When you're the only player in the 3D camera realm, you can afford to be a little bit daring. Sure, other companies have 3D imaging solutions (we're looking at you 3D interchangeable lens), but Fujifilm is the only one to really think outside the box., with 3D capture modes, and Panasonic, with the
The FinePix Real 3D W3 seems to be everything that the first 3D camera from Fuji should have been.
Design and features
From the outset, the W3 definitely isn't your garden variety camera. It's chunky and heavy at 230g without battery or card (250g with all these necessary extras). At the front a sliding panel — which covers the two lenses, microphones and flash unit — powers the camera on or off.
When it comes to the screen, though, this is where things start to get interesting. It's a lenticular, 3.5-inch LCD which allows you to view 3D images directly, without the need for glasses. Fujifilm has fitted out this camera with 720p video recording as well at 24fps.
At the side there are two connectivity options including HDMI and AV out, and the W3 uses SD/SDHC cards to store its images. But it's inside where the magic starts to happen; two 10-megapixel CCD sensors and two lenses at f/3.7-4.2. Each lens can zoom to 3x, using an internal mechanism that doesn't move the lenses out of the camera body.
However, it's not all 3D imaging, as the W3 is able to shoot 2D as well. The dedicated button at the back of the camera switches between shooting modes, and the mode dial provides program, aperture and manual control (though the manual control is fairly limited). Fujifilm lets the W3 hit a maximum ISO of 1600.
Thanks to Fujifilm's somewhat antiquated menu system and graphics, finding what button does what and which option to select in the menus themselves can present a challenge. That, and it's not the easiest camera to pick up and shoot with. A dedicated session with the manual is recommended to get the most out of the camera.
Performance and image quality
The W3 is designed to be a 3D camera first and foremost. While we can't share with you the 3D photos (produced in MPO format), the camera does produce 2D images and video, which we have included below. It starts up and takes its first shot in four seconds, with an average shutter lag of 0.7 seconds — relatively pedestrian by most standards. Then again, this ain't no ordinary camera.
Viewing images on the lenticular screen on the W3 does take some getting used to and learning the language of 3D photography will take time. For example, holding an object too close to the lens, or taking a picture of a moving subject will cause some visual unpleasantries in playback. This isn't an issue with the camera itself, just the nature of 3D photography. Fujifilm provides a tutorial on getting the most out of 3D shots.