3D camcorder & 3D camera buying guide

3D camcorder & 3D camera buying guide

We compare the latest 3D cameras and 3D camcorders to hit the market. Plus, a list of 3D cameras coming to market in Australia.

3D is the latest technology to hit the digital imaging landscape. Whether you're looking to upgrade your camcorder or digital compact camera, there is a host of options available that come with 3D capabilities.

While often dismissed as a gimmick, 3D imaging definitely has its appeal. It is especially suited to families with young children, giving you the ability to capture important milestones in 3D, such as baby's first steps. It turns regular home movies and happy snaps into something you can almost reach out and touch. This might not sound like a big deal now, but what about in twenty years time when your kids are all grown up?

FujiFilm FinePix REAL 3D W3 digital compact camera

In the following article, we take a brief look at this new technology and compare some of the new 3D cameras and 3D camcorders that are about to hit the market.

What you need to get started

Buying a 3D camera or 3D camcorder is only part of the puzzle. To view your 3D movies and photos, you will also need a 3D-capable TV, laptop or monitor.

[Note: There are a few exceptions to this rule that let you preview 3D content on their inbuilt displays. Examples include the Sony HDR-TD10 camcorder and FujiFilm FinePix REAL 3D W3 camera. However, to fully appreciate the 3D effect, you're still going to need a larger screen.]

Most major television manufacturers now offer a range of 3D-capable TVs – and they’re cheaper than you might expect. For instance, you can currently pick up a 50in Samsung Plasma 3D TV from JB Hi-Fi for just $1296. Naturally, you can also use these TVs to watch 3D television broadcasts.

Read our comprehensive overview of Sony's 3D TV Bravia range for 2011 here.

If you own a 3D camcorder and want to make 3D discs of your movies, you will also need to purchase a 3D Blu-ray recorder. Pricing for these products currently starts at around $500.

You will also need to wear a pair of 3D 'active shutter' television glasses, which block the vision from alternating eyes in time with alternating frames. These are usually provided in the sales package with a 3D TV.

How 3D works

3D lenses attempt to replicate ‘visual disparity’ - the natural process that merges images in our left and right eye. This tricks our brain into seeing depth and solidity in a 2D image.

The majority of digital compact cameras achieve visual disparity by taking two shots of the same subject from slightly different positions, and then automatically merging the captured images as a single 3D photo.

The FujiFilm FinePix REAL 3D W3 imaging process in action.

Most consumer-level 3D camcorders come equipped with a dual 3D lens. This may be permanently fixed to the front of the camera, or it could be detachable, and perhaps sold as an optional accessory.


Panasonic HDC-SD900 3D conversion lens (sold seperatey)

Below, we've assembled a table of the most recent 3D camcorders and 3D cameras to be announced by vendors. Check out the specifications to see how they compare:

3D camcorders:

Model JVC Everio GS-TD1
Panasonic HDC-SD900
Sony HDR-TD10
Sony Bloggie 3D

Price TBA $1499 (3D lens sold seperately) $2099 $499
Video format MVC, AVCHD
3D LCD display
No Yes No
3D lens type
Fixed Detachable Fixed Fixed
Inbuilt memory
 Yes No  Yes (64GB)
 Yes (8GB)
Optical zoom
5x 12x  10x No
Maximum resolution
1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 (x2) 1920x1080
Weight N/A 395g  645g  120g
Dimensions N/A
66x72x146mm  74x871x49mm  55x108x17mm
Release date April, 2011
Available now
April, 2011
May, 2011


3D digital compact cameras:

Model Sony Cybershot WX10
Panasonic Lumix FX78
FujiFilm FinePix REAL 3D W3 Olympus TG-810

Price $399 TBA $599 $599
12.1MP 10MP 14MP
3D Video
No Yes No
3D display
No Yes  Yes  No
Lens type
24mm wide angle Sony G Lens 24mm Leica DC Vario-Summarit
Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens 28mm Wide Angle Lens
Memory format
Optical zoom
7x 5x  3x 5x
Weight 161g 142g  230g 221g
Dimensions 95x54x23mm 100x55x20mm   66x124x29mm  64x98x24mm
Release date March, 2011
April, 2011
April, 2011
May, 2011

Further reading:

Which Bravia? We compare Sony's 3D TV range for 2011

Opinion: 3D TV business is booming - but are we seeing the full picture?

3D camcorders: gimmick or game changer?

Asus unveils 'glasses-free' 3D gaming laptop



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