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Panasonic extends 3D into consumer camcorders, cameras

The company will be offering a modified version of its TM700 camcorder with a 3D lens converter.

Pansonic HDC-SDT750

While TVs have been facing the 3D onslaught since last January's CES, we who cover cameras and camcorders have still been bumping along on the shallow-depth-of-field video bandwagon. Now there's another fad to compete for our attention.

Though Panasonic claims its HDC-SDT750 is the first consumer 3D camcorder, in fact DXG also announced Tuesday that its $599.99 pistol-grip dual-lens 3D Pocket Camcorder bundled with its 3D 7-inch Media Player is expected to ship via Hammacher Schlemmer on August 6. The DXG records at a relatively low VGA resolution, though.

The HDC-SDT750, however, is a tweaked version of the very nice (and HD) TM700: it lacks the built-in memory, but has the more up-to-date Hybrid OIS image stabilization system and updated firmware for theoretically improved low-light performance and necessary support for the 3D capabilities.

The 3D conversion lens attaches to the mount, providing two optical paths that eventually pass through the single existing lens. The lens stops down from f1.5 to f3.2 at its widest when it's attached. The system records stereoscopic side-by-side images at 960x1,080-pixel resolution; though the camcorder supports 1080/60p recording, 3D maxes out at 60i.

Panasonic expects to ship the HDC-SDT750 in October for $1,399.95.

In related news, Panasonic is developing a 3D Micro Four Thirds-mount lens. The plan is to cram two sets of lenses into the space usually occupied by a single optical path, and is intended to ship by the end of this year. Given Panasonic's rather intense focus on 3D and its as-yet unavailable MFT camcorder, the AG-AF100, plus the much-rumored Lumix DMC-GH2, this announcement comes as no great shock. Nor does the lack of pricing.

But my question for you: Is this something you want? I can't seem to get excited, at least not yet, about shooting my own footage in 3D. Am I just suffering from tech fatigue, or are you with me?