Rupert Grint Biography: 3D Camera Review

Rupert Grint clicks with a digital 3D camera

Last updated at 10:00 PM on 17th April 2010

The Harry Potter star tests the first 3D compact camera that could turn you into James Cameron

I love getting my hands on the newest gadgets. I’m always fascinated by what’s new and exciting, so I was keen to get behind the lenses of the world’s first 3D digital compact camera. My first impression of the Fujifilm W1 3D? It’s quite big and chunky. It’s got an extra lens and a big screen so I guess that’s unavoidable, but it’s not over-the-top huge.

Start shooting and the first thing you notice is that the 3D display on the back of the camera creates a rather strange optical effect: you have to strain your eyes a little and it can take some getting used to.

The camera uses two lenses, and the LCD screen is constructed so as to send a separate image to each eye, which creates the 3D effect. If you don’t look at the monitor straight on, you won’t get the illusion of depth.

You can use the Fujifilm W1 for regular 2D photos and video. When in this setting, the camera uses only one of its two lenses (although there are some clever options that let you take simultaneous 2D photographs with different settings for each lens – ie, one can be full colour and one monochrome).

But switching over to the 3D mode opens up a whole new world. Shooting 3D video was the most impressive aspect of it; this really showed off what the camera is capable of. You are free to move with the camera and try more ambitious shots. I experimented, trying to capture objects moving towards you, and seemingly coming at you out of the screen when played back. I was impressed; it worked surprisingly well.

You can use the Fujifilm W1 for regular 2D photos and video

Images can look a little strange through the view-finder; you have to hold the camera very steady, otherwise you get a kind of double vision, with a bit of motion blur in the background. Imagine watching a 3D film without the special glasses.

There are a few other downsides to the camera. The main drawback is that you can’t download images to your PC and view them there. The only way to get the 3D effect is to display pictures on the camera’s screen, on an optional 3D digital viewing frame, or by ordering special lenticular prints from Fujifilm. The frame is very simple to use and is great for showing off 3D – but it costs a whopping £399, which is not far off the cost of the camera itself.

For the prints, you have to log in to the Fuji website and upload your photographs; they then print them out for you. The prints look like the little hologram cards you used to get in cereal packets, and they’re not cheap either: £3.99 per 6x4in print, plus £4.99 for delivery, which takes 20 days.

Also, it’s not possible to take 3D pictures in portrait orientation because the technology relies on using two horizontal lenses to make up the complete image. The camera display and the viewing screen are landscape orientated and can’t be changed. You need to be looking at the image in the same orientation as it was taken for the 3D effect to work properly.

If you have it in auto mode, it’s a simple enough point-and-shoot, but to get the best results you might need to play around with the settings. You can alter the scale of the 3D effect by tweaking the parallax settings (basically the amount of overlap between the two initial images), or create a 3D image by photographing the same object from two different angles, which requires you to keep a steady hand and judge it just right.

Taking 3D photos only really works for quite a specific kind of shot: you need to have a decent depth of field in the picture, so close-ups or distance shots don’t do it justice. If everything is more or less the same distance from the camera you don’t need 3D at all, and using it can make the image look slightly confused.

When you do get a good 3D shot though, it’s very impressive. As with the video, if you find the right angle and the right subject matter you can take some really stunning photos.

* The W1 uses two lenses spaced the same distance apart as human eyes, and two separate image sensors, creating a ‘left eye’ and ‘right eye’ image that, combined, give the illusion of depth.

* The processor inside the camera then interlaces the two shots, so one vertical line of the shot is left eye, the next right eye, and so on. Lenticular 3D screens can separate the ‘stripes’ to create the two images necessary for 3D vision.

* When viewing shots via the phone’s screen or Fujifilm’s own viewer, the interlaced shot is shown behind a ‘grid’ of slanted ‘blinds’ that channel one set of ‘stripes’ to your left eye, and another set of ‘stripes’ to your right eye. An illusion of depth is created from the double image.

* The downside to this sort of 3D – and why it’s not used in cinemas – is that you have to be directly in front of the screen for the effect to work. If you move slightly to the side, it blurs.

Rupert Grint’s new film ‘Cherrybomb’ is in cinemas on April 23, and he also appears in ‘Wild Target’ on June 18.

Source | Scan