Apple Promoted a New Dual-Optic Canon RF Lens Coming This Year

A Canon EOS R7 camera with an RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM lens attached, displayed on a white background. The camera body is black and has a textured grip on the right side. The Canon logo is visible on the top of the camera.

Today at WWDC, Apple announced Vision OS 2 for the Vision Pro headset which brings an update to Photos, updates to gesture controls, and a push for more immersive video content. Surprisingly, it also included a look at a new dual-lens Canon optic for APS-C cameras.

Apple is pushing immersive video harder. In addition to the ability to capture immersive video using an iPhone, which has been an option since the Vision Pro launched, Apple is also promoting additional ways to capture content. During the presentation, Apple promoted a new lens for Canon cameras — an RF-S 7.8mm f/4 STM — that can capture video and, when combined with Vimeo, allows immersive video to be viewed on Apple Vision Pro. The two lenses appear to mimic the distance between lenses on the back of an iPhone, showing that Canon likely developed this lens to work specifically for Apple Vision Pro immersive content.

The lens appears attached to an EOS R7, indicating that it is likely designed to be used with APS-C cameras, although this is unconfirmed. This ecosystem of hardware and software will be fully rolled out by the end of the year.

The company is also promoting new examples of immersive video content, including a video produced in concert with Red Bull, that will — hopefully — inspire creators to make more content for Vision Pro.

Beyond that, Vision OS 2 is bringing additional updates. For photos, Apple is adding a way to turn existing 2D photos into dynamic Spatial Photos. Using machine learning, the Vision Pro will analyze a photo and add left and right eye views to what was a static, 2D image. That creates a spatial photo with depth that can be viewed in Vision Pro.

A virtual screen displays a photo of a man lifting a woman into the air, both smiling, in a field of flowers. The screen shows the date "April 18, 2023" and location "Santa Margarita." The scene is set in a modern living room with minimalist decor.

Apple is also making it easier to use Vision Pro to look through photo libraries together with Share Play inside of the photos App. The company says that it will be akin to going through a photo book with a person right beside you, even if they’re thousands of miles away.

Vision OS 2 also makes slight enhancements to the gesture controls for navigating Vision Pro and Virtual Display with a Mac computer is getting updated later this year to offer both wide and ultra-wide support, the latter of which is equivalent to two 4K monitors side by side.

A computer monitor displays multiple windows showcasing video editing software with color correction panels, a visual preview of a woman in a mirror, timeline editing tools, and project file folders. The screen is on a desk with a keyboard and a blurred background.

Train support is coming to Travel Mode as well, although it’s not clear how different that is from using it on an airplane.

A graphical interface with a central "visionOS" logo surrounded by features like Volumetric APIs, TabletopKit, Travel Mode on trains, HealthKit, and new gestures, among others. Icons represent each feature, showcasing the capabilities of visionOS.

These updates are coming as part of Vision OS 2 which will launch later this year. The Vision Pro is also being made available in more countries starting June 28 in Japan and China.

Canon is Taking VR and Immersive Content Seriously

Earlier this year, Canon said that it would respond to trends it was seeing in the VR and immersive content space.

“Taking a look at the trends in the market from last year to this year, I can say that firsthand I am seeing a surge in the demand for VR. So I think definitely the demand will increase for 3D, VR, and AR,” Tetsuji Kiyomi, Advisory Director and Unit Executive within the Image Communication Business Operations at Canon, told PetaPixel in February.

“The VR market itself has been expanding even before Apple launched its Vision Pro,” Go Tokura, Senior Managing Executive Officer and Deputy Head of the Imaging Group at Canon, added. “But by doing so, I think it is going to be another push to expand this market. And because the Vision Pro’s resolution is extremely high, what we are hearing is that currently it might be difficult to find a VR system which has enough resolution for Vision Pro.”

At the time, Canon’s executives said that there was no single camera solution that could capture content at a high enough resolution to take full advantage of Apple’s headset.

“In order to reproduce video for Vision Pro, you need to have at least 100 megapixels,” Yasuhiko Shiomi, Advisory Director and Unit Executive of the Image Communication Business Operations at Canon, said.

“So at the moment, we can’t cater to that level of a requirement. But what I presume what companies who will be providing images for the Vision Pro will be required to have 100 megapixels with 60 frames per second.”

Its inability to get to the maximum resolution clearly has not stopped it from making hardware designed for Apple’s Vision Pro, though. While no details were provided on the RF-S 7.8mm f/4 STM Dual Lens optic Apple teased today, its unlikely to provide more resolution than the existing 5.2mm f/2.8 L lens. Right now, both Canon and Apple are signaling that content — any content — is more valuable than only the best-looking content.

Image credits: Apple