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Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Digital Camera Review

As its name suggest, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 is a 3D camera, with two lenses and two sensors. Daniel Bell gives us his verdict.

| Panasonic Lumix 3D1 in Compact Cameras

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Digital Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Dmc-3d1 Front 2

Panasonic launched the 3D1 towards the end of 2011, a digital camera with 3D shooting capabilities, with two lenses and two sensors. The 3D1 is available in black from £359.95.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Digital Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Dmc-3d1 Front 1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Features

To record 3D pictures there are two lenses, which have 4x optical zoom and are a 35mm equivalent of 25-100mm, with 5.2x Intelligent Zoom available when shooting in 2D. The two lenses also mean the camera can shoot at two different lengths at the same time. With the two 12.1 megapixel sensors, the 3D1 can record full 1080p HD videos and take pictures at the same time. To reduce blur there is Panasonic's MEGA Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS).

For easy picture taking there is iA mode, with normal picture available to give you extra control over camera settings. There are also a number of scene modes such as landscape, sports, high sensitivity and many more.

The 3D1 records videos at full 1080p HD in AVCHD format and MP4 format, with iA Mode available. The camera can be connected to a HD TV to view images and photos, but if you want to view the 3D pictures, you need to have a 3D TV.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Digital Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Dmc-3d1 Top

Key Features

  • 2x 12.1 megapixel MOS sensor
  • 2x 4x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-100mm)
  • Mega Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
  • 3.5 inch TFT Touch Screen LCD Display (460K dots)
  • 2 lenses for 3D image and video recording
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 100-3200
  • 5cm minimum focusing distance
  • 8 fps continuous shooting
Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Digital Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Dmc-3d1 Rear

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Handling

Even though the camera has two lenses and two sensors it is still small enough to carry in your pocket, although it does feel quite heavy. The lenses are housed internally so there are no parts sticking out of the camera and to switch it on and off you simply slide the front up and down.

There is an on/off button on the top which is placed alongside the shutter release, zoom rocker and movie record button on the top. The only button on the rear of the camera is the 2D/3D mode select button. The rest of the controls are set using the touch screen. This makes it a fairly lengthy process if you want to make even the smallest of changes, with many of the icons in the menu difficult to understand.

The 3 inch LCD screen is bright and clear to see and can also be used to get the focus point. The battery has a CIPA rating of 200 shots, during test we manage well in excess of this figure on one charge. We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.

Shutter Response   0.15 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.3 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.6 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.65 secs
Shot to Shot (without flash)   0.8 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.5 secs
Continuous Shooting   7.3 fps
Burst AF 4 fps   3.9 fps
Burst AF 2 fps   2 fps

Continuous shooting mode is fairly impressive, given that it records at full 12.1 megapixels, although we did find the camera a little slow to be ready for shooting after switching on.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Digital Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Dmc-3d1 Battery And Memory Card 2

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.

3D Performance - With both 3D videos and images, they look really good if you have good foreground interest and a decent amount of interest in the background. If you're in a confined area it doesn't really work, but once you've had the chance to see what works, it's much easier to take good images and videos. The 3D1 also records a 2D picture when shooting, you can click the 2D thumbnails below to download the 3D image, to view on your 3D TV (they are .MPO files).

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Digital Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Digital Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Digital Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Digital Camera Review:

Panasonic Lumix 3D1 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Colour reproduction is good, landscapes have very good blues and greens, with portraits having good skin tones and they are free of red-eye.

Panasonic Lumix 3D1 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images have a decent amount of detail, with good control over purple fringing in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm, this allows the camera to get close enough to take a good macro shot.

Panasonic Lumix 3D1 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is very low at ISO 100, with very minimal amounts appearing at ISO 200 and again at ISO 400. Noise causes a little softening at ISO 800 but causes a loss of detail as well at ISO 1600. At the highest setting of ISO 3200, images are very soft, there is quite a bit of detail lost, but colour reproduction is still good, so images are OK for resizing and sharing on the web.

Panasonic Lumix 3D1 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lighting the auto white balance (AWB) preset performs really well, with an orange cast when using the incandescent lighting. The 3D1 doesn't have a fluorescent preset, but the AWB copes really well under the fluorescent lights.

Panasonic Lumix 3D1 Other sample images

These pictures are further examples using landscape and sports modes.

Panasonic Lumix 3D1 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of colour modes available as well as some creative modes amongst the scene modes.

Video - The video below has been shot at full 1080p HD. Optical zoom is also available during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page.

Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 is available from £359.95. There are a number of compacts that have a 3D mode, but they don't have the dual lenses. The Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 is available for around £200, which we will be reviewing very shortly.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Verdict

With the price of the camera, you are only going to buy it if you want to shoot 3D. This means spending over £300 on the camera, as well as requiring a 3D TV and glasses for your audience. If you're not worried about the cost, then the pictures really don't disappoint. It's also very good that the camera is pocket sized, although it could do with a better menu system and some help with grip would be appreciated.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Pros

Shoots in 2D and 3D
Takes pictures and records videos at the same time
Fast continuous shooting
Touch screen is responsive
Excellent colour reproduction

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Cons

Menus are tricky to navigate
Camera not easy to grip


Panasonic Lumix 3D1 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.9 - f/5.7
35mm equivalent25mm - 100mm
Optical Zoom4x
Image Sensor
Pixels12Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeLive MOS Sensor
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3.5in
Screen resolution460k dots
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Zoom macro
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1300sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Scene modes
  • Program
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS25p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)200shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsStylus Pen, Battery Charger, Battery Pack, USB Cable, AC Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM

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asnorth Avatar
asnorth 10
9 Jan 2013 3:46PM
I was ready to buy this camera but I just noticed in your 3d samples that there is huge difference in the sharpness between the left and right images. I've noticed similar complaints about the finepix w3, is this a known issue with twin lens cameras?

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