Most helpful positive review
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A fantastic 3D camcorder for the price
on December 14, 2012
I've used a Toshiba Camileo Z100 3D camcorder for several months, and am highly impressed with it. While it won't do quite everything that the thousand dollar plus 3D cameras will do, at a quarter of the price or less it can still do plenty, and it can shoot genuinely beautiful 3D (and 2D) video and still photos. My favorite 3D video modes are 1080p30 (you can watch on the built-in 3D display, or looks fantastic plugged into a 3D TV with an HDMI cable) and 720p60 (great for fast action scenes, and the only camcorder I know of for less than several thousand dollars that can shoot 3D at 60 frames per second). It has a considerable number of manual settings available, many of which work in 3D mode, including several exposure (auto, center, spot, backlight, night), ISO, and white balance settings. The filter effects are fun to play with - shoot 3D or 2D in black and white, sepia tone, or color negative (3D black flames and waterfalls). The still photos are great for viewing on a 3D TV or the web, or for printing in 2D at moderate enlargement (I wouldn't try a poster-size enlargement). To see what it's capable of, search for "Camileo Z100" on video or photo sharing sites - there are many spectacular videos and photos out there, either straight from the camera or edited using 3D editors.
The Z100 also has some nifty 2D-only modes, including slow motion and time lapse video.
The Z100 can do a fantastic job if you use it for the things it does best. A few tips:
(1) Focus is sharp from about 1 meter to infinity. Closer than 1 meter and your images may be out of focus.
(2) The stereo base (distance between the left and right lenses) appears to be about 28mm, pretty close to many other modern 3D cameras. That means the best 3D will be at close to medium range, maybe about 1 meter to 5 or 6 meters, though it still shows some depth at greater distances. I shot some nice 3D video of carnival rides with clouds in the background, and an object at 30 meters is visibly closer than an object at infinity. But fairly close up will show the best depth.
(3) The camera is digital zoom only, no optical zoom (well you can't get everything at this price). This means that the more you zoom the more the image quality is reduced. Some people use the digital zoom, but I prefer to shoot full wide angle to get the very best image quality.
(4) There's no optical image stabilization. If you shoot video full wide angle and have a steady hand it can do a good job handheld, but if you want really rock-solid steady video (maybe for a professional production), it's best to use a tripod or camera stabilizer (actually that's good advice for any camcorder).
(5) The best lighting appears to be in sunlight with the sun at your back, though the camera does surprisingly well indoors with the lights on, or outdoors after sunset or at night with streetlights.
(6) While the basic modes are pretty simple to use, it's best to read the manual to learn about the optional settings and how to use them.
There are more capable 3D camcorders available, but at several times the price. At the price the Z100 is good for someone who's starting in 3D or for teaching a kid how to shoot 3D, but it's also a great second 3D camera for someone who has higher end equipment - small, portable, and as I mentioned before it can shoot 720p60 in 3D (which no other consumer camera I know of can do) as well as 1080p30. I rate the Z100 five stars for the beautiful 3D imagery it's capable of producing, and the many features it provides for the price.