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120 of 122 people found the following review helpful
1,500 pictures in...
, October 17, 2010
I must say that I love this camera. I followed the W1 when it first came out and was waiting for it to be offered direct to the U.S. and not be an imported item from Japan. From what I have read the improvements are nice (but not significant - at least for what I have used).
I bought this specifically to go on a trip to Civil War Battlefields and take pictures. I got the camera a few weeks ahead of time and started taking pictures right away. Prior to the trip I took took about 200 hundred pictures to get used to it. During the trip I took an additional 1451, so I feel that I have a pretty good feel for its abilities.
As many have stated, the 3D ability is second to none. I liked being able to carry it easily (I bought a small case that attaches to my belt). The screen is large and bright and the controls are easy to learn (I have only used Canon cameras before). It worked really well when you follow the suggestions of having your principal subject about 4-8 feet and then one or two more rows of depth behind. I also found that it worked well when I am shooting down on something. An image I took on the first day of a fire hydrant shot from above at a 45 degree angle is fantastic and I was just playing, but at that angle there is something all the way from top to bottom.
The 3D lens is amazing. It is so cool to show it to people. I have not had one person that realized that I was taking 3D pictures until I showed them and all of them were just blown away with the results. Even after 1500+ images I am still thrilled with that feature.
At first my macro shots were terrible. Others have mentioned poor results. My desire was to try shooting my keyboard from close up. Since it has two lenses I got a view in one image of the left keys and in the other the right side of the keyboard. Obviously not what I wanted. I did not think that I would be able to use it for macro work until I found the Advanced 3D option. At first this seemed kind of pointless. The "advanced" mode only shoots images from one lens (left) and then you have to manually move the camera to take the next image. I could not believe that this was the "advanced" mode, the neat thing about the camera was the ability to do both lenses at the same time. When I applied it to macro mode though it really shined. I took a few coins and put them on the table and took an image and then moved the camera very slightly and took the next image. Using the adjustment feature to adjust alignment I got a stunning image of coins that looks like I had giant coins made for the picture! Since then I have done a lot of macro work and with careful attention to detail you can get amazing results.
I have used the movie mode, but only on a limited basis as it is not as much fun since you can not zoom and moving around makes you dizzy in 3D. The movie mode is good and works well for what it is, I just do not have that much experience.
I have found that when you take a picture it is a good idea to press the shutter 1/2 way, the image will "jump" to a 3D view and you can then frame the subject easier than if you just clicked it. Several times this has saved me from cutting off parts of my subject.
I also really love the flash. I can take a flash image and be ready for the next flash in 2-3 seconds. My Canon is much slower between shots.
2D and 3D at the same time! When you take an image, you get both a regular JPG and a 3D (MPO) format at the same time. While it is possible to turn this to save space on your memory card I find it invaluable to use to find a specific image (2D and 3D will have the same name with different extensions).
The screen can be VERY difficult to see in bright light. I know this would defeat the purpose of 3D, but it would be nice to have a small view finder that you could put your eye up to in addition to the screen when the light is too bright. Many other cameras suffer from this same thing, and I have always bought ones that gave me a view finder option. Since there is no other 3D cameras, that was not an option.
Supplied Memory. The camera does have a built in memory but it will only last for 3-4 pictures at the largest setting. I bought a 16Gb card and have been very happy with it, but be prepared to get a card if you don't have one. To access the memory card you need to open the battery compartment this can be a little clumsy.
2D image quality. While I purchased this solely for the 3D features I was surprised at just how poor the 2D images are. I love the 3D feature, but would be sending it back if I purchased it for it's 2D ability.
Battery. Some love it some don't. I think the battery is a bit under powered. I purchased two backup batteries and often go through all of them in one day. So far (thankfully) I have not drained all of them before I had the chance to recharge. If you use flash a lot (and 3D images are best with a lot of light) you might want to pick up a few extras.
Supplied software. This is THE most useless piece of the Camera. I installed it but could not get it to show me the image in 3D! Fortunately I had Stereo Photo Maker(SPM)installed and it does wonders. I set it as my default for MPO files and I love it. I would recommend this free download for anyone with this camera. There is also a Stereo Movie Maker (same source), it works well, but is tricky to install and I do not use the movie mode that much.
The strap can be a problem. While it is nice and comfortable, it is very loose around the wrist. I actually had it slip off and drop three feet to a concrete floor (thankfully no damage). I would like to see something similar to my Canon that has a little adjustment piece that lets you tighten the strap on your wrist after you slip you hand through.
Saving/Not saving certain settings. I took a number of pictures on a tripod (inside museums) and used the 2 second delay feature. As soon as you take a shot it immediately disables this feature. That means if you are taking a series of shots you need to reset the timer every time. If you are trying to do time lapse this can be really frustrating since activating the timer bumps the camera from your desired position. I would like the feature to be active until I change it or shut the camera down. Certain other features stay even after you turn the camera off. For example the flash setting stays off until you manually change it. Nice that it did not follow the logic of the timer delay, but would have been nice if it reset when you turned the camera off. If you turn off the 3D mode it will stay off, it is a one press of the button, so it is easy to do. Movie mode is the same way.
Dial slips. A few times I found the dial slipped from the last time I took it out of the case and started it. This is annoying and caused a few missed shots.
ASA settings can be set differently for each setting of the dial. I found it crazy that I kept having to check what my settings were since they were not global to the camera.
Along those lines, it would be nice to have a remote fire option so I don't have to bump it at all. Wireless would be nice, but even a small cable would be fine.
It is easy to put your finger in front of the lens. This was my #1 reason for wasted shots. Fortunately I had gotten in the habit of holding it between my index and thumb and not gripping it on the sides like most cameras by the time I left for my trip. I did make a few mistakes, but not many.
Tripod mount is off center. Due to the placement of the battery and memory card the mount for the tripod is way off center. I do a lot of panorama work with my 2D cameras and considered doing it with this camera, but the placement of the mount is so far off that will be very difficult.
Zoom. Forget it, this is only a 3x lens. The 3D effect still works well at 3x, but you just can not get close enough. I would like an 8, 10 or 12 x optical zoom. The zoom should also be able to work in movie mode
LCD photo frame price. As of this date (October 2010) the photo frame to show images in 3D is $500! Get it to $100 and make it bigger than 8". Also, printing is difficult to find you have to use their "seehere" website and then instead of using the "prints" option you have to use "photo gifts" area to find 3D prints. I actually had to submit a help ticket to find it. Guess they don't sell a lot of images, just cameras.
I rated this down to a 4 for two reasons:
1. The screen can be nearly impossible in bright sun. Several shots were wasted because I could not properly frame the subject.
2. 2D image quality (while not the primary use) is poor. Since the images are essentially made of a pair of 2D images I would like the lenses to be better. This is listed as a 10Mb camera, but if you want to use it in wide screen mode (default option) the camera will be lowered to a 7Mb image. In the 10Mb mode it chops it off in the viewfinder (traditional 4x3 image ratio). You think it would be 10Mb for widescreen, but its not. When I look at the results of the left and right image seperately I notice that one is slightly out of focus with the other. You don't notice it till you go to 100% of image size, but it becomes obvious when you have to manually align images.
I love the camera. Just wish some of these things had been improved from the previous version. While I noted many cons, I wanted to be objective and hope that some of these ideas will be in future versions.