The first dedicated 3D digital camera that can record 720p HD video with stereo audio.Fujifilm's FinePix Real 3D W3 is a second-generation model that adds the ability to shoot 3D video with 720p High Definition quality and stereo soundtracks to the basic functions provided by the FinePix Real 3D W1, which we reviewed in December 2009. Aside from some improvements to the 3D monitor and a few adjustments to the body design, nothing else has changed much in the interim - except the price tag, which is $300 lower than the W1's was on release. . . [more]
Fujifilm's FinePix Real 3D W3 is a second-generation model that adds the ability to shoot 3D video with 720p High Definition quality and stereo soundtracks to the basic functions provided by the FinePix Real 3D W1, which we reviewed in December 2009. Aside from some improvements to the 3D monitor and a few adjustments to the body design, nothing else has changed much in the interim - except the price tag, which is $300 lower than the W1's was on release.
The new model is more obviously targeted at owners of 3D TV sets - and there are more of them now than when the W1 was announced. If you want to shoot in 3D but don't have a suitable 3D screen, Fujifilm's V1 Viewer (reviewed December 2009), which resembles an 8-inch digital photo frame, retails for $699.
The W3 is slightly smaller and lighter than the W1 and adds a bigger LCD monitor with significantly higher resolution. The camera powers-up in a new Auto 3D mode to simplify shooting for novice photographers.
There is currently no 3D printing locally, but Fujifilm Australia hopes to make the service available in Australia by the end of March 2011. In the interim, print orders will continue to be sent to Japan for fulfilment, as they have been for owners of the W1 camera. Details can be found in our review of the W1.
Build and Ergonomics
Superficially the Real 3D W3 camera body is similar to its predecessor. It has a die-cast aluminium chassis with a finely-textured semi-matte finish and a push-down front panel that switches power on. An eyelet is recessed into the camera body on the right hand side for the supplied fabric wrist strap.
Front view of the Real 3D W3 camera with the front panel slid down to reveal the key components. (Source: Fujifilm.)
The twin lenses are revealed when you slide the front panel down. As on the W1, they only provide up to 3x optical zoom, with up to 5.7x digital zoom available for both 3D and 2D shots. Each lens lies flush with the camera body, and they appear to be a little closer together than the W1's lenses, which were 77 mm apart.
However, because of the positioning of the lenses, it's still very easy to include your finger in shots if you don't hold the camera carefully. (A warning will appear on the screen when gross intrusions are detected.)
Holding the camera one-handed grip is decidedly risky. You must keep the second finger of your right hand below the finger-grip detail on the slide-down front panel and your index finger hovering above the shutter button while your left hand supports the camera with fingertips atop and under the body.
Between the lenses are two stereo microphone grilles and in between them is a single electronic flash. A self-timer LED is located on the slide-down panel, just above the finger-grip.
The most impressive design feature of the new model is its 3.5-inch parallax barrier, LCD screen, which has a much higher resolution than the screen on the W1 and provides an impressive 3D display. The camera powers-up with the screen in 3D mode but you can easily switch to 2D viewing by pressing a button on the rear panel.
Rear view of the Real 3D W3 camera. (Source: Fujifilm.)
It takes a few seconds for your eyes to become accustomed to the screen and there's a limited range of viewing angles that work. To see the full 3D effect, you must look straight at the screen and slightly de-focus your eyes while peering into the image. At its best, the sense of depth is compelling; at worst (outside of the correct angle) the image becomes blurry and you can't tell whether shots are in focus.
Instead of distributing the controls on either side of the screen as in the W1, on the W3, they are located in a single area to the right of the monitor, just as on a regular compact digicam. It's a much more convenient arrangement.
Here you'll find (from the top down) a mode dial, dedicated play and movie buttons and an arrow pad with a central Menu/OK button plus cursor keys that access the monitor brightness/delete, flash modes, self-timer and macro modes. Below the arrow pad is a button for the display/back settings and a slightly larger button for toggling between 3D and 2D modes.
