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The Weird Canon R5 VR Lens Might Be Brilliant

Canon's announcement of their newest RF lens has pricked up a lot of ears in curiosity. Is this new lens going to be brilliant, or is it too niche to succeed?

If there's one thing I love in photography, it's strange and unusual lenses and cameras. Sometimes, I'll just buy one to own it, even if I have no real intention of using it. That of course has a rather low budget cap and Canon's announcement far exceeds it, and yet I'm so curious to try it.

The Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye 3D VR lens is the latest RF-mount lens and it's turning heads. As you can see, the lens is aimed at stereoscopic 3D 180-degree VR imagery. VR has been tipped to be the next big thing in photography and videography for well over a decade at this point, and while it has failed to secure such an illustrious title, it certainly hasn't failed and fallen away either. I tried a VR headset when they were just emerging and was optimistic for its future, but wholly unmoved for its present. Then, last year, I tried a newer VR headset and realized we're far closer to it being a common way to consume all types of visual media than I thought.

It is still undoubtedly a niche area, but it's interesting that Canon is catering to it. The research and development of a lens like this can't be cheap, and given it's an L lens at $1,999, Canon presumably believes there is a future for the technology and they would like to have a staple piece of equipment for it. 

Robert K Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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Canon is on the cutting edge.
This gives them experience ahead of the competition.
Also they are making RF mount video cameras and most likely with 8K and support for this lens.
So it is a brilliant move and will be usable with several cameras besides the R5 test bed.

It will certainly be interesting to see where the future of VR goes. In its current state I can't imagine making VR content due to the low resolution nature of VR headsets (at least the affordable ones). Most people don't own vr headsets either, and consuming VR content just doesn't strike me as a pleasant experience.
That said, it's awesome that Canon is giving us the tools to make good content to begin with.

If it'll require special glasses or goggles or screen to view the content, I predict it'll fail.

I have a dual fisheye lens for VR from Entanyia and they are phenomenal if VR is your thing. I pre-ordered the new one for my Sony A1 as it wasn't compatible with RF cameras. I use 2 R5s daily but my R3 will be here in November so I can now have an R5 purely for VR with this lens, and the A1 for a mix.

I do a ton of VR stuff for clients so I am looking forward to how the new canon software works out but even if it does turn out a buggy mess my workflow in Adobe, Davinchi and a few plugins work perfect.

"from Entanyia"

Damn you, I'm so jealous.