Spearheading the 3D charge in the camera world is FujiFilm, who, in a couple of days, will be debuting their Real 3D W3 digital camera.
FujiFilm was kind enough to allow us some hands-on time with the camera, and we're fairly impressed with its capabilities. Before we get down to initial impressions, let's take a quick look at the type of tech you'll be using if you choose to make the jump into the world of 3D photography.
From the outside, the W3 looks like your standard point and shoot affair. It's stats on paper are also quite normal--a 10MP sensor with a 3X optical zoom capability that can take both stills and high definition video in 720P. But, look a little closer, and you'll notice something a little peculiar. Is that...two lenses?
Well, yeah, this is 3D right? But the addition of two lenses can do more than make 3D images--you can calibrate each of the lenses to shoot from different perspectives (take a wide shot and a standard shot simultaneously, for example), at different settings (take two images simultaneously with different ISO or shutter settings) and switch easily between shooting in 2D and 3D with the press of a button. If you're shooting video in 3D, you'll be able to play them back on the 3.5" Autostereoscopic 3D LCD on the back of the camera. That's right, like Nintendos new 3DS, you're not going to need a hoaky set of glasses to look at the screen.
You will, however, need a 3D television and glasses if you're planning to watch your 3D movies on your flatscreen, which is easily done thanks to the equipped Mini HDMI port built into the camera. We were shown a couple of sample videos taken using the W3 and I was pretty impressed with the picture quality and color density--there was one particular video of a little girl blowing bubbles that was pretty mind blowing in 3D.
FujiFilm is also working on an interesting new print service that'll allow you to upload your 3D images to seehere.com, and have 3D prints made for $6.99 a piece. The 5"X7" sample prints I were shown varied in 3D sophistication--the ones that really stood out had subjects in the immediate foreground that really helped give a sense of depth to the shot.
It'll be interesting to see where this goes, or if it catches on. Are there enough 3D consumers out there presently who feel the need for a 3D camera? What excites us the most is the implementation of a 3D screen that doesn't require glasses, but I wasn't given enough time to gauge whether or not its as sharp and eye popping as a glasses set up. More to come when we get a copy for an official review, but call us cautiously excited for now.