Spent a month's salary on a 3D TV but have very little to watch on it? Luckily for you, here's an opportunity to create your own 3D content at an affordable price. The metal-build Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 snapshot camera updates the year-old -- Fujifilm's first device that promised to bring 3D photography to a consumer audience, but garnered a mixed reception.
So can this camera do better? Smaller and more refined than its predecessor, yet with a bigger screen, the W3 also features two lenses and two sensors. It offers a 10-megapixel effective resolution plus a 3x optical zoom with a focal range equivalent of 35-105mm on a 35mm camera. Photos aside, the W3 can capture high-definition video at a resolution of 720p.
Although aesthetically still somewhat lumpier and larger than it looks in pictures, the W3 will fit comfortably in a jacket pocket. Overall dimensions are 124 by 66 by 28mm and it weighs a manageable 230g without rechargeable battery or compatible SD card. Expect to pay in the region of £350.
In dormant mode, the faceplate obscures the lenses, twin stereo microphones and centrally located flash. Sliding it open results in the camera powering up in around two seconds. Since it's that simple, there's no need for a separate on/off switch or button.
There isn't much of a grip to enable a firm hold on the W3. A slight undulation of the faceplate and a thin flint-like sliver jutting out at the front provide the only point of purchase. Inevitably, then, fingers creep in front of the lens on occasion when attempting to steady the camera in both hands. Fujifilm acknowledges the issue, and there's even an easily missed red warning icon that flashes on screen to avoid the photographer ruining their shot in this way.
On a more positive note, a half press of the shutter release button, which is encircled by a zoom lever, effectively adjusts focus and exposure in a matter of a second. At this point, you also see a helpful live preview of how the resultant 3D image is going to look. This feat is achieved by incorporating rows of tiny convex lenses within the screen that work together to give the 3D effect. Press the shutter release button fully and the camera fires both shutters simultaneously, taking a further two seconds to commit the result to memory.
Seeing double, seeing triple
The two different perspectives from the twin lenses are automatically combined for viewing on the W3's huge, 3.5-inch, widescreen-ratio LCD screen. Images are both composed and reviewed on this ample display, which boasts a benchmark-raising resolution of 1.15 million dots. Special glasses aren't required for viewing. Visibility is fantastic -- the screen's sharpness is eye-popping -- so you get a really good idea of whether your 3D compositions are working as dramatically as they could be, in situ.