The mode dial carries settings for Auto (point-and-shoot), P, A and M shooting modes plus two Scene Position settings, each accessing pre-sets for Natural light, Natural light and with Flash, Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Sunset, Snow, Beach, Underwater, Party, Anti-Blur. The remaining modes, A3D and A2D open the 'Advanced' settings for 3D and 2D shooting (see the Controls section below).
The top panel of the Real 3D W3 camera. (Source: Fujifilm.)
Some top panel controls have also been relocated. The shutter button is in much the same place as on the W1 but the zoom control is now a lever-ring surrounding it (instead of a separate rocker switch). A new parallax control switch is located on the opposite end of the front panel.
This slider enables users to adjust the alignment of the lenses in order to prevent crosstalk problems. You can fine-tune the positions of the two images in the stereo pair before shooting as well as after the shots have been taken. The adjustment percentage is displayed as black borders on the monitor screen.
The rechargeable battery and memory card share a compartment in the base of the camera. It's centrally located with a spring-loaded cover that slides forward. The metal-lined tripod socket sits to one side of this compartment, while a five-hole spearer grille is on the other side.
USB and A/V cables connect to ports in the right side panel, under a lift-up cover. The strap eyelet sits just above it. Although the camera is easier to operate than the W1, most of the control buttons are small and fiddly to operate so it won't suit users with large fingers and/or limited dexterity.
The Advanced 3D and 2D modes provide the same functions as on the W1 and we've covered them in our review. The A3D options include Individual Shutter 3D Shooting and Interval 3D Shooting, while the A2D settings cover Tele/Wide Simultaneous Shooting, 2-Colour Simultaneous Shooting and 2-Sensitivity Simultaneous Shooting.
Aside from the new Auto 3D mode, the control suite on the W3 is similar to the W1- and the new model has similar limitations. Despite boasting aperture priority AE and full manual exposure modes, the camera only provides three aperture settings (which change a little with focal length).
The shutter speed range, which is only selectable in the M mode, is restricted to between 1/4 and 1/1000 second in most modes, extending to 1/2 second for manual exposures. You can take three-second exposures in the Night Tripod mode but the camera handles settings like sensitivity and white balance automatically. These limitations make this camera less than ideal for long exposures.
Separate Auto modes are provided for 2D and 3D recording. Select the Auto 3D mode for point-and-press recoding of 3D stills. These shots are captured in MPO+JPEG format, consisting of a separate JPEG image from the left hand lens and sensor and an MPO file containing 3D information. Total image size averages about 7MB.
MPO files store the left and right images as separate JPEGs with the left view first. EXIF metadata associated with each image is stored in the header of the file. When you open an MPO file in the supplied software, each image in the pair can be seen. They can also be extracted and used as separate files for printing normally. The 2D mode produces standard JPEG images with a typical size of around 4MB.
Left (top) and right (bottom) JPEGs from an MPO shot showing the differences in parallax between the two lenses.
Pressing the dedicated movie button starts and stops movie recording and clips will be recorded at whatever resolution and quality you have selected. For video clips, you can choose between HD1280 (1280 x 720 pixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio), 640 (VGA resolution in 4:3 format) or 320 (QVGA resolution).
Movie files are stored in a stacked AVI format known as 3D-AVI, which contains separate recordings for left and right viewing. Each movie file has the extension *.AVI. You can view 3D movies on the camera's LCD monitor - and also enjoy stereos audio playback. 3D-AVI movies can also be viewed on most 3D TV sets by connecting the camera via an HDMI cable.
Like most recent Fujifilm digicams, the W3 includes three FinePix Colour modes that allow users to modify the appearance of shots. You can choose from Standard or opt for more saturated colours with the F-Chrome setting, while the F-B&W setting converts the colour image to black and white.
The W3 provides three FinePix Colour settings (from the top): F-Standard, F-Chrome and F-B&W.
