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Last night in New York City, Fujifilm took the wraps off its second-generation 3D digital still camera. The Fujifilm FinePix REAL 3D W3 looks exactly like its predecessor, but is now priced under $500 and can record 720p 3D videos to its internal SD memory card.

Fujifilm's FinePix REAL 3D W3

Here are the key specifications:

- Two 10-megapixel CCD sensors

- Dual FUJINON 3x optical zoom lenses (35-105mm)

- 75mm interocular distance

- Mini HDMI 1.4 connector for 3D TV playback

- Synchronized shutters

- 3.5-inch autostereoscopic LCD display with lenticular surface

The REAL 3D W3 can also be used as a 2D camera. You can shoot close-up and wide angle views of the same subject simultaneously. Or, you can shoot one view in color, and the other in black and white. Or, shoot one scene with normal light sensitivity and the other with higher sensitivity. Pretty cool!

I had a chance to test-drive one at the event, held at the American Museum of Natural History. Fuji handed out cameras to numerous journalists and we wandered among the skeletons of prehistoric mammals, trying for interesting perspective views. I also set up some of the press people in different perspectives to try and get a 3D feel. (All photos were taken with the FinePix REAL3D W3)

Veteran consumer electronics journalist Ken Sander takes the FinePix REAL 3D W3 for a test drive

My best effort was to switch to 3D video mode and walk from the main hall all way the way back to the Astor Turret, where several LCD 3D TVs were set up for viewing our efforts. This long “unsteadicam” shot provided the best 3D effects as I moved the camera over people’s shoulders and around them, dodging around pillars.

I have to say I was more impressed with the 3D still photos than the 3D video clips. The 3D effect was much more pronounced in still mode, but of course the resolution of left and right eye images was much higher. In video mode, I didn’t see as much depth and in fact spotted some crosstalk during the clip.

(Unfortunately, we had to give the cameras back. (Oh, well…) However, we did get to keep our 4GB Fuji SD memory cards loaded with left and right eye views, as well as our video clips.

Fujifilm set up five LCD 3D TVs so we could check out the results of our shooting

The FinePix REAL 3D W3 is an intriguing product, although I suspect buyers will wind up using it more for its 2D camera features. The dual-perspective mode should prove to be very popular – you just won’t miss the shot.

As of this writing, the specs weren’t posted on the Fujifilm Web site, but you should be able to find them soon at http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/. The camera should be available at Best Buy in September, with other major retailers to follow shortly.

Posted by Pete Putman, August 18, 2010 7:18 AM

About Pete Putman

Peter Putman is the president of ROAM Consulting L.L.C. His company provides training, marketing communications, and product testing/development services to manufacturers, dealers, and end-users of displays, display interfaces, and related products.

Pete edits and publishes HDTVexpert.com, a Web blog focused on digital TV, HDTV, and display technologies. He is also a columnist for Pro AV magazine, the leading trade publication for commercial AV systems integrators.