Thanks to its twin lens and sensor arrangement, Fujifilm’s FinePix REAL 3D W1 makes taking 3D images easier than ever before, so perhaps it is time to capture the third dimension
There’s no question that the W1 makes light work of taking digital 3D images and it is far easier to handle and operate than a twin-camera rig.
The novice can snap away without noticing any significant difference between shooting 3D or 2D images apart from when they look at the results. Compared to many modern 2D digital compact cameras, however, the W1 is rather awkward to handle and the screen is difficult to see outside. Of course, this won’t put off the experienced 3D shooter who wants to travel a bit lighter and have the convenience of a pocketable compact camera that is ready to use almost as soon as the lens cover is snapped back.
Viewing 3D images has always been a challenge. You can’t just put a print on the wall and see the 3D effect. To view an anaglyph, 3D glasses with coloured lenses must be used, and a stereoscope is necessary for viewing twinned pairs of images. The W1’s LCD screen, the Fujifilm FinePix REAL 3D V1 viewer and the lenticular prints manage to overcome this provided they are viewed straight on.
Although 2D images may be produced, the whole point of the FinePix REAL 3D W1 is to take 3D images, so it is very strange that Fujifilm leaves the user to work out how to process, view or print the images on anything other than its own 3D products. Some 3D software really should be included in the package.
A word from the experts
What stereo photography enthusiasts think of the REAL 3D W1
Webmaster, Stereoscopy.com.Treasurer, International Stereoscopic Union
The Fujifilm FinePix REAL 3D W1 is a fully integrated stereo camera that removes the hassle of synchronising two 2D cameras. With the automatic stereo window correction, even an amateur without any 3D experience can produce good stereo images without major errors.
Of course, an experienced stereo photographer will be able to tweak the images even further with freeware software such as StereoPhoto Maker. By manually adjusting the stereo window and correcting the last few remaining errors, the results can be even more pleasing.
The W1 is now my camera of choice for everyday use as it fits in almost any pocket. For more delicate work, where I have to be able to adjust the stereo base (the distance between the lenses), I still use a twin rig.
President, The Stereoscopic Society,
I applaud Fujifilm on the introduction of the W1; it is the first general-purpose, integrated digital stereo camera that can be taken everywhere. The results are great for all practical purposes, but it is not without some negatives.
First, the flash is between the lenses and it casts opposing shadows in the stereo pair, giving a strange appearance.
Second, the image quality leaves a little to be desired. Its LCD is amazing, giving a good, solid three-dimensional image, but it can be hard to see outside if the light is at all bright. It can also show a certain amount of ‘ghosting’ if you aren’t careful to control the depth in your scene. With a lens separation of 77mm, which is wider than most people’s eye separation, depth is a little exaggerated.
Nevertheless, none of these negatives is really a ‘deal breaker’. The W1 may be the only option if you want a sleekly packaged digital stereo camera. It really is an excellent piece of equipment, and that screen is a real bonus. I’m sure many people will find that it is all they need to show their 3D images off to their friends.