Review by Matt Grayson
Normally if something jumps out at me, I shriek and run off, but the pictures of the Fujifilm Real 3D W1 aren't at all scary. Unless you take my photography into consideration.
Fujifilm W1 Real 3D: Specification
- Zoom: 3D: 3.8x, 2D: 3x (optical)
- Resolution: 10Mp
- Sensor size: 1/2.3in
- Sensor type: CCD
- Max. image size: 3648x2736
- File type: 3D still: MPO (Multiple Picture Format)/JPEG, 2D still: JPEG, 3D video: 3D/AVI, 2D video: AVI (Motion JPEG)
- Sensitivity: ISO100-1600
- Media type: SD, SDHC, internal
- Focus types: Normal, macro, quick AF
- Normal focusing: 60cm-infinity
- Close focusing: 8cm-infinity
- Metering types: Programmed AE, Aperture-priority AE, Manual
- Exposure compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 step increments
- Shutter speed: 3sec-1/1000sec
- Flash: Built-in
- Monitor: 2.8in LCD colour monitor with Light Direction Control, 230,000dot (76,666px)
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Power: Li-Ion battery
- Size: 123.6x68x25.6mm
- Weight: 260g (excl. battery and card)
Fujifilm W1 Real 3D: Features
Making it's début in July 2009, the Fujifilm W1 3D camera breaks new ground by producing the most realistic 3D images to date. Fujifilm have managed to give the coolest 3D images by using two lenses to take pictures with. Each lens has it's own dedicated 10Mp CCD sensor which are then merged into one final image in the camera for viewing on the 3D screen on the back.
Taking a picture is easy enough as the camera starts up in 3D mode. On the front are the two lenses hidden behind a slide down screen which is used to switch the camera on. There are also two microphones next to the lenses for stereo audio when filming video which can also be done in 3D.
The great thing about the development of this technology is that the camera still has all the usual features of a digital compact such as an optical zoom, macro mode, self timer and flash overrides. These can all be accessed on the back of the camera although I'm sorry to say that I don't get on with the way the buttons are laid out all. It's not that they're in the wrong place, although the ISO ratings going up on the screen instead of down is infuriating. There are only three buttons on each side of the 2.8in screen but they all have many different options and the buttons have a scored line so that they can be pressed on the right and the left. Take the button on the top right; pressing it on the right plays back all the images and videos you've already taken. Pressing the left side accesses the main menu. This is a similar vein all through the buttons with the neat exception of the parallax correction button. The what?
Parallax error is what occurs if you try to take a picture and the lenses aren't aligned. It gives an effect similar to bringing an object too close to your eyes, you start to see double. Using the middle left button corrects this issue. Although if you have a subject that's too close and you align it, the background will start to shift out of alignment.
Fujifilm recommends that you take a ten minute break from viewing in 3D every half and hour and you can either not take pictures or use the 2D/3D button in the bottom left and this will switch between the two types. It works like this because the camera records the 3D information as two separate file types; JPEG and MPO. MPO isn't for viewing on a normal computer screen and because it's a brand new format it comes out as unsupported.
The Mode button has an interesting few options. As well as the normal manual, aperture-priority and program modes, Fujifilm have also included the Natural light & flash modes. They've also created two new modes called Advanced 2D and Advanced 3D. The former has three options which you can access by pressing menu. The first takes two images at wide angle and zoom to give a creative double exposure effect. The second takes two simultaneous images in different colour sets before merging them together while the third uses two ISO settings which is good for manipulating the shutter speed as the camera doesn't have a shutter-priority mode.
Advanced 3D offers two options, one will give a 3D image from two consecutive images taken on a timer while the second one does the same thing but at the same time and takes the two shots from each individual lens.
The menus are easy enough to use but is made harder by the difficult buttons, I forget the amount of times I selected the self timer instead of the display/Finepix button.
Video can be filmed in 2D or 3D and takes advantage of stereo sound thanks to the separate mics on the front of the camera. It's by no means perfect, but let's face it, stereo is better than mono any day. The file format is AVI so no HD recording here, that may be something to do with the 3D technology as it only runs at a maximum of 640x480 (VGA).
Fujifilm W1 Real 3D: Build and handling
It's quite a big camera by today's standards but new technology is always larger than when it becomes an everyday item, look at mobile phones. The aluminium die-cast body ensures a solid feel to the camera and the sliding door is firm and glides nicely into place. One unfortunate turn of events is the plastic tripod bush but it looks like it's replaceable as there are two screws keeping it in place so a metal one may be made available if you use a lot of tripod work.
