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All Things Techie

The Consumer Electronics Show has been the face of the electronics industry for almost 50 years. Except for one year, I’ve attended the show continuously since 1980 first as an exhibitor for many years, next as an industry member and lately as part of the press.

CES is held each year in early January in Las Vegas. This makes traveling to CES a respite from the cold and snowy winter weather of my home base in Michigan. I walked many miles through the aisles and took in the breath of new gadgets that may make their way to our homes and businesses in the next months.

Along with 170,000 attendees, I was privy to see some 3,800 exhibitors that occupied 2.5 million square feet of floor space showing their products.

Here are a couple that caught my attention.


DXO One – iOS Camera

One of my first stops was at the DXO Labs booth where their rep Elodie Petiot demonstrated a small, standalone camera that melds seamlessly with the iPhone and iPad.

The DXO One has a high resolution 20MP sensor with a fast f/1.8 32mm equivalent lens and attaches directly to the iOS device through a Lighting connector thereby eliminating the need for a wifi connection. An iOS app provides control over all of the cameras’s features – focus, exposure, shutter speed, aperture setting, ISO setting, more. Captured images are immediately transferred to the iPhone for editing or sharing online.

The suggested price for the DXO One is $475. For more information please visit DXO.


Sony Alpha 7R II Mirrorless

I’ve been using Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras for the past four years, but Sony’s new full-frame a7r II has been on my radar scope since it became available late last year. With a whopping 42-megapixel sensor it should fits into my fondness for landscape photography. Its BSI (back sided illuminated) sensor enables Sony to pack more light gathering power onboard, thereby boosting sensitivity to 102,400. Autofocus speed is said to be 40% faster than the earlier a7R model. Other improvements include five-axis image stabilization and shutter dampening for less camera vibration.

What’s holding me back from purchasing this camera? I’d also have to shell out a big investment for a set of full-frame lenses.

The suggested price of the a7R II is $3200. For more information, please visit Sony.




 
 

Stay tuned for a look at a couple of 3D printers that caught my eye at CES 2016.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 
 

Sony A7 II

22nd March 2015

New Full Frame Mirrorless

I’ve been using several of Sony’s mirrorless cameras for three years or so. The three models that I regularly use are the NEX5, NEX7 and A6000 each with an APS-C size sensor. All three are compact and lightweight. Both the NEX7 and A6000 have viewfinders – a necessary feature that I expect in an advanced camera.

The A6000 has been my “go-to” camera for the past year. The quality of the images match up to those from the Canon 7D and Nikon D90 but with the added convenience of a noticeably smaller piece of hardware.

With this previous experience with mirrorless equipment, I went to the Sony booth at the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo to have a look at the new full-frame Alpha 7 II.



The A7II has a full size 24MP sensor in a body that weighs a mere 21 ounces. This compares to the Canon 5D MkIII at 33 ounces or the Nikon D800 at 35 ounces. The physical size of these three cameras are (W x H x D) A7II is 5″ x 3-7/8″ x 2-3/8″ Canon 5D MkIII 6″ x 4.6″ x 3″ Nikon D800 5.7″ x 4.8″ x 3.2″

The A7II shares many of the same features of the A6000 including sweep panorama shooting mode, built in HDR, on board wifi connectivity, electronic viewfinder displays real time adjustments and tilting LCD screen. Unfortunately the A7II does not have a built-in flash as does the A6000. However the A7II records 4K video, sports fast “hybrid” autofocus and 5-axis image stabilization and 5fps still capture.

As far as lenses are concerned, Sony’s mirrorless versions (designated as FE-mount) do not share the same size and weight savings as the A7II body. But given that the body is about a pound less and considerably smaller in size, I felt that the weight savings would be a definite advantage for the type of shooting that I do in the field.

Sony also announced the release of these three lenses for full frame mirrorless:



The Sony rep also mentioned an upcoming 28mm f/2 lens that will also accept a 16mm fisheye converter and a 21mm ultra wide angle converter.

The suggested price is $2000 and is available about May 1st. For more information about the A7II, please visit Sony.

The bottom line – if you’re looking for a camera that provides the high resolution that only the mid-size format were able to deliver, the Canon 5DS (and 5DSR) has now lowered the entry price by thousands of dollars.

 
 
 
Written by Arnie Lee
 
 


For Movies on the Move

For several years now, GoPro has demonstrated the overwhelming popularity of action videos. They have built an empire of a business around its brand.

