FujiFilm FinePix Real3D Camera review.

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FujiFilm introduces a new dimension in photography
A full stereo 3D combination video / still camera-without glasses!

Insiders Review: FujiFilm FinePix Real3D camera

 News1.net Tokyo October 11, 2009  By Frank X. Didik
  I have been a 3d-TV enthusiast since the mid 1970’s and have written extensively on the topic of lenticular and 3dTV.  Well, several days ago, while on assignment in downtown Tokyo, I was shocked to see that FujiFilm just released the FinePix Real3D video still camera.   I immediately contacted Fuji and with the assistance of Ms Emi Miyata, I was able to interviewed the Mr. Shinichi Fujimoto, who was the operations manager who planned the FinePix Real 3D camera.   They were kind enough to lend me the FinePix Real3D camera and their new 8 inch flat screen, stereo 3d monitor, which I have been using for a few days and I can report that the results are truly stunning.   The camera itself has a full 3d screen and both the still and video images can be clearly viewed on the screen.   The result truly jumps out at you.   In fact, I was sitting in a Tokyo subway car reviewing what I had just photographed and people sitting next to me were amazed and asked many questions about the camera.     Back at my hotel, I plugged in the 8” monitor and my 8gb sd card and proceeded for the next hour, kept saying oh, and wow.  I can only guess what the people in the next room must have been thinking!   Most people will be very impressed with the results.  Just imagine the Vari-Vue 3D lenticular postcards of the 1960’s and then imagine these postcards in full motion.  This will give you a rough idea of what to expect.

  Besides stereo 3D stills and full motion video, the camera can do other unique things.  For example, since it has two lenses, you can shoot at the same time, a closeup and a long shot.  This is ideal when photographing a sports event, action photographs, family shots or many other environments.   You can also use the two lens system to photograph one shot in color and one shot in black and white or perhaps most interestingly, one shot with a slow shutter speed while the other shot with a fast shutter speed&ldots;at the same time!   There are many possibilities.   The camera has the ability to photograph still 3d stereo images using “hyper stereo” or exaggerated stereo.   For example, for you can create greater depth when photographing distant mountains, or photographing from an airplane.  This was possible in the past using early 3d film cameras, such as the stereo Realist, but it is much easier to do and the results are immediate, with the FujiFilm FinePix Real3D camera.

As most stereo 3D cameras, this camera uses 2 lenses with an inter-ocular distance of 77mm, which is the approximate distance between our two eyes.   With advanced electronics and auto-focus, the lenses very quickly turn to the correct orientation of the subject, just as human eyes work, thus the two images snaps together the moment that you partially depress the shutter button. 

   Mr. Fujimoto explained to me that the FinePix Real3D camera, monitor and printed still images actually employs three separate stereo 3d technologies.  For example, the 8” monitor uses barrier strips, rather than a lenticular screen in front of the monitor.   The results are excellent.  The individual barrier strips are not visible to the naked eye.   The camera screen is also in stereo 3D and uses a left-right rapid directed “flicker” system.  Perhaps I should not use the word “flicker” since there is not any visible flicker.  If you want to make prints from the digital images, uses lenticular technology, again similar to the Vari-Vue postcards of the 1960’s and 1970’s.    I was told that the prints will cost will cost about $.40 each and at first, the turn around time will be two weeks but may be quicker the future.  You will be able to upload your stereo images to a special FujiFilm 3d website, but the prints will of course, have to be sent to you by regular mail.

Mr. Shinichi Fujimoto explains the operation
of the FinePix Real3D to the author.

  The camera feels very solid and well built.    It is built upon a die cast, aluminum chasis, which is rather rare these days.  I can attest that the camera can survive extreme punishment.  While climbing up Mount Fuji, I slipped and the camera went sailing, landing about 8 feet from me.   I was sure that it would be severely damaged, and though it had a minor scrape on the bottom, it functioned just fine.   The camera uses two separate ten megapixel ccd’s and uses two 3x optical zoom lenses.    It performs very well in low light level conditions.  In fact I was able to shoot many night stereo 3d night scenes in Tokyo with terrific results.

The camera does a variety of other functions, most of which I have yet to test, including wireless transfer from the camera to the monitor and a wide variety of settings, such as night shots, sunset shots, anti-blur and so on.   Because of time restrictions, I have not able to test the accompanying software yet, though from what I understand the software will allow you to edit the stereo 3d movies, “de interlace” the images to give a left and right jpg image and various other enhancements.

There were several things that I would have preferred different, than the way the camera was designed, but in comparison with the remarkable results, my complaints are minor.  First, from an aesthetic point of view, I do not like the shiny plastic look that the camera has.  This look does not reflect the true quality of the camera.  Second is that because of the placement of the two taking lenses, a certain degree of caution must be taken when using the camera, since it is possible that one can inadvertently cover or partially block a lens.  Finally, the various control buttons on the back of the camera are easy to accidentally press while taking a photograph.  Still, with such a small camera, I am not sure how this can be resolved, without making the camera larger.   Overall, I would say that anyone using the FujiFilm FinePix Real3D camera will be very satisfied.

I should mention a little about my involvement in stereo 3d technology.  Besides being a photo-journalist, I have been have been involved in stereo 3d photography and television since the 1970’s.   In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, I had designed and built a series of 3d-TV systems using two cameras, a broadcast quality 1” video tape recorder and a broadcast quality monitor with a course lenticular lens in front.  In order to create the 3D effect without glasses.   To interlace the two images from the tv cameras, I used a special effects generator and stabilized the image with a Time Base Corrector or TBC for short.  The results were very good, but the system was very expensive and enormous in size.   At the time, I envisioned the system used by the medical industry and for various other industrial applications.   At the time, there was a lot of interest in my system, though it was not an economic success (www.didik.com/dtv.htm).   In 1986, I purchased the production line and archive of the Vari-Vue company, which was the company that first popularized lenticular images, starting in the late 1930’s.   I am also the author of the “History and Guidebook to Lenticular Technology” (www.Vari-Vue.com). Frank X. Didik, Tokyo October 11, 2009 


The photographs below were shot by the author to provide you with a general overview of the FujiFilm FinePix Real3D camera.










SOURCE:  News1.net by Frank X. Didik

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