Long a fan of Stereoscopic photography, this is a hands on review of the groundbreaking Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W1 digital camera.
So what is ground breaking about the Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W1 camera?
Firstly, utilising 2 lenses and 2 x 10 mega pixel sensors, the camera is able to take real-time 3D pictures and video and instantly show the results on its 2.8 inch screen – in 3D, without the need to wear glasses.
Secondly, capitalising on the 2 lens / sensor arrangement, you now have a ‘twin’ camera able to take wide and zoom pictures of a scene simultaneously, with each ‘camera’ set at different colour and sensitivity setting.
The W1 camera has the popular piano black finish, which though looks good, does require buffing to remove the all too obvious finger marks.
The camera is quite chunky and a little weighty at 300g. However, build quality is excellent with a pretty much all metal construction.
The front cover you slide down to turn on the camera revealing the 2 lenses and flash.
The monitor on the back initially presents a series of example 3D pictures, but this feature can readily be turned off as can the welcome jingle, blue lights on the front and rear and other bells and whistles where privacy is required.
The screen takes up the majority of the back with a line of ‘rocker switch’ type buttons on either side. The buttons are slightly textured and blue colour back lit.
Pictures can be stored either internally to memory (not a true option as there is only 42mb of internal memory) or to optional SD or SDHC.
I prefer SDHC cards as these come in higher capacity options and would also choose a card with a high data transfer rate to minimise delay in storing images. (In this test I used a SandDisk Ultra II 8mb SDHC card with 15mb per second transfer rate).
The buttons and options presented on the screen do take a while to get used to and at times appear not too logical in design.
How easy is it to take 3D photos with the FinePix Real 3D W1 camera?
The instruction manual, often not needed these days for a digital compact, was required here! The paper manual covers all you need at the higher level, with a PDF more detailed version also provided on CD.
In full auto mode, once you have chosen whether to take a 2D or 3D picture, you simply point and shoot as you would normally with any compact digital camera, with pictures displayed on the clear and bright screen.
The same applies with Video shooting, with the only choice being whether to record in 2D or 3D. When shooting in 3D, you can superimpose a grid on to the screen to aid where ideally your subjects should be to generate the best possible 3D effect.
This I found very useful, with results consistently good.
How about viewing the 3D photos?
Viewing 3D photos is a little strange in that you have to be looking at the screen head on with no tilt etc.
The pictures do certainly look 3D, though not in terms of being able to look around a subject but rather they have tremendous depth – am wondering if when printed, this ability to see round an object will be present.
There are some limitations however, for example though the picture is sharp, distant objects can appear duplicated giving the appearance of double vision.
That said, the end result is attractive, confirmed as a 3D image can be viewed in 2D if you require and when switching between the two, 3D does have a lot of appeal.
So would I recommend the Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W1 camera?
Well, though it is a bit quirky and the technology is brand new, I love this camera.
Being able to take pictures and record video in 3D is amazing.
The screen technology that allows you to view the pictures in 3D without glasses is highly innovative and coupled with you effectively having 2x 10 mega pixel cameras in your pocket for recording 2D, what’s not to love?
What about the price of getting 3D photos?
The price does need to be considered – not so much for the camera (£429.99 from Amazon), but for the optional photo display, the FinePix Real 3D Viewer V1 at £399.99 and the cost to print £3.99 for a 6×4 inch print or £4.29 for a 7×5 inch print.
Price hasn’t of course stopped me – I have just fallen in love with it and the 3D photos!
Mind you I haven’t got any printed 3D photos yet.
I have though uploaded to FujiFilm some pictures for printing. No wonder they are expensive – they are printed by hand in Japan and sent back in approximately 20 days!
I’ll report back here on the outcome – get our FREE newsletter to make sure you don’t miss my updates.
Update 2 December: Printed 3D photos are now back – See our review here.