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APS-C VR180: Canon’s new 3.9mm Dual Fisheye lens for R7 (UPDATED SAMPLE!)

Canon Dual Fisheye 3.9mm for Canon R7

Canon announced a new VR180 dual fisheye lens for the APS-C sensor size Canon R7.  Find out more and take a look at sample videos. (UPDATE: I posted a new sample because the original sample was taken offline by Canon.)

The combo of both the lens and camera is available for about $2,600:

By comparison the Canon R5 is $3,899 by itself and the Dual Fisheye 5.2mm is $1,999.

Canon R7 and Canon Dual Fisheye 3.9mm VR180 sample:

Here is a sample VR180 video, as well as some preview videos by Canon, B&H Photo and others (click on the upper right corner to see the rest of the playlist).  UPDATE: Canon deleted the original sample video and posted a new one:

If you want to watch this video on Quest or other VR headsets, here’s how.

Of course, the image quality isn’t as good as the R5 with Dual Fisheye 5.2mm because each eye sees less than half of the R7’s APS-C size sensor.  Nonetheless, the difference in image quality is not as large as you might expect.  I believe this is because the new 3.9mm lens has a smaller 144-degree field of view, which enables the R7 to use more pixels per degree than a hypothetical equivalent VR180 with 180 degree FOV.  UDPATE: Canon confirmed that higher pixel density was one of the design goals.

If you want this level of detail but you have a much smaller budget, I suggest checking out 3D cameras such as Acer SpatialLabs Eyes and Qoocam Ego.  They’re not VR180 but they still look pretty good in a VR headset, in my opinion.

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Mic Ty


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  • Hi Mic. Thanks for the article. I can’t find the sample VR180 video you mentioned. Where can we download it? Thanks!

  • Closer but no cigar. CALF also does 180 3D fairly well. 144 degrees is a good move, but a dual zoom lens to properly frame the 3D and make actual 3D movie content rather than the obsession with making 180 3D content for goggles. We need 3D SCREENS, not goggles. We will have to wait until people figure out that wearing a TV on your head is not as comfortable and sitting and watching a screen.

    JVC GS-TD1 and JVC GY-HMZ1U both got it right ten years ago, the problem is it’s 1080 not 4K or 8K. Zoom lens, stabilization, auto focus and auto parallax made it a great camera to shoot with. It would be great if JVC updated that concept.

    The lenses were closer together which makes for BETTER 3D.

  • Isn’t it still cheaper to buy two GoPros and a frame to space them apart? I guess the quality would still be better

  • So, the best I get is an SBS video in 3840×1920 30fps with 144 FOV ?
    I sold my insta360 EVO some years ago and it was better than that.
    I am still waiting for the Canon EVO-Like VR180 consumer camera, to make video for my Quest 3. Acer Spatiallabs and Qoocam EGO do not work for that, and 3D on TV set is dead now. I had a 3D LG TV with passive glasses. Not bad. But right now, how many TV models like that can you buy ?

    • “So, the best I get is an SBS video in 3840×1920 30fps with 144 FOV ?”

      Yes, you’ll get SBS in 3840×1920 (after equirectangular conversion, cropping and up-scaling in EOS VR Utility app) per eye projected into 144 degrees FOV, and the additional fill into full VR180 sphere with black space. That video can be either 29.97 fps (when originally recorded as 4K UHD Fine, from oversampled 7K), or 59.94 fps (when originally recorded as 4K UHD). Because the original video image content will be spread only across 144 degrees when viewed in VR headset, that video effective visual quality perception may actually look even better than any known so far 6K VR video examples (read my other comment below).

      • … sorry, definitely not “per eye projected into 144 degrees FOV”. Delete “per eye” in that sentence (it’s a mistaken leftover from my earlier different attempt of describing it).

  • 4k 30fps is not enough for VR180
    Or even VR144. Really we should be able to get 1inch sensor 8k 60/90fps VR180 Camera for around 1k, there is a market for it. This lens + camera combo is not it. Very disappointing

    • People want 8K 60/90fps VR180 Camera for around $1K … that may be possible in 5 years. Present day photo equipment for such performance costs way over $15K. The existing pro-summer level setup that produces 8K 30fps VR180 video is Canon R5 body with dual fisheye 5.2mm lens (for $5.5K), and even that is a struggle, because R5 overheats and shuts down after about 15 minutes of recording (R5C cam can record longer because it has a built-in forced air cooling). R5 video footage can be in RAW format or in MP4 contained with H.265 encoding, and that output has over 800 Mbps bit rate (to record that you also need expensive V60 rated SD cards). Try to accomplish that with a pocket-sized camera. Some companies may claim that their cameras will record 8K with 60fps refresh, but the question is with what bit rate. Any bit rate slower than 500 Mbps will be lacking a fine detail resolution, and may even look softer than high bit rate 4K recording.

