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Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 review

Ben Pitt
23 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
297
inc VAT

Taking 3D photos and videos is great fun, but 3D playback options are limited and the W3 isn’t so impressive in 2D mode.

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Specifications

2x 1/2.3in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (35-105mm equivalent), 230g

The home entertainment industry’s fervent excitement for 3D seems to have outpaced the public’s appetite for it. Given this, the reactions the Fujifilm W3 camera evoked in the people we showed it to were remarkable: confused disbelief, giddy delight, a few nonplussed shrugs (not everyone can see 3D images) and only one case of recoiling nausea.

The W3 is a 3D digital camera, with twin lenses and CCD sensors to capture a stereoscopic image. Its lenses are spaced 75mm apart to mimic the space between a pair of human eyes, and the subtly different images they capture deliver the visual cues that give 3D photography its sense of depth.

Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3

Things get a little more complicated because human eyes go slightly crossed to focus on objects, depending on how near they are. The W3 simulates this by shifting the images so that the autofocus point is aligned in the left and right images. It struggled for subjects nearer than a couple of metres away, but from across the room to the distant horizon, it took most subjects it its stride.

Only the left lens is used while composing shots, and as a result we often accidentally obscured the right lens with a finger. We eventually got into the habit of holding the camera more carefully. Otherwise, 3D photography proved to be surprisingly easy. There’s no face detection or other cleverness in 3D mode – the focus point is fixed to the centre of the frame – but deft use of the half shutter press let us choose the point of focus and then reframe the shot. If the 3D effect looks confused – and it often did, particularly in our initial attempts – it’s possible to adjust the alignment manually using a manual parallax control while reviewing the shot.

This would be impossible if it weren’t for the W3’s screen. The twin lenses are all well and good but it’s the screen that gives this camera its wow factor, producing a 3D effect without the need for glasses. When reviewing shots, the main subject seems to hover just inside the camera while the background disappears into the distance, as if peering through the doors of the Tardis.