Sony’s HDR-AS100V and newer, yet slightly smaller HDR-AZ1 cameras are the center of their video system for recording action in the field. Both units pack lots of features into a very compact space: 1080p with image stabilization, stereo sound, high speed recording, 170-degree view, interval recoding, and WiFi and NFC equipped and GPS (AS100V only).

They are ruggedized and are waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and freezeproof without having to purchase additional accessories.

This AZ1 which is 2/3 the size of the AS100V, is mounted on a drone. Using an optional Live-View Remote (RM-LVR2V) which straps to your wrist you can control the AZ1, change settings and view the playback from afar.

The included Action Cam Movie Creator software lets edit your footage into complete, quality movies using the special recording features e.g. high speed recording, merging multiple clips into a single clip, etc.

 
 
There are a whole host of accessories for the Action Cam system including various camera mounts and straps for bicycling, surfing, boating, diving, snow sports and skateboarding.

List price for AS100V is $279 and for the AZ1 is $249. For more information, see the Sony ActionCam webpage.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

What a View

27th August 2014

Wide Angle to the Extreme

It’s eye-catching when I see a photo that “bends” the horizon.

This bend comes from the camera’s lens. Use a very wide angle lens and you’ll see the curved “barrel” distortion on the images. One well-known type of wide angle lenses is the fisheye. These lenses typically have a field of view approaching 180 degrees – allowing you to capture the entire scene in front of the camera.

Until recently, fisheye lenses were expensive. I have one that cost well over $1500. But when I was looking for an ultra-wide angle for my Sony equipment, I found an inexpensive lens made by Rokinon. With its $300 price tag, I was a little skeptical of the quality of images from such a low cost lens but decided to try it regardless.

Here’s a short gallery of some of the scenes that I captured during my first outing with the lens a few weeks ago.
 
 



This is an 8mm f/2.8 fisheye. I wanted an ultra-wide angle for an extra Sony Nex7 mirrorless camera.

The Nex7 is very compact and lightweight. The Rokinon 8mm fisheye is also surprisingly compact.


The Sony Nex7/Rokinon 8mm setup is only about 1/3 the size of my Canon 6D with a Canon 8-15mm fisheye – a true space and weight saver.

One of the first images that I recorded with the new lens was in the Tetons. I especially like the curved horizon.



Here in Yellowstone you can see that the bridge rail curves upwards. The lens does not support the camera’s autofocus feature.

However an 8mm lens has a very wide depth of field which makes focusing less critical as you can see in this image taken at Mono Lake.



At Grand Canyon, the bend in the horizon is amazingly scenic. The lens does not support autoexposure so I set the camera shooting mode to manual, set the lens aperture to f/8 and adjusted to the proper shutter speed.


In both of these photos, you can see that the exposure for both a shaded and sunny scene were correct. Neither the manual focus nor the manual exposure requirements of this lens is a concern.



At Monument Valley I took advantage of the lens’ extreme wide view. Here I was able to take in a 180-degree view to photograph this huge monument within a single image.


The fisheye excels for those of you who like shooting portraits that include the vast surroundings.



At Mesa Verde, we encountered another “tight squeeze”. However, we were able to capture this with the lens’ wide view.


In Rocky Mountain National Park, the lens took in not only the winter’s left over snow but the billowing overhead July clouds.

What about the sharpness?

Here I’ve enlarged a small section of one of the above images. You can clearly see the detail in the face, the lettering of the cap and the tufa formations in the background.

I found the sharpness of this inexpensive lens to be very acceptable.


After my short time with this lens, I am no longer skeptical of it’s quality. The images are tack sharp with very good color reproduction. If you’re on the lookout for an ultra-wide, include this lens in your search.

The Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 fisheye is also available for other camera models as well: Fuji, Samsung and Canon M mount. Other similar versions with a maximum f/3.5 aperture are available for Canon, Nikon, Sony A mount, Pentax and Olympus 4/3.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 
 
 

The Sony A6000 Mirrorless

14th August 2014

My 6300-Mile Field Test

On our recent vacation, my camera of choice was Sony’s newest mirrorless camera. While I also brought a much larger Nikon D700 conventional DSLR, I relied mostly on the the Sony A6000. As a comparison, I captured about 150 images with the Nikon D700 and more than a thousand images with the Sony A6000.

My setup was the A6000 coupled with Sony’s 18-200mm lens. This combination is lightweight and compact, produces quality images and just happens to fit beneath the driver’s seat for fast, convenient access.