Three metering patterns are provided: multi-pattern, centre-weighted average and spot. For 2D shooting the camera supplies two options: centre and multi (the default). 'Intelligent' Face detection with red-eye removal is also provided for 2D shooting, along with image rotation in playback mode. Rotation isn't supported with 3D playback, for obvious reasons.
Recording 3D Pictures and Movies
The underlying technology is essentially unchanged since the W1. Identical Fujinon lenses have been developed for the 3D system to ensure complete conformity between the left and right images.
The imaging light passes to two identical 10-megapixel CCD sensors and then on to the RP (Real Photo) Processor 3D chip, where the 3D image is created. Maximum capture resolution is 10-megapixels for still shots and the JPEG image recorded with the MPO stereo pair has a resolution of 3648 x 2736 pixels and typical file size of 4-4.5MB.
These lenses send imaging light Built-in 3D auto analysis determines the optimal shooting conditions from both sensors and sets exposure parameters accordingly. Focus, zoom range and exposure settings are synchronised to produce identical results from each lens.
Two factors play a major role in creating successful 3D pictures: the distance between the capturing lenses when the shots are taken and the subject and the distance from which the 3D picture is viewed. In general, best results are obtained if the distance between the two shots is between 1/30 and 1/50 of the distance to the subject.
With the distance between the lenses on the FinePix Real 3D W1 being 77mm, the optimal range for 3D photography is from 2.3 to 3.85 metres. Subjects closer to the camera are excessively laterally displaced and difficult to resolve while those further than about four metres from the camera can fail to appear three dimensional.
Typical image sizes for MPO and JPEG images are shown in the table below.
3648 x 2736
3584 x 2016
2592 x 1944
2560 x 1440
2048 x 1536
1920 x 1080
Movie recording times depend on the mode selected (3D or 2D) and the quality setting. Clips are restricted to 2GB in size, regardless of the capacity of the memory card. When the size of a recording reaches 4GB, a new file will be created and the camera will stop recording briefly while this takes place. Typical recording times on a 4GB memory card are shown in the table below.
Recording time on 4GB card
File sizes for video clips will vary with the amount of detail in the scene. You will probably find you get longer recording times with scenery than for movies containing people and pets and including plenty of action.
Playback and Software
Playback functions for still pictures and video clips are essentially unchanged since the W1, although the higher-resolution monitor provides a much clearer view of shots. However, the software bundle has been changed.
Both Mac and Windows users get the latest version of FinePixViewer, a fairly basic viewer/browser with automatic uploading facilities plus basic editing and slideshow support. Windows users can also utilise Fujifilm's MyFinePix Studio Ver. 1.2, which supports very basic 3D stills and video editing as well as offering file management and uploading to Fujifilm's myFINEPIX online image sharing services. You have to register your camera online before you can access these services.
As with our review of the W1, we're unable to display any of the 3D images and video clips we took with the review camera. And our Imatest testing could only be carried out on regular 2D image files so we can only provide subjective evaluations of the 3D images.
Out-of-camera shots were a tad soft but subjective assessment suggested lens quality was reasonably high, considering the small size of the lenses. However, the optical system was quite susceptible to veiling flare as the lenses are relatively unprotected against stray light.
Imatest testing on 2D images showed the W3 to have some advantages over its predecessor. Although resolution failed to meet expectations for a 10-megapixel camera, at best it came very close. Edge softening was evident at all focal length and aperture settings, being most severe at the widest apertures (as expected). The graph below shows the results of our tests.
Resolution remained fairly high between ISO 100 and ISO 400 but declined thereafter. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.
Interestingly, little noise was evident in shots taken at ISO 1600, which were visibly better than similar shots from the W1. However, camera shake produced blurring in both 3D and 2D modes at low ISO settings when shots were taken in low light levels, especially where contrast was low. This is to be expected from what is essentially a snapshot camera.
Lateral chromatic aberration was consistently low in our Imatest tests, as shown in the graph below (where the red line marks the border between 'negligible' and 'low' CA). We found no evidence of coloured fringing in shots taken with the review camera.
