With 3D movies becoming nearly the norm in theaters and the technology finally coming into its own, plenty of amateur enthusiasts want to get in on the action, adding extra depth to their still shots and even videos. With the aid of a 3D television or image viewer, you can see all your own visual creations come to life. Some don't even require special glasses to see the effect. We have created a side-by-side comparison of the best 3D cameras available today and have provided articles on 3D cameras to help you make up your mind. Take a particularly close look at standouts Panasonic Lumix 3D 1, Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 and Panasonic Lumix ZS 30.
Only a few cameras that focus primarily on 3D images also meet our standards of quality. But there are also a host of other excellent cameras, from pocket point-and-shoots to more sophisticated superzoom units, that use built-in software effects to stitch together two photos into a 3D image. Our top picks are the Panasonic Lumix 3D1, FujiFilm FinePix Real 3D W3 and Panasonic Lumix ZS30. These cameras are functional, feature-rich and take great shots for your headache-free viewing pleasure. Here are the criteria we concentrated on in our evaluations:
If a 3D camera doesn't produce a high-quality image, it certainly won't be able to create realistic 3D effects. Look for a camera with high resolution – ideally 16 megapixels or more – and an aperture range similar to 35 mm cameras – a minimum of F3.5 for wide-angle and F5.5 for telephoto. Low-light shots will require a lot of light sensitivity, so look for a unit that has a high ISO range. While shots will look grainy at the upper end of a camera's ISO range, which will throw off 3D effects, high numbers tend to indicate that midrange settings will produce clear, solid images. \
Shutter speed is also important: a quick shutter speed makes for clear, crisp photos. Optical zoom is also worth taking into account, especially if this will be your general purpose camera – although for the purpose of taking 3D shots it's less important, as images that must be captured with an ultra-high zoom are probably not within the limits of human depth perception anyway.
With a 3D camera you get double functionality for the price of one camera. Depending on which mode you select, you can take 3D video, HD video, 3D stills and 2D stills. Look for a 3D camera with a fairly large (at least 3-inch) LCD touchscreen. A large screen means an easy-to-use interface for selecting different picture settings. Like DLSR cameras, 3D cameras can be adjusted for any occasion you need to capture. You can always default to auto mode, but landscape, night, beach, portrait and sport are a few of the other options to choose from. Internal memory is a must, but those cameras with an SD or SDHC memory card slot are even better – adding to the number of pictures and videos you can take and store. An SD card slot also means an additional means of transferring pictures from camera to computer. Look for HDMI and USB outputs as well.
The 3D cameras available today are not your ordinary point-and-shoot camera. These versatile devices have features like red eye reduction, anti-blur, blink detection and exposure correction built right in – no photo editing software needed. The best 3D cameras even allow you to edit (crop, resize, rotate, etc.) right there on the camera. You can still include a date and time stamp on your pictures, but you can also select a GPS-enabled location stamp. A self-timer feature allows the photographer to be in the picture for a change.
Help & Support
As with any electronic device, you need good help and support from the manufacturer. Look for a 3D camera with at least a one-year warranty, online tutorial videos and several ways to contact technical support (i.e., phone, online chat and email).
The world of electronics is exploding in 3D, and now your most important events can, too. Grab a 3D camera and capture your life in motion.
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