro 3D videos and images, which would be very fun to transport viewers to a giant world. Again this is just a concept model, so we have no info on when or if this might go into manufacture.
As Hugh rightly states in the video, using any of these cameras and lenses will produce a far better quality video or image than anything shot on a phone, yes, even a swanky newest iPhone.
As yet, these are all concept models, and Canon is keeping its lips sealed about possible release dates. Still, the future of VR and 3D with Canon looks pretty bright!
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe