Should You Be Thinking About 3D Home Movies and Photos?
Avatar may have cost around 300 million dollars to make and the 3D cameras probably accounted for a share of that but now that 3D is in the living room is it time to consider making your next camera or camcorder 3D? The answer to that question depends on how far ahead of the 3D curve you want to be. Although there appears to be standards in place for still photo and video file formats getting a photo or video to display on your TV, computer, iPad or other devices might not be as easy today as it will be in the future.
Choices for Consumers Are Limited
Even if you wanted to be the first one on your block to take 3D photos and home movies, you'd find the gear expensive and the selection limited although when we went looking for 3D cameras we came up with an interesting mix of gear that will cost you anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to over $20,000. Here's a roundup of some 3D cameras and camcorders:
Fuji FinePix Real 3D W1
To create a 3D picture you normally need two lenses separated by about the same distance as your eyes. Fuji was one of the first, if not the first to offer a point and shoot 3D camera with two lenses. You can still take 2D pictures with it record 2D images to a standard JPEG file. The camera also supports the new MPO 3D file format (see below). This 10MP 3D camera is not cheap and costs around $800.
How Will You View Your 3D Photos?
A file format called MPO (Multi Picture Object) appears to be the accepted format for 3D images. We expect support for viewing MPO files on 3DTVs, computers, tablets or special viewers will become commonplace. Some 3DTVs support MPO files already. We read about someone who took a USB drive loaded with MPO files from his Fuji 3D camera into a store, displayed them on an LG 47LX6500 and said they looked great. Unfortunately 3D movies is another story. We are also sure to see more applications like StereoPhoto Maker that can take MPO files and turn them into stereoscopic images that can be viewed as anaglyphs with those old red and blue cardboard glasses.
Sony Says Their New Cyber-Shots Are World's
Smallest 3D Cameras
Sony recently announced two new Cyber-shot point and shoot cameras that use a novel technique for generating 3D images with only one lens. The DSC-WX5 and DSC-TX9 use a variation of Sony's Sweep Panorama mode that stitches together images from a "panning" camera into a 3D image that can be viewed on "compatible" 3DTVs, presumably Sony's. Both cameras will go on sale in September, with the DSC-WX5 costing around $300 and the DSC-TX9 around $400.
Aiptek 3D-HD Camcorder Will Cost $199.99
You'll have to wait until August 15th for this very attractively priced 3D camcorder ($199.99). They say you can view 3D recordings right on the screen without glasses using "Parallax Barrier" technology. We're curious to see how that looks. There are plenty of options to watch 3D videos shot on the Aiptek; you can output the MPEG4 file to a 3DTV (and keep your fingers crossed), you can play (or edit) your video on an NVIDIA 3D Vision-equipped computer, you can turn it into an anaglyph and watch the video with those old red and blue cardboard glasses or you can upload it to YouTube that now supports 720p, "3D" videos.
Good Old Fashioned Stereo Pictures from Your DSLR
This novel add-on can turn many DSLRs into 3D cameras. The Stereo Lens-In-a-Cap from Loreo costs around $150 and fits onto the front of your DSLR. You can print the "side-by-side" images and view them a Loreo viewer or view them on a computer screen with their inexpensive viewer
New Panasonic 3D Camera Due Out Any Day
You may only have to wait a few more days for a chance to plunk down $21,000 for a new "consumer-level" Panasonic camcorder called the AG-3DA1. The 6.6-pound camcorder uses 3-MOS imagers to record full HD 1080p video in 3D. The camera stores over 300MB a minute to SDHC cards. We sure hope Panasonic has something more affordable in the way of 3D camcorders for the holiday season.
Pretty Slim 3D Pickins'
With all the major TV manufacturers bringing 3DTVs to the market, it's only a matter of time before we see more affordable 3D cameras and camcorder from companies like Samsung, Panasonic, and Sony. We imagine Canon and Nikon will have to get on board too. However, for now the market for 3D cameras and camcorders is just emerging and there aren't a lot of products to choose but we look forward to the holiday season and CES 2011 for new 3D camera announcements./td>
Retrevo Loves 3D
Whether you're looking for a new 3DTV or trying to figure out how to set the time on your clock radio, you can find reviews and manuals for all popular gear and gadgets including digital cameras, laptops, HDTV and more at Retrevo.

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