Fujifilm Finepix REAL 3D W3 review
Review Date : Wed, 27 Oct 2010
Author : Mat Gallagher
The Fujifilm W3 is the second-generation 3D digital compact camera makes the world of digital 3D photography even more real
|Pros:||3.5in LCD screen, vast improvement over W1, realistic 3D images|
|Cons:||Holding-position, physical size, HD video quality|
This year, 3D has been big news, from films such as Avatar and Toy Story at the cinema, to the latest 3D TVs and home gaming. Wanting to capture images in 3D is a natural part of the 3D process and the Fujifilm W1 was the first consumer 3D digital camera to hit the market earlier this year. This, the Fujifilm W3, is the updated version that not only improves on the camera's still photo abilities but also adds 3D HD video capture to the mix. We put the new model to the test and see if it can finally bring 3D photography to the masses.
The W3 features dual lenses, placed at roughly an eye width apart, each with its own 10MP CCD sensor to capture the information separately. The lenses have a 3x optical zoom to an equivalent of 35-105mm at f/3.7-4.2 aperture, which gives you a reasonable range similar to a standard compact. The results are combined with the new Real Photo Processor 3DHD and saved as an MPO format file. A still image is also saved in JPEG format for regular 2D viewing at 3648 x 2736 pixels. Video is captured in 720p HD, using AVI format with a choice of either 3D-AVI or standard AVI, though no dual option here.
On the rear the camera features a new 3.5in 1150k dot lenticular LCD screen for true 3D viewing without the need for any special glasses. On the mode dial shooting modes include Manual, Aperture priority and Program modes, along side the advanced 3D, advanced 2D, Auto and Scene modes. ISO is selectable between 100 and 1600 or Auto modes limited to 400, 800 or 1600. The built-in flash offers red-eye reduction and slow sync options, and has a range of up to 3.6m (at ISO 800). In autofocus the camera adjusts the focal point of the two lenses so the 3D works to the greatest effect. For fine-tuning there is also a parallax adjustment rocker on the top of the camera.
The W3 looks in most parts like a standard digital compact camera, though slightly on the larger side. The front panel slides down to reveal the two lenses, flash and stereo microphones and also turns the camera on. The panel is heavy enough that it would be difficult to accidentally slide open inside your bag or pocket but still just about possible to open with one hand. The 3.5in screen takes up most of the room on the rear panel, leaving just enough space for a mode dial, d-pad controller, and four small function buttons to its right, which control most of the features. On the top of the camera, the shutter button is surrounded by a rocker switch to control the lens zoom, while a second rocker sits to the left to manually adjust the parallax alignment of the two lenses to adjust your 3D focus point. The W3 is slightly slimmer than the previous W1 model making it easier to handle, however it still feels quite large in the hand. Due to the dual lenses on the front, you may also need to adjust your holding position to avoid blocking one or both of the lenses with a finger which can ruin your final shots. With the effective grip then so far back on the camera it can become quite tricky to hold and doesn't feel especially secure in the hand.