Canon's future plans for VR: new compact camera, lens compatibility and VR live streaming
At the recent VR conference in Amsterdam, DeoVR learned exciting news about Canon's future plans for VR, with details about new cameras, more compatibility with the RF 5.2 lens, and the ability to stream VR footage.
New compact VR camera: 360/180 hybrid
One of the most exciting pieces of news is evidence of the new VR concept camera. Information is limited, but this new camera can deliver 8K 30FPS or 4K 120FPS and live streaming. It’s described as a “capable of shooting both 360/180 3D VR images and video”, as well as being compact, lightweight and simple to use. The image above shows the camera at the Canon stall.
It doesn't have a name but is a 360 and 180 VR camera hybrid. Folded, it will work as a 360 camera with two 180 lenses on opposite sides capturing everything in view, spherically. When unfolded, the two lenses will be side-by-side. It looks similar to the Insta360 EVO, which records 360 footage when folded and 3D content when unfolded.
We have no news on price yet, but it seems to be the first Canon VR product targeted at the consumer market, while Canon's previous devices were aimed at professionals. Some commentators are understandably excited, saying if the price is kept low, then it could be the first VR180 camera to go mainstream.
Looking more closely, the device’s relatively small size, and lack of 8K 60FPS suggests that the compact size means it will overheat if recording VR footage of that quality. However, 6K at 60FPS seems possible - we will update when we have further information.
Canon VR lens compatible with more cameras
We also learned that the Canon EOS R6 Mark II is compatible with the RF 5.2mm dual fisheye lens. That's big news because previously, the only camera bodies the lens worked with were the R5 and R5C, both costing around $4000. The R6 Mk II, however, costs just $2499, making top-quality VR accessible to more people.
However, it's worth noting that this rig can only record 4K quality resolution, which lags behind current VR standards. It could be useful for beginners, as it records 60FPS, but the costs of both camera and lens means there are more affordable options for those looking to start creating VR videos.
It seems live streaming VR 180 content is a priority for Canon, with a panel explaining a conceptual solution using the EOS R5C. This explains: “As proof of concept, a prototype Canon drive is used with UNITY to enable a real-time conversion of a video output from the EOS R5 C. The output could then be sent as a live stream to a mass audience for live events or to users across the globe for live training.” The specs given are:
- HDMI output from a supported Canon EOS camera with the RF 5.2mm F2.8L Dual fisheye lens
- Up to 4K / 60P
- Prototype Canon driver
- UNITY application support
It's worth noting that this is still in the prototype phase and is only available in 4K for now. However, this feature would be enormously popular for streaming sports events and live music performances and VR tech is progressing fast, so we expect this to be implemented within the next six months.
Keep checking back for the latest news about this key development in VR. Live streaming VR is a major priority for DeoVR - you can read more about live streaming VR in our dedicated 8K livestreaming VR article at the DeoVR blog.