Hopefully, the following photographic sampler illustrates the A6000’s versatility. I’ll add a few techie details afterwards.



The A6000 is smaller than a conventional DSLR so it’s both lighter and more compact.

You can compare the sizes of the A6000 next to the conventional Nikon D700 DSLR.


The A6000’s high resolution 24MP sensor renders scenics with very high detail.

Additionally, the camera can capture subjects that have a wide range of exposure levels.


The A6000’s articulated LCD makes it easy to capture stills and closeups.

The much improved focusing system works well for wildlife shots.


With the 18-200mm lens, I can keep dry while still in on the action.

Here’s some quick, responsive focusing


The A6000’s bright viewfinder makes it easy to compose and frame in bright sunlight.

The electronic viewfinder previews the scene with the camera adjustments applied.


It handles action shots well and can capture up to 11 frames per second.

The exposure system works quite well with a wide variety of subjects.


I used the camera’s sweep panorama feature often to automatically produce some very pleasing large images.

I suppose it doesn’t matter than I traveled 6300 miles with the camera other than I used it under a variety of conditions.

My “film” was a 32GB SD card, but I never filled it with the 200 pictures a day (the camera was set to record simultaneous RAW and JPG images). All in all, I’m very happy with the images that the camera produced. The one small gotcha is that the A6000 has a short battery life – probably due to the electronic viewfinder. Thankfully, I had an extra battery that I carried along.

Since this is my third Sony mirrorless camera, you can safely assume that I’d recommend this camera to others. In fact my daughter must have agreed with my assessment and purchased one.


For those interested, here’s a few of the technical specs for the A6000:

Sony A6000 os a mirrorless with a 24MP sensor. One of the reasons for choosing this camera is its fast and accurate hybrid focusing system that allows up to 11 frames per second capture. Other proven features are its “sweep panorama”, automated HDR capture, easy exposure bracketing, and Sony’s proven video recording.

List price for the A6000 body without lens is $650. The 18-200mm lens cost $850, more than the body but this single lens allowed me to enjoy the scenery without clutter of additional lenses.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee


Sony Alpha 6000

17th April 2014

Sony’s Newest “MILC” – Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

I’m apolitical when it comes to camera brands. I use equipment from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, etc.

When traveling for assignments I carry a quality camera and several lenses. For the past few years I’ve gravitated towards the smaller and lighter cameras. What’s more is that lenses for these cameras are also smaller and lighter too so packing is easier.

My go-to camera is now a Sony NEX7 which is half the size and weight of the Canon 6D or Nikon D800. But the one downside of the NEX7 is its slow focusing speed and accuracy in low light situations.

Naturally I was interested in seeing the new Sony A6000 at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Expo last month. This new model addresses the focusing issue by using “hybrid” phase detection for fast response combined with contrast detection for improved accuracy. Sony claims that the A6000 can record an amazing 11 frames per second with continuous autofocus. Whether shooting still or video this is a welcome and impressive feature packed into a camera this size and cost.

The A6000 is similar to my NEX7 in many respects including a 24 MB APS-C sensor and an electronic viewfinder (EVF). I find the EVF essential when using any of the interchangeable lenses rather than relying on the rear facing LCD screen especially in bright light. Another advantage of the high resolution EVF is that it displays a preview as you make exposure and/or white balance adjustments.

The bright, tilting LCD lets you shoot from a low viewpoint without having to kneel or from a high viewpoint without having a ladder.

The A6000 at WPPI was equipped with a 18-50mm lens. Sony calls it a PZ “power zoom” in that it has a small button which automatically zooms in and out when depressed. When retracted this camera/lens combo is quite compact, yet it fits comfortably in my hands. The specs say that the camera body weighs less than 13 ounces – how’s that for a weight saver?

The A6000 has most of the same features of the NEX7 such as in-camera HDR, sweep panorama and multi-frame noise reduction. For me a bonus is the built-in wifi for transferring images to a mobile or computer device and the downloadable apps (for an additional charge) such as time lapse, automatic backup, photo sharing.

The Sony rep told me that the A6000 will be available about April 23rd. Price for the A6000 body is $649; for the A6000 with 18mm-50mm PZ lens is $799.

I have an A6000 on order and am looking forward to this as an upgrade to my NEX7.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

Getting Personal

03rd December 2013

Camera Brands are like Religion

Not a week goes by without someone asking me what brand of camera they should buy, a Canon or a Nikon.

