Fujifilm W3: world's first compact camera capable of shooting 3D high definition video
By Paul Ridden
August 19, 2010
It's been just over a year since Fujifilm went three dimensional with the release of its FinePix Real 3D camera, the W1. Now the company has announced its second 3D compact camera, the Finepix REAL 3D W3. Although it inherits some of the feature set from its predecessor, the W3 gets a larger LCD display and now records video in high definition, albeit at 720p. Fujifilm has also thrown in stereo sound recording for good measure.
3D has come a long way since Fujifilm brought its W1 compact camera to the market. Consumers are now being offered a multitude of different ways to enjoy the three dimensional experience, with and without those geeky glasses. We also now expect our visual enjoyment to be in glorious high definition, something which was sadly lacking in the W1. Happily, Fujifilm has now put that right with the unveiling of the Finepix REAL 3D W3.
Not only does the 4.9 x 2.6 x 1.1/0.8 inch (124 x 65.9 x 27.8/21 mm) W3 now record video at up to 720p high definition at 24 frames per second, but it also includes a handy HDMI-out port for onward transmission to a 3D HD television, and audio is now captured by stereo microphones "to preserve its original impact." All of the high def action can be now viewed on a bigger 3.5 inch LCD display offering a resolution of over a million dots. The autostereoscopic 3D widescreen display allows viewing of 3D stills and movies using rows of convex lenses to create binocular parallax 3D images with reduced cross-talk and flicker – so no glasses needed.
There's also a High Luminosity Mode where users benefit from displayed images that are 1.5 times brighter and have 1.8 times deeper colors than in standard mode. Photo stills are captured using the newly developed RP (Real Photo) Processor 3D HD, which merges the left and right images into a single image.
Fujifilm has retained the dual 10 megapixel 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor technology and the pair of Fujinon 6.3 to 18.9mm (35 to 105mm equivalent) 3x optical zoom lenses seen in the W1. The lenses are spaced roughly the same distance apart as a pair of human eyes, some 2.95 inches (75mm). It's the slight difference between the left and right stills or video that helps to recreate the sense of depth when the two images are merged into one.
Elsewhere, the W3 features a 3D Auto function which is said to make capturing high resolution 3D images a fairly effortless affair, automatically adjusting the parallax control for an optimal sense of depth. For those who like to take control, there's also a manual mode via the parallax control lever to the top of the camera. Its ISO sensitivity range runs from ISO100 to ISO1600 and it can handle two frames per second continuous shooting in 3D mode, and three in high speed 2D mode.
Advanced modes include the ability to take two shots of the same subject from different positions and then allow the processor to merge the shots into a single, enhanced 3D image. In 2D mode, both lenses and sensors can be used to capture subjects at different zoom ranges simultaneously, should you need a scenic shot and a close up at the same time.
The W3 benefits from a rigid stainless steel construction in matte black finish, is SD/SDHC compatible and includes USB 2.0 connectivity. Its Lithium-ion battery should be good for around 150 3D shots if power save mode is engaged. The horizontal lens cover also serves as the on/off switch. There's an included editing suite in the form of MyFinePix Studio 3D Movie and Photo Editor. Fujifilm also offers an online photo printing, gifting, and sharing service at SeeHere.com, where lenticular technology is integrated into the printing process and is said to produce "stunning high quality 3D images with tremendous depth and detail."
The Finepix REAL 3D W3 will be available in early September 2010 at a retail price of US$499.95