Test shots showed similar slight barrel distortion at the 6.3mm focal length to the W1 we reviewed. It was gone by 10mm and no additional distortion was observed. The flash under-exposed slightly when used with the lens set to 18.9mm at ISO 100 but produced correct and evenly balanced exposures at higher ISO settings.
Colour reproduction was acceptable and saturation was modest for a digicam. Imatest showed slight shifts in red and cyan plus a few other minor deviations from ideal colours but nothing was enough to affect normal snapshot quality.
Close-up capabilities were limited and there appeared to be little difference in depth-of-field with the three aperture settings provided. Digital zoom shots were slightly soft and artefact-affected but otherwise printable at small sizes.
However, the auto white balance control failed to compensate for the warm bias in shots taken under incandescent lighting, although it produced close-to-neutral colour rendition with fluorescent lights. Both incandescent and fluorescent pre-sets tended to over-compensate slightly. No manual measurement system is provided.
3D movies looked impressive when viewed on the V1 Viewer and would probably be even more striking on a 3D TV set. We found the greater the separation between camera, subject and background, the more obvious was the depth effect. Unfortunately, this screen wasn't large enough or high enough in resolution to fully capitalise on the camera's capabilities, although it clearly showed clips in which the parallax was out-of-whack.
Clips shot in 2D with the 720p setting were pretty typical of the movies we've seen from most of the digicams we've reviewed. VGA and QVGA movie clips showed reduced resolution plus a progressive increase in unwanted artefacts.
We conducted out timing tests with a 16GB Class 6 Verbatim SDHC memory card and found the review camera a little faster to respond than its predecessor. Start-up time averaged just 1.5 seconds and shot-to-shot times averaged 1.6 seconds. Zooming from the wide to the tele position took just over 2.5 seconds.
We measured an average capture lag of 0.6 seconds, which reduced to 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. In the 2D mode, it took 1.8 seconds to process each high-resolution JPEG file. MPO files took 2.2 seconds to process and store in 3D mode.
In the continuous shooting mode, the review camera recorded 10 JPEG images at 2048 x 1536 pixels in 3.0 seconds in the High-speed burst mode and 10 Large/Fine JPEGs in 8.0 seconds with the standard burst mode. Both were for 2D image capture. Processing these bursts took between 2.1 and 2.3 seconds, suggesting some processing is done on-the-fly.
The High-speed burst mode is disabled for 3D continuous shooting but we were able to record five MPO files in 2.1 seconds with the standard burst mode. Once again, images appeared to be processed on-the-fly as it took 4.8 seconds to process this burst.
The battery warning appeared after we had taken 140 still frames and recorded approximately 10 minutes of video. In each case, shots were roughly equally split between 3D and 2D. This is in line with the camera's specifications but relatively low for a current point-and-shoot camera.
In almost every respect - price, performance and functionality - the W3 represents an improvement over the W1. As such, it's worth considering if you want to create your own 3D content because Fujifilm is currently the only manufacturer producing cameras that are designed for 3D capture.
While other manufacturers offer varying means of recording 3D images and videos, essentially these are add-ons and incidental to the overall camera design. And there are always problems with this approach.
Fujifilm's W-series cameras are purpose-built for 3D shooting and this is where they shine. The company has also provided adequate (though not outstanding) software support. These are the main reasons we've nominated the W3 as an Editor's Choice.
For most photo enthusiasts, 3D remains an interesting novelty, largely because of its limitations. But with increasing sales of 3D TV sets, there will be a growing demand for 3D-capable cameras. Whether the 3D vogue will continue or slide quietly off the mainstream as it has at least twice in the past 100 years is debatable. But, if the current enthusiasm continues, Fujifilm is well-placed to capitalise on it.
Buy this camera if:
- You're interested in 3D photography.
- If you'd like to shoot HD video in 3D.
