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Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 Digital Camera Review

fujifilm20120614a.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Keith Parsons 

Fujifilm is fast gaining a reputation for offering something different to usual digital camera market trends, whether it be their latest and greatest X series or the Finepix Real 3D W3 released a little while back as the only dedicated 3D consumer camera.

Employing a 3” lenticular LCD screen, viewing your 3D images does not require goofy glasses or a specific 3D TV which is a major plus. Furthermore, with a mostly metal construction and unique power slider/lens cover it's clear Fujifilm mean business in the world of 3D consumer cameras.

 

Appearance & Functionality


The W3 is a solid camera benefiting from largely metal construction, you can feel its weight (250g) straight away and I actually like this as far too many cameras are of a flimsy build quality these days. It is only available in a black finish although it is a very nice looking camera with plenty of silver highlights for added style points.

The camera uniquely powers on/off via a sliding plate on the front of the body that protects the lenses when turned off. The majority of the back panel is taken up with the large LCD screen however a number of buttons are located down the right hand side, which feels quite natural when accessed with your right thumb. The most notable button would be the 3D button which allows you to seamlessly switch between dimensions!

fujifilm20120614b.jpgMenu navigation is simple enough for those who have used Fujifilm camera before and will come quickly to those who have not. The menu is divided under two headings; shooting menu and setup menu and navigation is via the directional pad on the back panel.

One of my biggest qualms with the W3 is the lack of grip on the camera body and the amount of times I found that my fingers cross into one of the lenses field of view. I did however eventually realise that a red warning light appears on the screen alerting you to this although a moulded hand hold would stop wandering hands disrupting images.

Many of the functions you would expect of a 2D camera are also found on the W3 including the ability to set white balance and ISO as well as a powerful flash that will give ample light for night time people shots.

The W3 shoots in a number of modes and this can be overwhelming at first. The standard Auto, Program and Manual are all there plus 2 dedicated scene modes which allow you to choose from a  number of subject matters (sport, portrait, night, landscape etc.) which the camera then optimises its settings to suit. Though the mode that is of the most interest is the advanced 3D mode that allows you to shoot a first image (which is then overlayed on the screen) before adjusting camera position and shooting a second image resulting in a more dramatic 3D image.

A parallax control found on the top of the camera is a feature unique to the world of 3D. Whilst in Auto mode the camera automatically aligns the two captures for optimum viewing, however with the use of the parallax controller you are able to fine tune an images alignment for a more accurate sense of depth.

 

Image Quality


Image quality on the W3 is quite decent and comparable to any decently specced 2D compact camera. Internally the W3 is basically two cameras as to achieve its 3D effects it utilises two lenses and two sensors (1/ 2.3” CCD 10 megapixel). Although capable of shooting at up to 1600ISO I would honestly not push the camera above 800ISO as the resulting images will start to become badly affected by noise.

fujifilm20120614c.jpg3D images are produced in a format known as MPO (Multi Picture Format) and 2D images are in a typical J-PEG format commonly used by digital cameras. Both formats are viewable on any computer although you will obviously need a 3D enabled monitor or television if you want the 3D effects. The W3 allows you to choose from three different aspect ratios 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 and the largest resolution available is 4:3 L setting which will give you a generous 3648x2736 pixels.

As you would expect from a company who cut its teeth in producing film the skin tones are reproduced quite well and general colour saturation is kept in check.

 

Lens Quality


There are two lenses on the W3 in case you have not already realised! Both are Fujinon branded 3x optical zoom (35-105mm, 35mm equivalent) lenses with the largest aperture opening at F3.7.

Whilst there is not an incredible focal range available on the W3 it really is not a negative as the beauty in the 3D imagery looks its best at around 35mm as image elements suffer from less distortion. Focusing is relatively quick and there appears to be good sharpness from edge to edge.

 

LCD

 

fujifilm20120614d.jpgThe use of a 3” lenticular LCD screen is an absolute stand out selling point of the W3. It allows images to be viewed directly on camera at a very reasonable size without the need for glasses or a 3D TV.

The screen offers 100% coverage of the scene and has a dot pixel count that weighs in at 1,150,000! This is really high for those who are unsure and will set a benchmark for further 3D models. It is clear that Fujifilm have designed the W3 as not only a capturing device but also a playback device with such a solidly specced screen. Alternatively playback is also possible on a 3D specific TV thanks to a direct HDMI output.

 

Video

 

Video quality on the W3 is quite superb for a camera designed as a specific 3D capture device.
Offering up both 3D and standard 2D video, both of which can be recorded at a maximum 720p HD quality with decent stereo audio.

A negative aspect on the video front is that zooming is not possible and this may be because of the chaos it would create in trying to overlay two moving and zooming video files in camera.

