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Fujifilm Develops 3D Camera

Fujifilm has announced it has developed a 3D imaging system that allows photographs to be taken in 3D, digitally displayed in 3D and even printed in 3D. By providing all the needed components of 3D imaging in one complete system, Fujifilm’s broad approach could be the first to successfully bring 3D photography to the mainstream. Despite there being no commercial products currently set for release, details about the Fujifilm Real 3D system have been revealed.

The first component of Fujifilm’s Real 3D system is the 3D camera. The camera features two identical compact lenses and two identical new high-quality imaging sensors that Fujifilm claims, “will take image quality to levels hitherto undreamed of.“ When in 3D-auto mode, the camera is able to determine what shared shooting condition is optimal for both sensors and synchronize that settings across both. After the shutter is triggered, the camera automatically combines the data from both CCD sensors into a single high-quality image. Apparently 3D movies are also possible to create.

While the camera can take 3D photos and movies, its 2.8-inch LCD screen can only display 2D images like a regular digital camera. For actually seeing the photographs in 3D however, Fujifilm has developed an 8.4-inch LCD 3D photo frame with 920,000-pixels. Curiously, if the screen displays two different images at once to achieve the 3D effect, it may mean the effective display resolution of the photo frame would be limited to 410,000-pixels. What is known about the 3D photo frame though is that it can display either 3D or 2D images and it uses a “light direction control module” to make 3D viewing possible without the need for special glasses.

The third aspect of Fujifilm’s 3D system is a new printing solution that allows 3D photos to be printed and viewed without the need for special glasses. Not many details are provided, but the 3D effect is achieved by the use of fine pitch lenticular sheets, which is by no means a new technology. Lenticular sheets have long been used to create animation effects on toys, such as those found in Cracker Jack snack boxes.

Lastly, it seems that 2D photographers will also benefit from Fujifilm’s new 3D system, as a camera with two lenses and two CCD sensors can be used for taking more than just 3D photos. Possibilities include being able to take a wide-angled shot at the same time as taking a telephoto shot or being able to take photos while also recording video. It could even be possible to take two photos at the same time, each with a different exposure setting, giving rise to high dynamic range photo abilities.

There is no mention of when we might expect to see Fujifilm’s Real 3D system in stores, if ever. Although 3D cameras, 3D displays and 3D photographs are not really new ideas, offering such products together as a complete system might entice consumers enough into giving it a try. With television and movies also heading in the direction of 3D, it is unlikely Fujifilm will be the last company to develop a consumer 3D system of its own.