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3D Digital Cameras

written by: Kumara Velu•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 12/23/2010

When the digital camera was in its infancy, very few people would have predicted that one day it could go 3D. What are the types of 3D digital cameras currently available? What 3D digital camera models should you consider buying?

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    The year 2010 could be considered a 3D year, beginning with the release of the 3D blockbuster movie, Avatar, followed by the release of 3D HDTV with prices that are rapidly falling. The 3D craze has now, it seems, spilled over to the digital camera arena.

    There are two main types of digital 3D cameras available in the market – the double-lens and the single-lens cameras.The double-lens camera comes equipped with two lenses, as the name suggests, together with a pair of image sensors to help capture 3D photos.The single-lens camera, on the other hand, specializes in creating stereoscopic 3D photos with the help of the software built into the camera.
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    Let's now take a look at the models worth considering if you’re in the market for a 3D digital camera.
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    Sony 3D Digital Cameras

    Sony offers two 3D digital camera models – DSC-TX9 and DSC-WX5. At the time of writing, these are the smallest 3D cameras available in the market.

    Sony TX 9 The 3D technology employed by the cameras is the 3D Sweep Panorama. The technology allows you to snap an image in panorama mode in a single press-and-sweep motion.

    The frames captured in high speed are then stitched to form a 3D image. You can view the images in 2D over your computer or output to a 3D TV via a 3D-compatible HDMI cable. 3D glasses would also be required to view the images, though.

    Sony WX 5 If you don’t have a 3D TV, you can shoot in the Sweep Multi Angle mode, whereby you tilt the camera front and back while the camera captures up to 15 images. These images are then combined to give you the illusion of a 3D photo. You can then view the photo over the camera screen.

    At the time of writing, the recommended retail prices for TX9 and WX5 are USD 399 and USD 298 respectively.

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    Fujifilm FinePix W1

    Fuji FinePix W1 

    This model is popularly known as the world’s first 3D digital imaging system. This double-lens 3D camera comes with a pair of 10MP image sensors. One plus point about this model, is it allows you to view your 3D images over its screen without the need for 3D glasses.

    If you’re planning to view your 3D images over a large screen TV, you would be disappointed. FinePix W1 has no HDMI output for connection to a 3D TV. However, you can save your 3D images to a SD card and insert it into your TV or 3D Blu-ray player if it comes with an SD slot.

    If you don’t have a 3D TV or don’t fancy using 3D glasses to view your images, you can purchase the FujiFilm Real 3D Viewer, an 8-inch LCD display which doesn’t require you to wear special glasses to view your 3D images. There’s also a print service which delivers 3D photos to your doorstep, if you don’t mind paying $6.99 per print.

    FinePix W1 retails for $999.00 at Amazon.

    3D cameras may not have yet achieved the level of sophistication a photography buff would desire. However, if the 3D craze continues to capture the imagination of the public, camera manufacturers will surely work hard to push the limits of what 3D cameras can do.

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    Resources and Image Credits