JVC GS-TD1, Sony HDR-TD10 lead 3D camcorder charge for 2011
Tech manufacturers aren't taking your indifference to 3D gadgets lying down. No siree. At CES, they unleashed a veritable barrage of 3D camcorders.
The general public's overwhelming indifference to the Great 3D TV Offensive of 2010 has not discouraged tech manufacturers. No siree, at this year's CES tech fest, they redoubled their efforts to ram 3D content into your eyeballs, unveiling a plethora of three-dimensional camcorders. Here we round them up in a handy photo gallery. You will buy 3D products, dagnabbit.
JVC what we did there?
JVC and Sony led the charge. JVC's chief offering is the Everio GS-TD1 (that's it above). This chunky fellow has two lenses and two sensors that each record a 1080i image, enabling you to shoot 3D films and photos. You can take advantage of a 5x optical zoom in 3D mode, and a 10x optical zoom in 2D mode.
Like all the camcorders in this round-up, the GS-TD1 has a display that lets you review your 3D recordings without the need for inconvenient glasses. But we find that such displays require you to hit a sweet spot in order to get the best 3D effect, which is annoying. The GS-TD1's screen measures 3.5 inches diagonally.
Recording to 64GB of built-in storage and SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards, the GS-TD1 will be available in the US in March for a whopping $2,000 (£1,280). UK pricing hasn't been announced yet, but it'll probably make you have a little cry in the corner.
The Everio GZ-HM960 also offers a 3.5-inch touchscreen, as well as a 10x zoom, 16GB of internal storage and a memory-card slot. It'll be available in February in the US for $950 (£610), but UK pricing hasn't been announced.
Weirdly, the GZ-HM960 doesn't actually shoot in 3D, but rather converts your 2D footage into 3D. We've seen 3D TVs before that also claim to turn 2D content into 3D, and we've never been really impressed by such capability. We'll punch ourselves in the face twice if this camcorder's any different.
Sock it to 'em, Sony
The big daddy in Sony's 3D camcorder line-up is the Handycam HDR-TD10. It apparently delivers 1080p 3D, courtesy of two lenses and two sensors. You'll be able to use the 10x optical zoom in both 3D and 2D mode. It has a 3.5-inch screen and will let you record to 64GB of built-in storage.
Look out for this chap around April. UK pricing is unconfirmed but it will retail in the US for around $1,500 (£960). It should be considerably cheaper than JVC's GS-TD1, but still expensive enough to give you a nosebleed.
Sony also has a more pocket-friendly offering in the form of the Bloggie 3D MHS-FS3. It's the first mini-camcorder to shoot 1080p 3D footage, and packs 8GB of storage.
We got our hands on the Bloggie 3D at CES and found its 3D footage clear and smooth, but occasionally the camcorder appeared to become confused over what was background and what was foreground material. But we won't pass final judgement until we've had one in for a proper review. It will launch in April for about $250 (£160).
Last year, we lapped up Panasonic's HDC-SDT750 3D camcorder like a cat with a bowl of chicken-flavoured milk, giving it five stars in our review. At CES, Panasonic launched five more 3D camcorders: the HDC-TM900, HDC-HS900, HDC-SD900, HDC-SD800 and HDC-SD90.
They're all essentially 1080p 2D camcorders that can shoot 3D footage when you attach the VW-CLT1 converter lens. That lens comes bundled with the HDC-SDT750 and should come with these camcorders too.
The top-end 900-series models differ mainly in terms of storage: the HDC-TM900 records to 32GB of internal storage and a memory-card slot, the HDC-HS900 has a 220GB hard disk and an SD card slot, and the HDC-SD900 records to memory cards only. They all have a 12x optical zoom and 3.5-inch touchscreens.
The HDC-SD800 records to memory cards only and has a smaller, 3-inch touchscreen. The HDC-SD90 is also dependent on memory cards and has a 3-inch touchscreen. The main difference between the HDC-SD90 and its siblings is that it uses a single sensor, rather than three.
All these camcorders will be available in February, but no pricing has been announced, UK or otherwise.
Just as vultures appear in the wake of death, so ViewSonic can be found treading in the footsteps of larger tech companies. It's got four 3D offerings: the ViewFun 3DSnap, the ViewFun 3D Pocket, the ViewFun 3D PocketHD and the ViewFun 3D Palm.
The ViewFun 3D Palm is the pick of the bunch. It shoots 1080p 2D and 3D footage, and records to SD and SDHC cards. It also has a 3.2-inch display and a mini-HDMI port. It'll be released in April or soon thereafter, for about $250 (£160).
The ViewFun 3D Pocket and PocketHD are essentially the same but shoot in 720p and 1080p respectively. Both have a mini-HDMI port, an SD card slot and a 2.4-inch display. The Pocket will cost $180 (£115) and the PocketHD $200 (£130) when they launch.
The ViewFun 3DSnap camera shoots 3D and 2D film and photos. It has a 2.4-inch display, a mini-HDMI port and an SD card slot. It'll be available before April for around $150 (£100).
Click through our photo gallery to cop a load of all the camcorders. Then prepare yourself for an incoming avalanche of reviews.