Fujifilm has officially announced that the world's first compact digital camera able to deliver 3D images and movies will shortly be going on sale in the UK this coming September.
The Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W1 features two Fujinon lenses - each with its own 10MP CCD sensor - that are securely mounted side by side inside a robust aluminium die-cast frame that protects them from movement, vibration and impact.
When using the camera in 3D mode each of these sensors records its own image, which are then fed into the camera's 'Real Photo Processor 3D' image processor.
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Here they are aligned, combined and turned into a 3D image that can be viewed on the rear LCD screen without the need for fancy 3D glasses.
Even more impressive, given the need for the focal length of each lens to be aligned precisely, is the fact that the 3D W1 offers a 3x zoom function, giving the user more creative freedom over how they want to capture their subject.
In addition the twin lens configuration of the 3D W1 can be used in 'Dual Capture' mode to simultaneously shoot two standard 2D images at different configurations.
In practice this means the same scene can be recorded at both telephoto and wideangle settings with a single press of the shutter. Likewise, it should also be possible to simultaneously capture the same scene with both a shallow depth of field and a higher one.
3D movies are also possible, while 'Interval Shooting' allows for 3D landscapes or perhaps even airborne cloud formations to be shot while on the move in say a car or a plane.
Once images have been captured and stored, the 3D W1's 'Parallax Control' function allows the user to revisit their 3D images and manually adjust them.
3D digital photo frame
Of course, the 3D W1's 3D images won't display in 3D on standard monitors and picture frames, and for precisely that reason Fujifilm has also announced the imminent release of the FinePix Real 3D V1 picture viewer.
This 8-inch digital picture frame has been specially configured to display 3D images captured with the 3D W1 in all their frame-busting glory.
Fujifilm has also announced a 3D printing service that will use lenticular sheets to bring the 3D images of the 3D W1 to life on paper. There's no word on cost yet, but Fujifilm have hinted that once there is sufficient demand dedicated 3D printing devices may be launched.
There's no official word on pricing for the 3D W1 yet, but it's scheduled for a September release.