It's been over a year since Fujifilm released its first 3D camera, the Real 3D W1, which was revolutionary. For the first time the consumer could take 3D pictures easily using a fairly portable camera.
When we reviewed the Fujifilm Real 3D W1, while we applauded the concept and the quality of 3D images on the screen, the camera felt very much like a first generation product, with a few flaws. Namely because of the limited viewing options – you had to use a £300 picture viewer, the screen or buy lenticular prints.
Since then we’ve had a huge influx of 3D TVs, which while more expensive than a HD TV are affordable, putting 3D images and movies firmly in the reach of the consumer. Fujifilm’s adapted to this, by including an HDMI output on the camera, which means it will work with all 3D TVs.
Replicating the human eye, the 3D effect is created by dual lenses and dual 10-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CCDs. The camera takes two images, which are combined in-camera to take a 3D picture.
Fujifilm Real 3D W3: Build and screen
The Real 3D W3 is smaller and at 230g, it’s lighter than its predecessor, making it instantly more portable. Fujifilm’s retained the lens cover you snap down to take a photo.
Boosted from 2.8in to 3.5in, with a resolution of 1,150,000 dots, the screen is drastically better, it’s very bright and sharp and colours look great. As before, the lenticular coating means you can view your 3D images without using glasses.
The shutter is fairly quick, but you need to be careful that your finger doesn’t stray into the lens view. Sometimes the two images don’t line up and have to correct them manually using the parallax control on the top plate. Alternatively you can also select auto parallax control, but we found there was still the odd occasion where we needed to adjut it manually. We should point out that you have to shoot in landscape format for 3D images.
3D images look really impressive when viewed on the screen. Obviously a lot of it depends on getting an effective 3D subject, but with a bit of practice with depth of field, the 3D W3 makes it very simple to create eye-popping images. They’re shot in MP0 format, which means they are compatible with all 3D TVs, and its here they show off the 3D effect best.
Fujifilm Real 3D W3: Movie mode and 3D pictures
Pop the camera into movie mode and you can also capture 720p HD 3D Movies. The zoom doesn’t work though, so you need to adjust it before you start shooting. We have to say, 3D video isn’t as immediately satisfying as still images, and in terms of quality we've seen better 3D movies. It’s certainly not always smooth and a bit blocky. We should also point out that capturing good 3D movies is a lot harder than still images and does take some practice.
The screen is a bit small for playing back videos, so to do the camera justice again, you really need to hook it up to a 3D TV. 3D movies are shot in AVI format with 3D support, transfer them to a computer and you can still play them back on a computer, but with the view from one lens.
2D images are good rather than outstanding; detail is a bit soft and examined closely it can look over processed. Two lenses give you an advantage when taking 2D images as well, A2D mode enabling you to take wide and close images simultaneously.
Fujifilm Real 3D W3: Conclusion
We’re really impressed with the Fujifilm Real 3D W3, not only is it more compact so more convenient to carry around, but the addition of the HDMI connector means you can easily share those 3D images and video to any 3D TV.
But of course you need a 3D TV to get the best of the camera and they aren’t cheap. And if you’re not amazingly bothered about 3D, it is expensive - there are far 2D better cameras out there that cost less such as the Canon PowerShot S95. However, for an affordable way of capturing 3D images the Fujifilm Real 3D W3 is well worth a look.