      • Some time ago I downloaded two “x” videos. One was 7680×3840 80 Mbps and the other 8192×4096 90 Mbps, both at 60fps. These VR180 videos viewed in a Meta Quest 3 had great sharpness and detail even at this “low” bitrate. I don’t know which camera or post-processing they used, but I will be incredibly happy to obtain the same result for my vacation videos…..

        • Many people are also happy with a video footage from long time ago discontinued folding insta360 180/360 Evo camera. There are lots of clips from this cam on YouTube. For me those movies looks horribly mushy when viewed in Quest3. True, this kind of vacation vlog is obviously better than nothing. I personally would prefer to have a better resolution than a higher frame rate. But different people have different priorities, and I respect that.

          Heck, even when it comes to VR180 photos, I can barely accept the max quality output from the existing Canon VR180 rig (R5 plus dual fishey 5.2 mm lens). Those photos look so darn soft in comparison, when they are mixed in immerGallery media viewer app with 2D panoramas made by even the most basic smartphones. Even though R5 has a 45 MP sensor, after equirectangular projection and cropping, the effective final VR180 image output resolution is most likely about 12 MP per eye. When you stretch that image across 180 degrees viewing sphere in VR headset, the image details and sharpness are no longer there.

          For Canon dual fisheye lens configurations, to get better VR image quality, we need higher resolution mirrorless camera bodies, either R5 MII with 100 MP full frame sensor (for exiting 5.2 mm dual lens with 180 deg FOV), or R7 MII with at least 60 MP APS-C sensor (for this newly announced 3.9 mm dual lens with 144 deg FOV).

          The big hope is that Canon will deliver a good replacement for Evo camera, and will finally release its folding 360/180 model. If it’s based on V10 h/w (but with two 1″ sensors and with at least 20 MP resolution per lens, preferably in square 1:1 shape, so the VR image circle covers most of the sensor surface with as few as possible dark pixels), then we will have a VR camera able to record a decent quality VR footage.

  • When used with the R7, is that 4K per eye for Video or 4K total (2k per eye)? What about the Photos?

    • From Canon specs: the max video resolution that R7 can record is 4K UHD (Fine)
      (from oversampled 7K) with 29.97 fps, or 4K UHD with 59.94 fps. This is for a regular 2D footage.

      When a dual fishey lens is attached to R7, then its sensor is shared between two image circles. In that optical configuration there are lots of unused/dark pixels on camera image sensor, so you already get quite less than 2K per eye. Than this footage needs to be processed by Canon EOS VR Utility application. This does equirectangular projection, cropping the peripheries with too much optical distortion and whatever is left is then up-scaled to 2K per eye (SBS, 4K left & right views combined) output. That’s too little. 6K VR videos are barely tolerable, at least in my opinion. Even 8K video from existing R5 VR180 rig option looks quite soft.

      When it comes to VR photos with this dual 3.9 mm lens, R7 sensor with 6960×4640 resolution will produce about 3200×3200 pixels per image circle, then after equirectangular conversion, cropping and up-scaling you’ll get 7K SBS image output from EOS VR Utility app..

      • … on a second thought, I start suspecting that the 4K VR video output from this R7 rig may look as good (or even better) as 6K VR video from other existing VR180 cameras. The reason for this optimism is that this 3.9 mm dual fisheye lens has only 144 degrees FOV. When viewed in VR headsets, this 144 FOV footage will not be projected to full 180 degrees sphere, but to its original 144 degrees surface, with the rest of 180 degrees FOV being filled with black space. Even though R7 produces less pixels per view, those pixels will be less spread, only across 144 degrees, so the final visual resolution perception may be acceptable. Also taking into account that the optics in Canon lenses designed for mirrorless camera bodies is often much better then in lower end pocket cameras, we may expect a better looking VR results than in so far existing 6K video examples.

        • Hugh Hou already published his initial hands-on with this lens (and the image quality from it doesn’t look as good as I was hoping):

      • I read somewhere the comparison calculations for Canon VR rigs working in photo mode:
        1. R7 with 32.5 MP resolution yields 21.05 pixels per degree with 144 FOV lens.
        2. R5 with 45 MP resolution yields 20.45 pixels per degree with 190 FOV lens.

        So the effective angular resolving power of both rigs is almost identical. The main difference is that you’ll be seeing less of the peripheral view when watching content from R7 VR rig. Maybe less looking around is a good thing after all, because the extreme peripheral views from R5 are quite distorted (they really strain your eyes) and there is almost no 3D effect there either.