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Fujifilm's must-have digicam for 3D lovers?

If you've gone all-in for 3D--or plan to in the near future--Fujifilm's Real 3D W3 could be the best camera and video solution for consumers to start creating their own content.


Although Fujifilm was one of the first manufacturers to have a consumer-focused camera for capturing 3D photo and video with the FinePix Real 3D W1, it didn't seem to be all that popular--at least in the U.S. Maybe that's because it cost nearly $600 and the results could only be viewed on a special 8-inch digital frame that was nearly as expensive; through a computer using an Nvidia 3D vision-ready graphics card while wearing glasses; or $7 lenticular prints. However, that was 2009. The company is back with the follow-up, the Real 3D W3, and not only does it look like a pretty great product, there are now plenty of 3D-ready HDTVs available on which to start enjoying your content .

The biggest feature upgrade from the W1 is the W3's capability to capture 3D video at an HD-quality resolution of 720p in 3D-AVI format done with the ease of using a point-and-shoot camera. Plus, the built-in Mini-HDMI output lets you connect directly to your HDTV for playback. And it's small enough to fit in your pocket and weighs only 8.5 ounces.

The camera uses twin 10-megapixel CCD sensors paired with dual Fujinon 3x f3.7-4.2 35-105mm lenses spaced about 3 inches apart that approximates human-eye spacing for a natural 3D effect. A manual Parallax Control lets you fine-tune the effect, too, as well as eliminate image ghosting. Fujifilm also used a 3.5-inch autostereoscopic LCD with 1,150K-dot resolution that has a lenticular system using rows of convex lenses, which produces "a realistic 3D image with less cross-talk and flicker" for seeing and sharing photos and video in 3D without glasses.

The two-lens, two-sensor design allows for some cool 2D-shooting options as well, basically putting two digital cameras in one body. This includes taking simultaneous photos at different zoom ranges or color tones. A 2D/3D button lets you quickly switch your shooting, while a one-touch movie record button takes you from stills to video capture.

All this fun doesn't come cheaply, though; when the FinePix Real 3D W3 is released in early September it'll be at a retail price of $499.95. This is still "enthusiast" pricing (which was the W1's target user), but now with more viewing options available, the W3 might have a broader reach.