Simple 3D shooting at a reasonable price
A few months ago we got a sneak peak of the technology behind the Panasonic HDC-SDT750, the world's first consumer 3D camcorder, in the shape of a customised version of the SD600. At IFA 2010 Panasonic has been showing the real device and giving more information about how it works.
When you pick up the HDC-SDT750 it's surprising how light it feels. Even with the large 3D lens, it's feels manageable enough to use for prolonged periods.
Remove the lens and it looks like a normal camcorder, and it is in fact based around Panasonic's range-topping 700 series, with a manual focus ring for 2D mode. There's been talk online as to whether existing Panasonic camcorders will be able to 'become' 3D simply by adding the 3D lens and upgrading the firmware. We spoke to Panasonic's representative who confirmed it isn't possible because the HDC-SDT750 has a new image processor. This is also designed to bring enhanced 2D low-light performance, making - according to Panasonic - it's best 2D camcorder too.
The moment the lens is fitted to the HDC-SDT750's body it activates 3D mode by default. The optical zoom doesn't work, so the lens remains fixed at 58mm. Manual funtions are limited too (there's no manual focus of course), although you can adjust features like white balance. While this does mean there's less flexibility for creative control than 2D shooting, but it also means 3D video is within the reach of people of all abilities.
Despite shooting in 3D using dual lenses, the image you see in the viewfinder is of the left eye, far simpler than having to line up the images like with the Fuji 3D W1 stills camera.
Transfer pictures to a TV via HDMI (where you can choose between 2D and 3D output) or via SD card, 3D movies are recorded in AVCHD format, which Panasonic assures T3 should work with any branded 3D TV - not just a Viera. Company's like Magix are annoucing 3D video editing software too, so you'll also be able to edit your footage.
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Panasonic had a series of demonstrations to try out the technolgy. The HDC-SDT750 was set up to film you, while attached to a Viera plasma, so you could pop on some 3D glasses and see yourself in 3D. The 3D effect worked well and we were impressed, although until we try the camcorder out at a series of different locations, it's hard to say and without any competition, it's also unfair to compare it to a professional camcorder.
Panasonic has confirmed the HDC-SDT750 will be available in October for £1499.99. Our overriding impression of the HDC-SDT750 is that it's simple enough for everyone to use, and comes at a price we still don't think is drastically expensive considering the functionality it offers. We'll bring you a full review as soon as possible.