Canon PowerShot is making an unlikely comeback. First, after years of inactivity, Canon surprised us in May (2023) with a new vlogging compact camera – the Powershot V10. Now it looks like the camera giant was just getting started, and is already showing off a fascinating PowerShot V concept.
It’s exterior is similar to the PowerShot V10, but this time with twin back-to-back lenses, with the rear lens able to fold out to the front thanks to a hinged design. We’ve seen a design like this before in the Insta360 Evo – an all-in-one 180-degree 3D VR and 360-degree camera and one of the best 360-degree cameras available.
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Canon and the VR space
We don’t have any technical data for the new PowerShot concept, but based on the pictures it looks like the camera packs twin front and rear-facing fisheye lenses that each have a 180-degree (approximately) field of view; and that a hinge can swivel the rear lens out to the front.
In one configuration, the front and rear-facing fisheye lenses cover 360 degrees, while in a second setup, the rear camera sits alongside the front camera to form a stereoscopic camera that can record 180-degree 3D VR images, à la Insta360 Evo.
Canon is courting the VR space. Last year it launched a twin fisheye lens for 180-degree 3D VR that was primarily partnered with its full-frame mirrorless camera the EOS R5. The two lenses record to the left and right half of the EOS R5’s sensor, making two 4K images one for each eye of a VR headset, taken from the camera’s 8K video resolution.
If the concept camera costs around the same as the V10, we’d be surprised if it has a high-resolution sensor and 8K video recording. It’ll probably be the same 1-in sensor with 4K video as the V10, delivering a Full HD output for each eye. It could feature twin 4K-enabled sensors, but that seems unlikely given the design.
It would be great if each eye could enjoy 4K video either through a single 8K sensor or twin 4K sensors, but a 3D VR image in Full HD is most likely. Let’s wait and see.
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A new direction for Canon?
Canon’s apparent compact camera strategy makes a lot of sense: do cameras differently. The V10 takes on the Sony ZV-1 as one of the best vlogging cameras with an all-out vlogging design that strikes the right note, even if the technology inside is a little dated.
And there’s no way that regular point-and-shoot PowerShot compact cameras can compete with today’s smartphones, but a twin fisheye lens camera for mixed reality photos and videos you don’t have to strap to your face like the Apple Vision Pro? That’s a more viable alternative to what smartphones can offer in 2023.
There have also been rumors via Gizmochina about Canon collaborating with a smartphone manufacturer, too. In May 2022 Xiaomi and Leica announced their long-term partnership for mobile imaging and we’ve seen some mighty impressive Xiaomi cameras ever since, like in the Xiaomi 12S Ultra.
We don’t know which smartphone giant is cuddling up with Canon, or how that partnership will develop but it would mark a forward-thinking collaborative step for the traditionally closed-off camera giant.