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After many months of speculation, Fujifilm has officially announced the FinePix Real 3D W1 - the world's first true 3D digital camera.
"But wait a minute," you say. "Weren't 3D film cameras something of a flop? Weren't they silly gadgets that people used once, then set aside to gather dust?"
Pretty much. And that's why the folks at Fujifilm are hedging their bets. With a 3x optical zoom, 10 megapixel resolution and the ability to shoot in 2D, the Real 3D W1 is a servicable point-and-shoot digital camera.
Of course, it's a servicable point-and-shoot digital camera that will be selling for a reported $600 (with viewer).
And that's not the worst of it. Forget viewing your 3D masterpieces on your computer. You'll have to use Fujifilm's 8" viewer to take advantage of the camera's effects. Or pay Fujifilm to make special 3D prints on their "lenticular" paper. (They say the technology is too expensive to roll out in home printers.)
And, yes, the Real 3D W1 does shoot movies in 3D - which you can only watch in 3D on the camera's 2.8" LCD or Fujifilm's 8" viewer. So you can't share them with anyone unless you're there. (Or if they also shell out for Fujifilm's hardware.)
Finally, the Real 3D W1 comes with a warning: Take a 10-minute break from using 3D every half-hour. And if you're under 6 years old, or suffer from photosensitive epilepsy, heart disease, insomnia or several other conditions - including "fatigue" - don't use 3D.
In short, the Real 3D W1 is over-priced, of very limited use and potentially dangerous to your health. I really think Fujifilm - the maker of some very fine photographic equiment - has missed the boat with this one.