Panasonic is heading for the next dimension. Its latest piece of 3D kit is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1, a compact camera that can not only shoot tri-dee photos and videos, it can record two different things at the same time.
The Lumix 3D1 packs not one but two 25mm wide-angle lenses. When you're shooting 3D, each lens records a slightly different image and combines the two to form a 3D picture or video, mimicking the effect of your two eyes. You can then watch the 3D footage on a Panasonic Viera 3D TV, or any other 3D telly.
And when you're not after a 3D effect, the two lenses can be used as two separate standard lenses. Start filming a 1,920x1,080-pixel high-definition video and you can also snap 8-megapixel photos at the same time.
You can also use one lens to capture a wide shot of the whole scene while zooming and out in with the other. Basically, it's like having a second camera in one box. With a bit of practice and some basic editing you can have a professional-looking video of your nativity play, football match, wedding or other more exciting non-familial event -- within the lighting capabilities of a compact camera, anyway.
The camera includes a 4x optical zoom and 12-megapixel CMOS sensor, and can snap 8 frames per second. It has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, and inside there's no fewer than four processors doing the brainwork for the two lenses.
The 3D1 is a rival to the Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3. Those are the only two compact cameras with twin lenses, although assorted cameras from the likes of Sony and Panasonic shoot panoramic photos in 3D. And phones such as the LG Optimus 3D and HTC Evo 3D boast 3D video without the aid of glasses. While 3D can look great on high-end TVs, we're not convinced just yet -- and neither are you, with many thinking 3D is a 'gimmick'.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 gets three-dimensional in December, just in time for Christmas. There's no word on price yet, but we predict it won't be cheap.
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