Fun with 3D

by valrac4_a3kqdy

“C’mere, look at this.”

“Ooooh, neat!”

That’s a typical interchange when I show someone Fujifilm’s latest 3D camera, the FinePix Real 3D W3. This is currently the coolest way to create and view 3D stills and movies.

The FinePix Real 3D W3 combines two digital camera subsystems — two 35-105 mm zoom lenses and two 10 megapixel image sensors — into a slim, pocketable housing. To create the stereo image pair required for 3D, the lenses are separated by approximately 17.5 mm. This is wider apart than a typical pair of human eyes, but the extra distance enhances the illusion of 3D depth.

On the back of the camera is a 3.5-inch widescreen display. One of the triumphs of this camera is that you can view 3D stills or video on the display without having to don 3D glasses. Thus the ooohs and aaahs at the beginning of this article — you can actually see the 3D, and the effect is startlingly good.

The 3D video is in a format that’s compatible with current 3D TV sets — you will need 3D glasses to see the effects properly. The still images are saved in MPO format, which essentially wraps a pair of stereoscopic JPEG images in a single file. There are MPO editors you can download which will create 3D image pairs, which can then be viewed without glasses — there are a couple of different formats and you either have to stare at the images until you can let each eye focus on the respective left or right image, or to opposite images in a cross-eyed technique (it takes some practice). You can also send the MPO images to Fujifilm, and they will prepare 3D prints using lenticular lens technology.

The camera has PASM exposure control, plus an auto mode. It will also work in 2D mode, and there are a couple of interesting things you can do here — for example, set the lenses at different focal lengths to capture a wide angle and telephoto shot at the same time, or set one sensor to B&W and the other to colour recording.

Fujifilm also sells an 3D viewer with an 8-inch screen, that allows you to view 3D without glasses.

Stay tuned for more details on this camera

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