If you are ready to start capturing your memories with a whole new level of depth – literally – then the Panasonic Lumix 3D1 is the 3D camera for you. While many cameras have incorporated software that will extrapolate a 3D image with a little work, this is one of the few cameras designed – inside and out – for dramatic, realistic 3D photos. It starts with a foundation of solid functionality and adds stellar features to earn the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award.
The Panasonic Lumix 3D1 packs 12.1 megapixels into its resolution, and has a 4x optical zoom. That may not seem like much compared to some of today's superzoom cameras, but keep in mind that binocular vision – the way the human eye forms a 3D image – only applies up to about 40 feet away. Anything more distant is flat to the naked eye, as well as in a 3D photograph. So superzoom cameras are no better at creating 3D images than low-zoom cameras.
The dual lenses on the Lumix 3D1 take two photographs, one left and one right, and they are merged into one image to create a 3D photo. Unlike software-based 3D modes, both images are taken simultaneously, which eliminates the risk that movement of something in the frame between shots will ruin the 3D effect.
The 3D1 has an aperture ranging from F3.9 to F13, which gives the photographer a larger viewing space than a 35 mm camera. With an ISO sensitivity of up to 3200, the camera can capture sharp shots in a variety of lighting conditions.
Not only can the Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1K take 3D images, it can capture 3D movies, 2D stills and HD movies as well. The 3.5-inch LCD monitor on the back of the camera is not 3D capable, so although you can preview the movie, it won’t be in 3D. You also won’t be able to see pictures in 3D on your camera’s preview screen, but you can see the right or the left image. To view the merged 3D image or the 3D video, you must have a 3D image viewer, whether that's a 3D TV or another 3D-enabled device. Simply remove the 3D camera’s SD card and insert into your compatible viewer. You can also connect the 3D1 via an HDMI output or a USB 2.0 port. Both the HD movies and 2D stills can be previewed normally on the Panasonic Lumix 3D1 or as a slide show. With 70MB of internal storage space and the SD/SDHC memory card slot, you can capture tons of memories.
When first using the Panasonic Lumix 3D1, you can easily lean on the auto mode to take beautiful pictures. It will automatically sense lighting and exposure needs and will even recognize individual faces, bringing them into focus. Once you’ve gotten the hang of your fancy new camera, there are several modes to choose from. Whether shooting a landscape scene, a close-up portrait or an intense sporting event, there is a setting to correspond. One option, intelligent handheld nightshot, helps you create perfectly illuminated night shots by layering consecutively shot images, all without using a tripod.
Weighing 6.88 ounces, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1K is stealthily compact and easy to use. As with most point-and-shoot cameras, you can choose to include a date and time stamp on each of your pictures. You can also set the camera on a self-timer to take group shots or even pictures of yourself. The 3D camera will automatically reduce red-eye and has an anti-blur feature. But the coolest feature is the ability to use the LCD touchscreen to edit your pictures right on the camera. After you’ve edited the images, you can then share them automatically with your Facebook friends by connecting via USB to your computer. HD videos can also be uploaded instantaneously to YouTube.
Because the Panasonic Lumix 3D1 has a dual lens for capturing an image in 3D, when in 2D mode, the extra lens doesn’t have to go unused. You can take advantage of the functionality by recording HD video and taking 2D stills at the same time. What an awesome way to capture a memory, with video and pictures of the same moments. On the bottom of the 3D camera, you’ll find a tripod socket which will allow you, the photographer, to be in on the action. When not in use for a period of time, the 3D1 will automatically shut off, saving battery power.
While we think one year is a pretty dismal warranty, it is the standard across the board for every 3D camera we reviewed. Panasonic makes up for it, though, with stellar customer support. A great deal of information, including FAQs, is located right on the product page. If you need more assistance, each page is equipped with a “Need Assistance with your Order?” box. This box includes a link to email support, a toll-free phone number and a link to chat with a representative live. We spoke with a customer support representative via the live chat function and were satisfied with the quality of help we received. We also contacted Panasonic via the email form and did not receive a response back. If you're in need of immediate assistance, we would recommend using the live chat feature. Panasonic’s website is also lacking tutorial videos of the Panasonic Lumix 3D1, which are available for some other models on competing manufacturers' websites.
Allow your captured memories to break free of their 2D, flat display and enter the lifelike 3D world enabled by the Panasonic Lumix 3D1 3D camera. With the 3D1, you can still shoot 2D images, HD video and 3D video and 3D pictures. Several different modes allow you to alter settings for different occasions, automatically fixing improper exposure and reducing red-eye. The 3.5-inch touchscreen also makes it possible to edit your photos in-camera and share them simply by connecting the 3D camera to your computer.