Lightning Review: Fujifilm W3 3D Camera

So, my first thought after shooting Fuji's W3 3D camera was how it would usher in a new era of athlete dong shots. But, the W3's not quite ready for the world—or maybe it's the other way around.


Fujifilm Finepix Real 3D W3
Price: $365
When: Now
Image sensor: Dual 10-megapixel CCD sensors for 3D images, 720p 3D video
3D format: MPO + JPEG stills, 3D-AVI video
Display:3.5-inch 3D rear display

3D photos are a rare little gimmick that can sustain people's attention, rapt, for at least 5 minutes at a time, rather you're snapping or being snapped. (There is something to this 3D thing.) People throw their arms out, or thrust random objects toward the camera, frantically trying to provoke a sense of depth. Or crowd around the rear display (tightly!) to see people, things, or themselves rendered as holograms popping out of the back of a camera. It's fun, in the same disposable way that genuinely wacky Japanese gadgets "from the future" always are.


If you don't have a 3DTV or 3D computer or 3D photo viewer (conveniently sold by Fujifilm), it's kinda hard to look at the 3D photos in 3D anywhere but the back of the camera. Which is, uh, most people. (That said, you can download some raw MPO samples, if you like: 1, 2, 3, 4.) 3D photos only really work when there's a lot of light, and video works best when the motion is sticky slow. 3D powers aside, it is an otherwise mediocre camera.


Is 3D photography dorktastically amusing? Yes. If you think about the W3 as a (pricey!) high-tech toy from a Hammacher Schlemmer catalog or Akihabara to dick around with on vacation or after you've had one too many Four Lokos—and not a real camera to capture your most treasured memories—it makes a lot more sense. Just don't think expect much more than that.

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