One look at the front of the Fujifilm FinePix REAL 3D W1 will tell you this isn’t just another point-and-shoot digital camera. The Fuji W1 is the final version of a product at last year’s Photokina tradeshow, with a restyled body that’s noticeably sleeker and more attractive. Beneath its sliding front panel lie two separate lenses with a base line length (distance between each lens’ central axis) of 77mm. In between these two lenses are a pair of microphones that together provide for stereo audio, along with a single flash strobe at the mid-point between the lenses. Each lens has its own separate 1/2.3-inch CCD image sensor with an effective resolution of ten megapixels. In concert, the two lens / sensor pairs can be used simultaneously to capture either still images or video for 3D viewing. This is the Fuji FinePix W1’s big selling point, differentiating it from pretty much every other compact camera on the market.
An integral component of the REAL 3D W1’s 3D capabilities is its brand-new Real Photo 3D image processor, which is capable of synchronizing shutter release to within 0.001 second precision, as well as the lens zoom position, and takes account of information from both sensors when determining exposure variables such as exposure, focus point, white balance, etc. Taking full advantage of the 3D capability, Fujifilm has included an unusual capability in the FinePix W1’s 230,000 dot, 2.8-inch LCD display. As the name might imply, “Light Direction Control” allows the display to control light directed towards the viewer’s right and left eyes separately when the display is viewed from the correct angle and distance. In turn, this allows images from each lens / sensor combo to be shown sequentially, directed only to the intended eye, allowing the viewer to perceive a 3D image on the LCD display without the need for any special glasses or extra hardware.
The Fuji Real 3D W1 can shoot in either 2D and 3D modes, capturing 4:3 or 3:2 aspect ratio still images to a maximum of 3,648 x 2,736 pixel resolution, as well as 30 frames-per-second movies at up to standard-definition VGA (640 x 480 pixel) resolution. Metering modes include 256-segment multi, average or spot, and exposure modes are Program, Aperture-priority or Manual, plus eighteen scene modes. ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 1,600 equivalents, and between the various shooting modes, shutter speeds from 1/1000 to three seconds are available. At its full resolution, one frame per second burst shooting is possible in 2D mode. 3D shooting is possible as fast as two frames per second if the resolution is dropped to three megapixels, while 2D shooting at the same resolution allows three frames per second. The Fuji W1 includes multi / center AF with face detection, and in 2D mode only, Macro focusing is possible to as close as 3.3 inches (8 centimeters). Ordinarily the Fujifilm REAL 3D W1 can focus to two feet (60 centimeters), and it should be noted that Multi AF is only available in 2D mode, and with Face Detection disabled.
As well as its 3D features, the W1 offers several 2D-mode features that take advantage of the dual lenses and sensors. These include the ability to simultaneously capture still images with different zoom settings, different sensitivities, or different color modes. The FinePix REAL 3D W1 stores images and videos on SD or SDHC cards, as well as in 42MB of built-in memory. Still images are saved in JPEG format (JPEG compressed Multi Picture Object for 3D), while movies are saved using AVI Motion JPEG compression (dual-stream AVI-3D for 3D videos). Power comes from an NP-95 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery, and connectivity includes both standard-definition NTSC/PAL video output and USB 2.0 High Speed data transfer.
The Fuji FinePix W1 is available in the USA immediately, priced at around $600. Alongside the camera, Fuji has also launched a 3D photo viewer priced at $500 which uses a parallax barrier system to allow 3D viewing of images without the need for special glasses or other extra hardware. In addition, 3D prints using a fine-pitch lenticular sheet over the paper surface will be offered later this month, priced at about $7 each from Fujifilm’s website.