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Fujifilm bring 3D center stage with new camera

Posted: 01 Oct 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D? video? camera consumer?

If you still think 3D video is just a gimmick, think again. The more aggressively Hollywood studios pursue their plans to bring 3D movies home, the more determined Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers have become not to miss the opportunity.

Fujifilm unveiled last week (Sept.26) a working prototype of 3D consumer camera at Photokina, a photography show in Cologne, Germany. Over the weekend, the Japanese company's 3D camera already generated a lot of press here for the gadget happy nation.

Fujifilm's new compact camera, integrated with dual lenses and dual 6Mpixel CCDs, is capable of capturing 3D still images and 3D moving pictures. More importantly, it is also capable of playing back, on its own 2.8-inch LCD, 3D images that can be viewed without using 3D glasses.

The Japanese company told EE Times that it plans to launch the 3D consumer camera in 2009 both on domestic and international markets.

Beyond the 3D camera, Fujifilm plans to roll out a digital photo frame with an 8.4-inch LCD (920,000 pixels), capable of displaying 3D images that require no 3D glasses. Further, the Japanese film giant is pondering on the introduction of a new 3D printing service.

Fujifilm's new 3D camera, called "FinePix Real 3D System," operates on the same, fundamental principle as that used by any 3D cameras. It captures 3D images by using two lensesone for the left images and the other for the right images.

But what's new here, the company stressed, is the camera's ability to produce much more natural 3D images "just as they were seen by naked eyes."

Key parts
Fujifilm claims to have internally developed three key components: a new, home-grown 3D image processor called "Real Photo Processor 3D"; new lenses; and a new module called "Light Direction Control System" to be installed in the back of an LCD unit.

The Real Photo Processor 3D is critical to synchronizing and blending both dual images left and rightcaptured by dual CCDs for still images and movies. The processor's built-in "3D auto" feature calibrates optimal shooting conditions from both sensors.

Once the shutter is pressed, the processor synchronizes "focus, zoom range and exposure," said the company. The new camera also comes with a built-in synchronization control, offering 0.001 second precision for shutter control and movie synchronization, Fujifilm added.

The Japanese company also developed special identical compact lenses for the 3D camera in order to ensure complete conformity between the left and right images.

Fujifilm claims that the company-developed "Light Direction Control System" plays a key role in substantially reducing screen flickering and image deterioration on 3D images when displayed on an LCD.

The Light Direction Control module will be used in the back of an LCD for the 3D digital photo frame and for the monitor embedded in the 3D camera. Capturing 3D images may not be the only application for a camera with dual lenses.

The Japanese company hopes to exploit its dual lens capability for taking two pictures at the same timeone for telephoto and another for wideor shooting ultrawide panoramic pictures.

- Junko Yoshida
EE Times

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