A comparison of inexpensive, consumer level 3D cameras in terms of the specifications that matter for 3D photography and video. There are other cameras besides these but these are affordable and available from many vendors. Another day I will look in to specifications of higher end cameras, such as the Sony TD10/TD20 3D video cameras.
Update: Since posting this item it appears that most of these cameras are in the process of being discontinued and you can find some great half price deals right now. It is likely that new 3D cameras will be introduced in a few weeks at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.
|Fujifilm W3||Lumix 3D1||Toshiba Camileo Z100|
|Stereobase||6.5 cm||3.0 cm||3.0 cm|
|Focal length||35-105mm 35mm equivalent||25-100mm 35mm equivalent||Fixed lens, 4x digital zoom in 3D, 35mm equivalent unknown|
|Stills||2x 10.0 MP Sensor3D Resolution
7.2 MP in 16:9 ratio
8.9 MP in 3:2 ratio
10.0 MP in 4:3 ratio
Stills recorded in full size side by side MPO format
|2x 12 MP Sensor3D Resolution
6 MP @ 16:9
8 MP @ 4:3
Stills recorded as full size
|2x 5 MP sensor3D Resolution
4 MP @ 16:9
(2D 5M 2592 x 1944, and an “interpolated” 16 MP 4608×3456)
Stills recorded in full side-by-side JPEG
MP4 encoding3D HD Resolution
two separate video streams recorded as 1280×720/24p for left
1280×720/24p for rightEncoding
AVCHD or MJPEG
in either AVCHD or MP4. Sensor is progressive but video is encoded as 1080i – end result is basically the same as 30p.
AVCHD or MP43D Resolution
960 x 1080 for left
960 x 1080 for right
MP4 encoding,3D file format is one half side-by-side formatmeaning 960×1080 for each halfFeatures external mic input plug
|LCD||Glasses free 3D||2D only||Glasses free 3D|
|Image stabilization||No, CCD imager||Yes, CMOS imager||No, CMOS|
|Battery||user replaceable||user replaceable||user replaceable|
|Sony Bloggie 3D|
|Focal length||16:9 stills and video: 47mm (35mm camera equivalent)
4:3 41mm (35mm equivalent)
|Stills||2x 5.15 MP sensor
(3.1 MP @ 16:9)
(5 MP S 4:3)3D
2 MP (1920x1080x)Encoded as full size MPO side by side images
3D: 1080/30p onlyEncoding
MP4Encoded in half size side-by-side 3D format for 960 x 1080 resolution per side
|LCD||Glasses free 3D|
|Image stabilization||Yes, CMOS imager|
|Battery||internal, not replaceable|
An interesting observation – some of these cameras have 1920×1080 image sensors but actually cut the image in half when encoded into video. The reality is they are not 1920×1080 but 960 x 1080 x 2.
In addition, the frame rate offers additional temporal resolution.
Let’s compare the image quality in terms of actual resolution, as well as resolution in time by calculating a “mega pixels per minute” rate:
- Fujifilm W3: 1280 x 720 x 2 x 24 fps = 44.2 MP/minute
- Lumix 3D1: 960 x 1080 x 2 x 30 fps = 62 MP / minute
- Toshiba Z100: 960 x 1080 x 2 x 30 fps = 62 MP / minute
- Sony Bloggie 3D: 960 x 1080 x 2 x 30 fps = 62 MP / minute
- Generic 1280 x 720 x 30 fps = 55 MP / minute
- Generic 1280 x 720 x 60 fps = 110 MP / minute
Interestingly, depending on many factors, your highest image quality might come from 720 x 60 fps because it delivers more potential information to your eyes over time.
Shooting 3D with my two Kodak Playsport Zx3 cameras, I think the 720/60p dual camera view looks on par with the 1080p/30p view. But that is also because after editing and 3D processing, the output of a 1080p video often ends up as a 960x1080p side by side video (as needed, for example, to upload to Youtube).
Figuring out which is best can get complicated!