The Fujifilm W3 is the second-generation 3D digital compact camera makes the world of digital 3D photography even more real
Performance and value
Compared to the first 3D model the W3 is a huge step forward. The auto parallax adjustment, that ensures the optimum 3D focus, works effortlessly with a half press of the shutter and in fairly rapid time, leaving the manual adjustment to only be required for creative effects. The rear LCD screen has also been vastly improved from the older version, making it much easier to see the 3D effect. Where previously it took a certain amount of careful angling, now the images pop out at you almost instantly, though the screen does suffer notably from reflections under brighter lighting.
The advanced 3D functions allow you to exaggerate the 3D effect by widening the distance between the lenses. This works by taking the two shots separately, either with a timer interval or two manual shots and is effective for macro shots or for long-distance scenes, such as from a car or plane window.
The advanced 2D modes really makes the most out of the dual lenses in a slightly different way, allowing you to use the two lenses almost independently. A range of effects is available from using a wide and a long zoom shot, or a processed black & white from one and standard shot from the second lens.
A range of scene modes are selectable for the usual array of photo types, plus there is a choice of manual creative shooting modes, including fully manual, aperture priority and program mode, though the aperture range is limited to just f/3.7-8, or f/4.2-9 and the long end of the zoom.
The addition of 3D HD video is also a huge bonus for the W3. It produces 720p 3D video and can be viewed directly on 3D TVs by plugging the camera via an HDMI 1.4 port. This makes the W3 currently the cheapest way to capture true 3D video, though the controls are a little basic and the processing does limit the final clarity of the results, irrelevant of the resolution.
One slight downside of the W3 is the close focus range, with a normal minimum of just 60cm and just 38mm in Macro, which seems quite limited but this is restricted by the dual lens set-up. It also, despite being thinner than the previous model, is still significantly larger and weightier than most standard digital compacts. Though it will still fit in a more generous pocket, you might think twice about carrying it around on an evening out unless you have a bag.
At £449 (RRP) the W3 is still not a cheap purchase in terms of regular digital compacts, but the price is already £50 less than the W1 on its launch and, for a 3D product, is one of the most affordable devices on the market. Browse online and prices vary from £379 all the way up to the full asking price depending on where you shop.
For such a new technology you expect to pay at least a slight premium and the W3 is now at a price that makes 3D photography within reach of the general consumer, rather than just the hardened gadget fan. Panasonic’s GH2 and G2 have a 3D-capable lens, though this full set up is much pricier and only produces 3MP images.