Boy, that Sony sure does love 3D. A new firmware download, available from Sony's site now, gifts all NEX-3 and NEX-5 owners with a 3D Sweep Panorama mode, with the stitched-together photos displayable in 3D when connected to a 3DTV.
I'm a pretty big fan of Sony's Panorama setting on its cameras, so this is definitely a worthy update for anyone who spanked $550 down on one, and is still running version 01 of the firmware. Other features included in the update are an improved 2D Sweep Panorama mode; better battery usage when the camera is turned off, and crucially a faster start-up when under low-light conditions.
Sony hasn't detailed exactly how the 3D Sweep Panorama works, instead saying simply that it "activated simply by pressing the shutter button and sweeping the camera from one side to the other. The NEX-5 and NEX-3 shoot a high-speed burst of frames that are automatically combined inside the camera to create a seamless panoramic still image containing depth information."
For those not familiar with Sony's NEX range of cameras, it's basically their answer to the micro four thirds models which Panasonic and Olympus have churned out—except Sony allows lens compatibility with its Alpha range of models. The NEX-5 is the crop of the pack, as it shoots 1080i to the NEX-3's 720p, but both have 14.2MP cameras, Exmor APS HD SMOS sensors, an ISO range of 200 - 12800 and are compatible with all E-mount lenses.