VR – everybody’s at it, it seems. From small dedicated startups to social media giants and games developers. And now camera manufacturer Canon has joined the virtual reality fray.
The company showed off an unnamed prototype headset at its 2015 Expo in New York, and it more closely resembles a periscope – or one of those Viewmaster 3D picture viewers from the 1970s – than a set of goggles. Check out those chunky handles, which are there so you can hold the headset up to your face.
On the tech front, the prototype uses a 5.5in 2.5K screen (2560 x 1440 resolution) for each eye, giving the wearer a 120-degree field of vision (and, we suppose, a 5K resolution in total). A clutch of sensors track its motion in 3D space, much like any other VR headset, allowing the user to watch 360-degree videos. These videos, or at least the ones Canon is using in its demo, are recorded by special multi-camera rigs (either seven Canon EOS 6D DSLRs or 24 Vixia Mini X camcorders) and played back at an astonishing resolution of 56000 x 28000. Although you’re obviously only going to be looking at a small part of that at any one time.
Popular Science were at the Canon Expo and had a chance to try the demo unit headset. Calling the headset “sturdy” and easy to use, they felt the handle setup was absolutely fine for a five-minute movie (which was what Canon was showing). The movie shown put the viewer in front of Flamenco band which circled around the filming point, followed by looking up at a night sky, and apparently looked sharp and impressive, with no visible "joins".
The handle setup suggests that the headsets could be aimed at the educational or promotional markets rather than home use, but we should remember that it’s still a mere prototype and a lot can change between now and any launch. In fact, we don’t know that it’ll launch at all. Stay tuned for updates in the future.
[Image: Adorama Pro Twitter]