“A powerful 3D lens for an already powerful 2D camera.”
I bet you’re just as baffled as I am by Canon’s new RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye Lens. It almost looks anthropomorphic, with the way both eyes look at you, but actually what’s really wonderful is where Canon seems to be going with its cameras. DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are already some of the most powerful shooters out there, and rather than ditch that whole camera ecosystem and move on to new camera types – like drones and camcorders AR/VR, Canon has just adopted a good old-fashioned innovation instead, with a state-of-the-art lens compatible with their existing EOS camera range. The lens, when paired with the company’s 1.5.0 firmware update, enables the humble but capable 2D camera to shoot SBS 3D content. Pair the lens with the EOS R5 mirrorless camera and you can suddenly perform high resolution video recording up to 8K DCI 30p and 4K DCI 60p.
This strange but beautiful lens opens up a whole new dimension to photography. Simply snap it onto the EOS R5 and the lenses use a complex internal optical arrangement to record SBS content onto a single full-frame image sensor. When paired with the right firmware, video content is automatically split, synced, stitched and transformed into 3D VR videos that can be directly exported using Canon’s own software.
Both lenses provide a 190° field of view and are spaced 60mm apart to resemble human pupillary distance, which makes VR content believable and also has the right amount of parallax. Focus for both lenses is controlled by a single ring, although minor changes to the focus of individual lenses can be made using hidden adjustment dials on the left and right sides of the lens body. ‘goal.
It’s wonderful and unobtrusive what the RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye Lens does not just for Canon, but for photography in general. It shouldn’t be long before other companies like Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm start introducing lenses that allow you to record two channels of video content using a single sensor. Arguably the sensor should be big enough to accommodate both channels and to ensure your videos are high enough resolution, but what Canon has unleashed on the camera and the VR world is just the start. That being said, this lens was designed for a special subset of users (with deep pockets) and doesn’t come cheap. The fisheye VR dual lens sports a hefty price tag of US$1,999 and is expected to go on sale in December this year. That rules out the fact that you also need a $3,899.00 EOS R5 camera to match.