Most of the time they’re wanting to replace their good quality point-and shoot camera. They’re looking for more advanced equipment along the lines of a DSLR.

Having owned or used literally dozens of cameras, especially in the past five years, I have a definitive answer which I’ll share with you shortly. But what I find interesting is that so many photo enthusiasts also have very definite answers to this question.

Let me back up a bit and explain why I’m writing this.

A Facebook friend wrote that he was looking for a new DLSR. “Should I buy a Canon or a Nikon?”, he posted. I replied “or a Sony?”. The point I was trying to make was that there are more choices than only Canon and Nikon.

A few minutes later there were many more replies on his Facebook status: “Nikon”; “CanonCanonCanon”; “I shoot Nikon”; “I use a Nikon D90”; “Canon definitely”; “I have a Nikon 5000”; etc.

 

 
It’s not surprising that a camera brand is a very personal choice. It is as though each photographer is pleading with my friend to heed only his or her suggestion. Isn’t proselytizing their brand like forcing a person’s religion onto another?

Yet when I think about it I was doing the same. I was suggesting that a Sony NEX camera is similar to DSLR but without the weight and bulk. And since I am very fond of carrying lightweight equipment, I frequently use a Sony NEX camera.

Of course I could have chosen a different way to respond to his initial post by asking a few qualifying questions: will he be taking lots of sports or action; are movies part of his photography repertoire; how much money does he have to spend.

But frankly these qualifying questions don’t matter much.

Here’s my answer to his question: it doesn’t matter if you choose Canon or Nikon. Both have equally capable cameras in the various price ranges. And Sony also has equally capable cameras. One could argue that Pentax and Olympus also offer quality models too.

There’s too many slanted opinions for my friend to make his choice based on all of the Facebook replies. I hope my friend makes his choice based on how the equipment feels in his hands; getting the most features for the price; availability and affordability of additional lenses; past experience with previous purchases.

What do you think? Any comments?

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 

 

 


 

 

Photoplus Expo

25th November 2012

for both professionals and consumers

When someone asks me where I’m from, I usually volunteer a two part answer: “I grew up in New York but I live in Michigan”. Still after almost 40 years, it’s a treat for me to return to New York to see friends and family.

My most recent visit was in late October to attend the Photoplus Expo that’s held each year at the Javits Convention Center.


I’ve traveled there for the past several years to report on the newest photo products, speak to the equipment vendors and watch several of the live “how-to” seminars.

This year thousands of professionals and enthusiastic consumers also traveled to New York City to get a hands on experience with the latest photographic equipment and accessories.

For this report, I’ll concentrate on several of the new digital cameras as these are the among the most popular.

Nikon D600

I first saw the Nikon 600 a few weeks ago at the huge Photokina Expo in Cologne, Germany. Nikon’s newest DSLR is positioned as a “prosumer” model. Its full-frame sensor, the same size as a 35mm film frame, offers an impressive 24MP resolution with superior light gathering power and less noise than the more common APS-C size sensors found in many consumer targeted DLSRs.

 

The D600 is smaller than the full-frame Nikon D800 which was introduced only a few months ago. Its $2100 price is $900 less expensive than the D800 which has a 36MP sensor.

The autofocus system is switchable between 9, 21 or 39 autofocus points depending on the type of subject. Its high speed image processor can capture up to 5-1/2 frames per second. The large 3.2″ LCD automatically adjusts the brightness to suit the surrounding lighting conditions.

The D600 automatically recognizes when a DX lens is mounted and adjusts the camera resolution to about 10mp. So owners of DX lenses can continue to benefit from their earlier investment.

Other notable features are:

  • built-in flash with versatile wireless control of external units
  • dual SD card slots – you can configure the D600 to record duplicate of images on both SD cards or to record jpg images on one card and RAW images on the other
  • in-camera HDR capability – multiple exposures are combined automatically to capture a wider range of tones
  • Active-D lighting – reduces very contrasty scenes to retain detail in highlights and shadows
  • time-lapse – captures multiple frames at specified intervals
  • full 1080p HD video at multiple frame rates
  • uncompressed video output via HDMI cable
  • external stereo input with visual auto level monitor

Users who want to transmit images directly to a smart device can purchase the inexpensive WU-1b wireless adapter. With this they can backup images and/or share images as text messages or online social media sites.

