Panasonic has a new
vision for 3D, and it doesn't rely on the software industry or broadcast
community. Instead, the Japanese giant is giving us the tools to make our own
3D content. The upcoming camcorder.
Micro Four Thirds snapper puts 3D into the hands of the photographic community, while the Panasonic HDC-SDT750 reviewed here aims to have the You've Been Framed crowd shooting family members falling into the third dimension. It's a canny strategy that could ultimately change our attitude towards 3D. For £1300, you could own this 3D
A great 2D
camcorder at heart
The SDT750 looks much like any other high-end SD camcorder. It's light (just 375g) and extremely well featured. The 3-inch flip-out touchscreen is the main interface for setting the camera up. Opening it gives access to the card slot, power button and cable connectivity. The camcorder shoots on SD, SDHC and high-capacity SDXC cards. There's also 32GB of internal memory.
A high-performance 7,590,000-pixel (2,530,000 pixels x 3) 3MOS sensor delivers astoundingly good image fidelity for the form factor. It's extremely easy to tout around, and it even has 5.1 audio recording -- don't expect anything comparable to cinematic surround sound, though. You can take digital still images while recording video, or operate in a dedicated, 7.89-megapixel 'still picture' mode, with optical image stabiliser and face detection. An 'intelligent auto' mode takes care of the business end of shooting, while a selection of presets for specific scene types, such as portrait and scenery, add creative variety for the autopilot.
Just add 3D lens and shoot
While this is undoubtedly a juicy little shooter in 2D mode, that's not what concerns us. No sirree, Bob. What we're excited about is its 3D potential. Panasonic paved the way for stereoscopic camcordering with its prosumer model (yours for just £18,000), but this comes in much cheaper.
The key is a separate 3D conversion lens that threads (rather awkwardly) onto the camcorder. It's rather like bolting on a hideously overweight filter. Interestingly, in Japan, the VW-CLT1 lens is being sold as an optional add-on. Here in the UK, it's all part of the package.
The conversion lens cap itself acts as an alignment tool, and you'll need to adjust this each time you attach the lens. The process only takes a minute or two and involves tweaking vertical and horizontal lines on the touchscreen. Once the twinned optics are correctly aligned (an essential process), you're away. And that's literally it.