- You can work within the camera's limitations.
Don't buy this camera if:
- You don't have a 3D TV set or alternative display system for viewing your 3D photos and movies.
- You require fast continuous shooting.
- You want a wider range of user-adjustable controls.
2D images only
Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.
Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.
6.3mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/85 second at f/3.7.
18.9mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/20 second at f/4.2.
Digital zoom; 18.9mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/38 second at f/4.2.
Strongly backlit subject; ISO 100, 1/20 second at f/4; 10mm focal length.
ISO 100; 18.9mm focal length, 1/4 second at f/4.2.
ISO 400, 18.9mm focal length, 1/18 second at f/4.2.
ISO 800, 18.9mm focal length, 1/28 second at f/4.2.
ISO 1600, 18.9mm focal length, 1/75 second at f/4.2.
Flash exposure at ISO 100; 18.9mm focal length, 1/105 second at f/4.2.
Flash exposure at ISO 400; 18.9mm focal length, 1/105 second at f/4.2.
Flash exposure at ISO 1600; 18.9mm focal length, 1/105 second at f/4.2.
Close-up at f/3.7; ISO 200, 1/120 second, 7mm focal length.
The same subject photographed at f/8; ISO 200, 1/27 second, 7mm focal length.
ISO 400; 18.9mm focal length, 1/140 second at f/4.2.
Still frame from HD video clip.
Still frame from VGA video clip.
Still frame from QVGA video clip.
Image sensor: Two 6.16 x 4.62 mm CCD sensors, each with an effective resolution of 10 megapixels
Lens: Two Fujinon 6.3-18.9mm f/3.7-4.2 lenses (35-105mm equivalent in 35mm format)
Zoom ratio: 3x optical. up to 5.7x digital
Image formats: Stills - 2D: JPEG (Exif 2.2); 3D: MPO+JPEG; Movies - 2D: AVI (Motion JPEG with stereo audio); 3D: 3D AVI (Stereo AVI with two image channels)
Image Sizes: Stills - 4:3 aspect ratio: 3648 x 2736, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536; 3:2 aspect ratio: 3648 x 2432, 2592 x 1728, 2016 x 1344; 16:9 aspect ratio: 3584 x 2016, 2560 x 1440, 1920 x 1080; Movies - 1280 x 720 at 24 fps; 640 x 480, 320 x 240 at 30 fps
Shutter speed range: 1/4 to 1/1000 second
Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay
Image Stabilisation: n.a.
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3EV steps
Focus system/range: TTL autofocusing; centre-biased with multi-point AF for 2D shots with Face Detection off; range: 60 cm to infinity (recommended shooting distance for 3D: 1.3 metres); 2D macro: 8 cm to 80 cm; 3D macro: 38 to70 cm
Exposure metering/control: 256-zone TTL metering with Multi, Average and Spot selection
Shooting modes: Program AE, Aperture-priority AE, Manual exposure; Scene Presets (Natural light, Natural light and with Flash, Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Sunset, Snow, Beach, Underwater, Party, Anti-Blur); Advanced 2D: Tele/Wide simultaneous shooting, 2-Colour simultaneous shooting, 2-Sensitivity simultaneous shooting; Advanced 3D: Interval 3D shooting, Individual shutter 3D shooting
ISO range: Auto (with restriction to ISO 400, ISO 800 or ISO 1600 maximum); ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600
White balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Fluorescent (x3), Incandescent, Underwater,
Flash modes/range (ISO auto):
Sequence shooting: 2D: up to 3 frames/second (S size); 3D up to 2 fps (S size); max 40 frames
Storage Media: 34MB internal memory plus SD/SDHC expansion slot
LCD monitor: 3.5-inch colour lenticular LCD screen with approx. 1,150,000 dots; 100% FOV coverage
Power supply: NP-45A rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rated for 150 shots in 3D mode
Dimensions (wxhxd): 124 x 65.9 x 27.8 mm
Weight: 230 grams (without battery and card)
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