1) Light Direction control system
2) 3D LCD Monitor
3) Image perceived by left eye
4) Image perceived by right eye
5) 3D image
On the back of the camera is the 2.8in LCD screen which looks like any normal digital compact camera screen. However, Fujifilm have added Light Direction control to allow 3D images to be viewed straight from the camera without the need for 3D glasses to be worn. The way it works is by directing light into each eye to stimulate parallax which makes the 3D effect possible.
Fujfilm have included a newly developed 3D RP processor which analyses all photographic data from each image that's sent from the two sensors before merging it in camera to display a 3D image.
Fujifilm W1 Real 3D: Performance
Herein lies the problem as I have no way of showing any of the images that I took on the Fujifilm W1 3D camera. The images will display but only have the software is being used and that's to display the image as a 2D picture.
I found through my tests that pictures can't be taken with a subject too close or parallax error begins to occur where the image starts to split into two. There's a correction facility available but it only works so far. It also turns out that if you do have a subject closer than the camera would like, if you use the parallax correction then the background will slip out of parallel and show a double image.
For the performance images, I used the camera in 2D mode to give it a fair chance. In the colour test chart image, warm colours appear slightly muted while cooler colours get a much more dramatic boost. I like the skin tone tile, earthy brown and forest green colours, they display an accurate rendition of what I'd expect. The mono tones also look nicely balanced but the pastel tones are a little too pale for me.
Despite a tepid performance in the colour chart from the skin tone, I quite like the portrait shot. It's balanced enough for a dull day and there's a decent amount of detail in the hair. Adding flash has lightened the whole image but not by a great deal and it's great to see that they've opted for a flash style that tries to remain discreet. A mild shadow has formed on the wall and while wider than other cameras, it's not over bearing and can be put down to the position of the flash unit on the camera.
Left: Without flash, the image is balanced with detail in the hair.
Above: Adding flash has evened out the skin and created catchlights in the eyes. The shadow is minimal but wider due to the position of the flash on the camera.
The image of the flower has come out a bit dull, which I've put down to the over cast day, but the image is also suffering from noise despite an ISO100 setting. Still, the image is sharp and exposed to a decent level. I also like the amount of depth of field sending the background out of focus, I'd just like to be able to close in a bit further.
I like looking at the landscape image on the screen at standard 25% size but closing in to 100% and the noise is evident again.
It's a real shame but I
can't help but forgive the camera simply due to the innovation that it's carrying inside. Dynamic range is to a minimum and it's a shame some of that EXR technology couldn't be brought over to help with the darker areas of the picture.
In terms of colour fringing, the camera has performed very well with only a mild amount on the white bars that go into the lock and none that I can see on the leaves that back onto the sky.
Fujifilm W1 Real 3D: Noise test
This is the part I'm looking forward to the most. Throughout the test I've seen a lot of noise creeping into images that shouldn't really be showing any. It's true of the noise test results though as the ISO100 image does show evidence of noise creeping in at all scales. There's detail in the petal leaves so it's not a bad performance and I think that the people who this is aimed at will be less bothered of such issues.
ISO200 shows a drop in detail in the petals but with a similar amount of noise in the grey card. ISO400 shows little difference in noise invasion but ISO800 shows a distinct drop in quality before the highest setting has a complete lack of detail and purple blobs start to lace the edges of the petals.
Fujifilm W1 Real 3D: Verdict
The ISO100 test.
The ISO1600 test.
It's certainly an interesting camera to look at and even though it hurt my brain if I looked at it in the wrong direction, it was great to see the proper 3D images on the screen of the camera.
There are a number of people criticising the technology saying it won't last and that their isn't enough provision for it. But it has to start somewhere and I think Fujifilm have shown a lot of courage by pioneering it.
I love the effect it gives and it does look realistic but it's worth keeping in mind that true
3D has the facility to interact with it by moving around it such as a statue gives you. This is a 3D effect image which shows considerable depth compared to normal photograph but is more similar to the Magic Eye images that used to be popular where you had to find a dinosaur.
If you're interested in this technology then buy into it so that it can gain momentum. 3D television is progressing through all major electronics companies as the next big thing so it could be a natural state of events that photography follows on anyway.
Whatever happens, these are exciting times and I'm glad I'm here to witness them.
Fujifilm W1 Real 3D: Plus points
The closest we've got to 3D images yet
On screen 3D viewing
Can switch to 2D if need be
3D video capability
Fujifilm W1 Real 3D: Minus points
Sometimes images can look off colour
Buttons are not easy to use
Prices online start at a sliver over £400 but go as high as £999, so be careful when ordering.