In the last two weeks, many 3D cameras have been marked as discontinued or their price has been slashed, suggesting they are being discontinued, or their availability has been sharply curtailed.
It is likely that vendors are clearing out inventory the week before Christmas in anticipation of announcing new 3D cameras at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show during the 2nd week of January.
B&H Photo has marked the Fujifilm Finepix 3D W3 camera as “discontinued”; Walmart.com says the same thing. I own this camera and find it a lot of fun for shooting quick 3D stills. A lot easier than my dual camera setups!
Amazon has marked the dual lens, dual camera 3D Toshiba video camera down to $159.95; B&H was at $149.95: Toshiba Camileo Z100 3D Digital Camcorder Camileo Z100
That is a remarkable price for a stereoscopic 3D video camera recording dual video channels (at 960×1080) – and amazingly, the Z100 includes an external mic input too. Main drawback is lack of image stabilization to control for shaky handheld shots.
The Panasonic Lumix 3D1, which was carried by Amazon itself until a few weeks ago, is now only carried by resellers: Panasonic digital cameras Lumix 3D shooting black DMC-3D1-K. And B&H Photo lists this camera as “discontinued”.
My guess: We will see many new 3D cameras at the 2013 CES!
I plan to be at CES and will be filing reports on cameras, especially micro-four thirds systems, 3D photo and video cameras, and tablet computing devices. Some of my camera items will appear here and at least one other web site. More info as we get closer to CES!
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
Side-by-Side MPO files
|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
|Video ||Video |
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 || |
|Stereobase ||2.0 cm || |
|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
|Video ||1080 |
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!
Photograph of the “fishing pond” at the 2012 Spokane Valley Fest. Photographed using two Lumix GH-2 cameras, 14-42mm lens on the 14mm end. I really like how all the “clutter” creates very nice depth in this photo, plus the camera alignment was decent at the time of the shoot 🙂
Use red/cyan glasses for viewing this stereoscopic anaglyph image. Click on the image for a full size photo.
[singlepic id=160 w=640 h=480 float=]
This is a red/cyan stereoscopic anaglyph still frame from an HD 3D video. Equipment used was two Canon Vixia HF M301 consumer camcorders on a homemade mount.
I also photographed this as a 3D still image using two Lumix GH-2 cameras. However – notice the problem? The reflection in the pool really messes with the eyes in this 3D image. I think this means we need to be very careful about reflections, whether in water, or bouncing off of cars and windows.
3D video of Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Geyser eruption – YouTube.
This is a “fake” 3D video created from a 2D video shot from the overlook several hundred feet above the geyser basin.
This video was created by time shifting a 2D video to produce separate left and right images – creating a very nice effect of the steam cloud coming out of the screen at the viewer.
To create this effect, the one 2D video was dragged to both the “left” track and the “right” track in Magix Movie Edit MX Plus. Then, using the Stereo 3D effects tools, click on the “Shift Frames” – or + options. For this video, the right track was shifted 5 frames to the left. This has the effect of moving the steam cloud forward or towards the viewer.
Because the steam cloud is constantly moving, by shifting one copy of the video sequence off by 5 frames, the left eye sees the original and the right eyes sees the original but shifted by 5 frames when the steam has moved slightly. This, in turn, is similar to having recorded a separate left and right video image. But instead, I cheated used only 1 camera.
This was shot on a single, handheld Lumix GH-2 with a 45-200mm zoom lens. My tripod was simultaneously in use shooting a time lapse sequence using a Canon SX1 which I have not yet processed.