The D600 will prove to be a very capable model for those looking to upgrade from one of Nikon’s DX format cameras to a full-frame body. It’s available now for $2100. The price of the WU-1B wireless transmitter is $60.


 

 
Canon 6D

Pick up the Canon 6D, and you’ll immediately notice how much smaller (less wide) and lighter it is compared to Canon’s previous full frame 5DMkII and 5DMkIII models. The target market for the 6D is the prosumer who wants to upgrade from an APS-C frame size body, similar to what Nikon is doing with its D600 model.

Other features of the 6D are:

  • 20MB full-frame sensor
  • 11-point autofocus system
  • high speed capture at 4.5 frames per second
  • single SD card slot
  • in-camera HDR – combines bracketed exposures to yield images which encompass wide exposure levels
  • multiple exposure – superimposes up to nine separate images onto single frame
  • full 1080p HD video at multiple frame rates
  • built-in WiFi – sends images wirelessly to smart devices (computer,mobile phones) for backup or preview
  • built-in GPS – adds location information to images

 

One feature missing from the 6D is a built-in flash. Normally, this classifies the camera as a professional model. Originally slated for release December 15th, the Canon 6D was already shipping in late November. The price is $2100, same as the Nikon D600.


 

 
Sony NEX-6

I have to admit that I’m a big fan of Sony’s line of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC). The newest member of the NEX series is the NEX-6. The MILCs are all much smaller and lighter than any of the DLSRs, making them very convenient to carry.

This model uses a hybrid autofocus system that addresses a shortcoming of the earlier models. Autofocus is now performed by combining fast phase-detection for coarse focusing with contrast-detection for precise focusing.

Many of the controls on the NEX-6 have been reworked from earlier models to change the settings faster and more conveniently. The high resolution electronic viewfinder lets the user preview the effect of the settings before the shutter is released.

 

Sony has also introduced a new 16-50mm zoom lens for the NEX series.

This lens is the first E-mount lens with a power zooming feature.

The lens ring is used for zooming and manual focusing.

When it’s not being used, the lens retracts to less than 30mm thereby making the camera and lens combination even more compact.

The 3″ LCD display has a 920K dot resolution and tilts 90 degrees upward and 45 degrees downward for easy viewing in a variety of shooting situations.

Among the innovative shooting features are:

  • in-camera HDR – combines three separate images into a single image with wide tonal range
  • adjustable DRO – dynamic range optimizer helps prevent overly contrast images
  • multiframe NR – captures multiple frames and combines parts to produce single framewith least amount of moise
  • sweep panorama – sweep your camera horizontally to take multiple frames which are stitched together in camera
  • built-in flash
  • built-in WiFi – sends images to mobile device or computer for backup or display
  • full 1080p HD video

The Sony NEX-6 is available now with 16-50mm lens for $1000.


 

Thanks to the vendors from Nikon, Canon and Sony who provided me with much of the technical information that I’ve presented here.

The show management told me that more than 24,000 visitors attended this year’s Photoplus Expo. Based on my conversations, I recently added a new Canon 6D to my large inventory of photo equipment. I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one to have made a purchasing decision after the show.

 

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 

Delivering Higher Performance

16th September 2012

to those users who prefer going lightweight

Not long ago, I acquired a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC) – the Sony NEX5. I’ve found its small size to be very convenient and its light weight easy on my shoulder. But more importantly its picture-taking capabilities and quality of the photos rival those of the other cameras in my equipment inventory.

Having interchangeable lenses is a necessity for most serious photographers. So for many years SLRs and more recently DSLRs fit this bill. On the other hand, a MILC is designed as a compact alternative to a DSLR camera. Their small size is what attracted me to the Sony NEX series.

While on vacation for two weeks I used the NEX5. It proved to be a solid performer producing good exposures under a very wide variety of lighting conditions. This model has a 14mp APS-C size sensor, the same size used in many DSLRs and I found it gave me excellent quality images.

MILCs are quiet since they lack moving mirrors. The camera’s controls were straight-forward and easy to use. I took advantage of several unique features not found in others such as sweep panorama (in-camera stitching of photos to make a wide panoramic view) and anti-blur (burst of several shots to increase likelihood of non-blurred image) modes and am more than satisifed with the results.


The Sony NEX5

Overall, I am pleased with the addition of the NEX5 to my arsenal of photo equipment. However it lacks two features that one would normally require for professional use:

  • Viewfinder – the NEX5 lacks a viewfinder. Relying the LCD for composing is not only slower, but is often difficult in bright sun.
  • Flash – the NEX5 has a small, built-in flash. However it lacks a flash shoe, making it difficult to use a standard strobe.

