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Watch this: How Canon's new 3D VR lens actually works

Canon RF 5.2mm F2.8L Dual Fisheye
(Image credit: Canon)

Canon's new 3D VR lens, the Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye, is a bit like The Matrix. Nobody can really be told what it is – you have to see it for yourself.

We can explain how the Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye is designed to work with the Canon EOS R5, how it's "the world’s first digital interchangeable lens that shoots stereoscopic 3D 180° VR to a single image sensor", how it uses a bespoke new EOS VR Utility app and EOS VR Plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro to streamline workflow… but you still kinda have to see it for yourself to truly understand.

• Read more: Best Canon RF lenses

Thankfully, Canon has released a video not just telling you about the tech, or explaining it, but showing you how it works and what it does. And you can see it for yourself below, to see exactly what this $1,999.00 / £2,099.99 / AU$3,849 lens will be capable of when it goes on sale in December. 

And here's the official Canon blurb, in case you need more information than the video offers:

The new RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens brings stereoscopic 3D virtual reality (VR) capture to the EOS R5 camera as part of the EOS VR System, which also includes a future firmware update for the EOS R5 camera to support use of this lens with new VR shooting specific functions, as well as new upcoming Canon EOS VR software solutions for conversion and processing. 

As the world’s first digital interchangeable dual fisheye lens capable of shooting stereoscopic 3D 180° VR imagery to a single image sensor the complexities of virtual reality production and the ability to view the content in full capacity are greatly streamlined for seasoned professionals and newcomers to the craft. 

In order to truly experience the captured content by this system in its truest form, a compatible VR headset is recommended for use such as the Oculus Quest 2, allowing the viewer to immerse themselves in the content — by simply moving their head to provide a vivid, incredibly wide view.

“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.”

(Image credit: Canon)

The RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye features 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. With a 190 degree field of view captured from two separate optical systems they deliver outstanding results for 180° VR viewing platforms. 

With subwavelength coating technology offering impressive flare control in backlit conditions, VR creators can have freedom to shoot regardless the time of day, or position of the sun. The dual fisheye design provides versatile exposure control with a maximum aperture of a bright f/2.8 to a deep depth of field of f/16 with electronically controlled apertures allowing the dual fisheye lens to operate just like other RF mount lenses. 

Between the dust and water-resistant sealing and fluorine coating of the lens and the robust build of the EOS R5 camera, this System delivers peace of mind even in challenging weather conditions. Canon’s free Camera Connect app and Canon’s EOS Utility program both will be updated in the future to offer remote-control live view functionality for monitoring purposes while on-the-go.

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. 

Canon is currently developing two paid subscription-based software solutions as available options for completing the post-production process. Canon’s EOS VR Utility will offer the ability to convert clips from dual fisheye image to equirectangular and make quick edits, as well as select the resolution and file format before export. With the EOS VR Plug-In for Adobe® Premiere® Pro, creators will be able to automatically convert footage to equirectangular, and cut, color, and add new dimension to stories with Adobe Creative Cloud® apps, including Premiere Pro.

Compact, lightweight, and portable, the RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye is easily packed in a camera bag to help the creator tell unlimited virtual reality stories.

Read more: 

Canon EOS R5 review
Best camera for real estate photography
Insta360 Evo review
Vuze XR review

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Phot0: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.