 

 

 

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Conclusion


If 3D imagery is not for you then you really would benefit from a specific 2D camera, although if it is then the Fujifilm W3 is really the only 3D camera out there that offers you the ability to review your images straight away on the back of the camera, minus the glasses!

The big plusses aside from the obvious 3D benefits are that the W3 will still offer you enough 2D options to get through most shooting situations as well. Not to mention that it also includes decent 720P HD video recording option. In creating the W3 Fujifilm have shown that 3D imagery is more than just a cheap gimmick and I would expect to see more models in the W range in the future.
 

Accessories Used During Testing:
Tamrac Evolution Zoom 16 / 5715 Camera Bag 
SanDisk Extreme 30MB/s SD Card  

 

Recommended Retailer:

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Visit Ted's Cameras Online 

 

Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 3.5 stars
Image quality
3.5 stars
Video quality
3 stars
Lens quality
3 stars
View finder (EVF)
-
LCD screen (Rear)
4.5 stars
Value for money 3 star
Street Price $299
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 10 million pixels
Sensor Type
2x 1/2.3-inch CCD
Image Sizes 3 Sizes / 3 ratios/ 4 shooting options
Lens Type: Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens, F3.7(Wide) - F4.2(Telephoto)
Focal Length: f=6.3 - 18.9mm, equivalent to 35 - 105 mm on a 35mm camera
Lens Mount
-
Resolution Settings: Stills Still Image
L: <4:3> 3,648 x 2,736 pixels
L: <3:2> 3,648 x 2,432 pixels
L: <16:9> 3,584 x 2,016 pixels
M: <4:3> 2,592 x 1,944 pixels
M: <3:2> 2,592 x 1,728 pixels
M: <16:9> 2,560 x 1,440 pixels
S: <4:3> 2,048 x 1,536 pixels
S: <3:2> 2,016 x 1,344 pixels
S: <16:9> 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Resolution Settings: Video 1280 x 720 (24 frames/sec.)
40 x 480 pixels (30 frames/sec.)
320 x 240 pixels (30 frames/sec.) with stereo sound
* Zoom function cannot be used during movie recording.
* SD memory card with a class 6 write speed (6 MB/s) or better is recommended.
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds Night : 1/8sec. - 1/500sec.
Night (Tripod) : 3sec. - 1/500sec.
Manual : 1/2sec. - 1/1000sec.
All other modes including AUTO : 1/4sec. - 1/1000sec.
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO Auto(400) / Auto(800) / Auto(1600) / Equivalent to ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 (Standard Output Sensitivity) 
LCD Monitor 3.5-inch, Approx. 1,150,000 dots color LCD monitor with Lenticular type, Approx. 100% coverage 
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto flash. ffective range: (ISO 800)
Normal
Wide: Approx. 60cm - 3.6m / 2ft. - 11.8 ft.
Telephoto: Approx. 60cm - 3.1m / 2ft. - 10.2ft.
Macro
Wide: Approx. 30cm - 80cm / 1ft. - 2.6ft.
Telephoto: Approx. 60cm - 1.5m / 2ft. - 4.9ft.
Hot Shoe No
White Balance Automatic scene recognition
Preset: Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm white), Fluorescent light (Cool white), Incandescent light, Underwater lighting
Self Timer 10 sec. / 2 sec. delay
Stills Format/s
3D Still image:
MPO+JPEG, MPO (Multi Picture Format compatible)
2D Still image:
JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3 *3)
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
Video Format/s 3D Movie:
3D-AVI (Stereo AVI format with 2 image channels)
2D Movie:
AVI format (Motion JPEG with stereo sound)
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External Internal memory (Approx. 34MB)
SD memory card
SDHC memory card
Storage Type - Internal
34MB
Connectivity HD output: DMI 1.4-3D compliant, HDMI mini-terminal
Video output: TSC/PAL selectable
Digital interface: USB 2.0 High-Speed
Power Source Battery charger BC-45W
Battery Options Rechargeable NP-50 Li-ion battery
Battery Life Approx. 150 frames (3D AUTO mode with POWER SAVE 1)
Dimensions 124.0mm (W) x 65.9mm (H) x 27.8mm (D)
Weight Approx. 250g (inc. battery & memory card)











 


 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Fujifilm

 

FUJIFILM brings continuous innovation and leading-edge products to a broad spectrum of industries, including electronic imaging, photofinishing equipment, medical systems, life sciences, graphic arts, flat panel display materials, and office products, based on a vast portfolio of digital, optical, fine chemical and thin film coating technologies. The company was ranked number 15 for U.S. patents granted in 2006. Fujifilm is committed to environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship.

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