(more…)

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A Look at the Panasonic Real 3D W3 camera

 

I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t particularly interested in 3D photography and video until I took a walk through the aisles of CES this past January.

Among the major television makers LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp and Sony all had huge displays demonstrating some very impressive 3D capabilities.

From the fanfare that they were lavishing on their new equipment, it appears that the major electronics manufacturers are counting on 3D to be a big part of their revenue in the next few years.

Here’s an audience of viewers at the Panasonic booth being wowed with a wall-sized 3D movie.

To use any of the new 3D televisions, you’ll need those cool 3D glasses to watch the new content but not the glasses which sport the cheap bi-color lenses; instead you’ll need to use battery-powered glasses that must be matched to the television manufacturer.


Here’s a set of battery powered glasses for my Panasonic 3D television.

As I understand it, a 3D television image is displayed as an alternating pair of left eye/right eye images. So the left eye image appears each 1/60th of a second and the right eye image the next 1/60th of a second.

Each lens of the glasses contains a shutter. The shutter covering the left-eye opens each 1/60th of a second and the shutter covering the right-eye opens alternating 1/60th of a second. At this rate, the brain sees the alternating images as a single one in 3D.


Several companies are already producing 3D capture devices.

Panasonic is taking steps to support 3D with this stereo lens set that fits on their Micro Four-Thirds cameras.

This has two separate lenses that produces a set of digital image that can be displayed directly on their 3D television.


I stopped at the Fuji booth to watch a demo of their 3D camera.

Well, after a short ten minute introduction, I was hooked. After the show, I ordered one to try out the 3D features for myself.

This is the Fuji Real 3D W3 camera. You can see its two lenses are spaced apart about the same distance as your eyes. When you press the shutter, it captures two simultaneous images from slightly different viewpoints – left side and right side.

In fact, each lens is a 3X optical zoom that can also record a 10-megapixel image independently of one another. But when in 3D mode, the lenses are set to work synchronously.


On the back is a oversized 3.5″ LCD. But unlike a standard LCD, the one lets you view the 3D image without the need for special glasses.

In playback, the camera combine the two separate left and right images and displays them on a high resolution, 1.1 megapixel lenticular lens system to simulate the 3D effect and minimizes flickering and crosstalk (double exposure).


This picture of me is the closest that I can come to showing you how a 3D image looks on the W3’s LCD.

If you were viewing it on the W3, you’d see that my outstretched hand is clearly in front of my face and the gentleman behind me is very distant.

When viewed live, the 3D images are very impressive.


Likewise, you can just as easily capture and playback 3D videos with the W3. Press the video button and it’s ready to record 720p HD movies when you press the shutter.

To view the video on a larger screen, you’ll have to connect the camera to the 3D television with an HDMI cable. My Panasonic 3D television has an SD-slot so I can just insert the SD-card from the camera, precluding the need for the HDMI cable. Playback on a 3D television is very cool. In 3D video mode, the W3 truly gives you the Avatar-like effect.

Although designed especially for 3D photographs and video, it’s also a very capable and unique camera for “normal” 2D photographs.

Three different modes let the W3 capture two images at different zoom factors; two images with different ISO sensitivities; or two different images with different color attributes (black and white; chrome) all with a single press of the shutter.


3D photos and video are cool. But to really take advantage of the impact of 3D, you’ll need a 3D television – something that is bound to slow the adoption of cameras such as this.

As a side note, I’ve used the Sony Alpha A55 extensively and one of the features that it offers is one called 3D Sweep Panorama. Activate this feature, press the shutter and pan the camera (in a sweeping motion) and the camera automatically captures a 3D panorama image. While you cannot see the 3D effect in-camera, you can display it on a 3D television. Sony has several other less expensive compact cameras with the 3D Sweep Panorama feature so 3D is definitely on the minds of camera manufacturers.


In the short amount of time that I’ve spent exploring 3D, I’ve found that the Fuji W3 is a relatively inexpensive yet exciting way for me to add this new dimension.

 

I purchased the Real 3D W3 in February at a cost of just slightly over $300. For more information about the W3 visit Fujifilm.

For more information about the 3D stereo lens set contact Panasonic.

For more information about the 3D Sweep Panorama feature contact Sony.

 

Please note that Stay Focused has no connection to Fujifilm.

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


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