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Aiptek 3D i2 review



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Aiptek 3D i2
  • Aiptek 3D i2
  • Aiptek 3D i2
  • Aiptek 3D i2
  • Aiptek 3D i2


Our Score:


Whatever your feelings on the matter, now that HDTVs have reached critical mass the audiovisual industry is searching for the 'next big thing', and that 'thing' appears to be 3D. Scarcely a single kids' movie is now released without a 3D version coming out first, and you already have a choice of widescreen TVs available to replace the 40in HD model you bought last year, such as Samsung's UE55C8000. Now, already, it's becoming possible to create your own 3D content, with Panasonic announcing a 3D camcorder. But our first experience of the concept comes from a more surprising source - Taiwanese Aiptek. The 3D i2 not only provides an extra dimension for your video, but incredibly does so for under £200.

The Aiptek 3D i2 is essentially a pocket Internet camcorder, although it's a little bigger than most in this genre. So it's very limited on features. Inside is a 5-megapixel CMOS sensor with a healthy 1/3.2in diagonal. This provides still images up to 2,592 x 1,944 pixels, but video is only available at 720p and 30 frames/sec. Feeding the sensor are two lenses situated either corner at the top of the device. When shooting in 3D both are used, but only one is called upon for 2D.

The lenses are fixed, so there's no optical zoom. Aiptek provides a 4x digital zoom operated by pushing the joystick on the rear in the vertical direction, which will reduce image quality when used. That is pretty much the only feature, too. The other four buttons are for switching between 2D and 3D modes, deleting clips, toggling record and taking still images. Pushing the joystick right calls up the very limited menu of options. This merely consists of a few settings, the most exciting of which is setting the frequency to avoid light flickering. There are no manual controls to speak of, no scene modes and really nothing that will require attention after initial setup.

So the i2 is very much a point and shoot camcorder. As soon as you have it out of the box, you'll be looking for things to show off its 3D capabilities, such as objects moving towards the camera or which extend outwards away from it. The lenses are fixed focus up to 1m away, so once objects approach closer than this they tend to go out of focus, and there's no macro mode available to compensate.

The i2 doesn't come with any recording memory built in, so you will need to add a SDHC card to the slot. Since its video requires around 7Mbits/sec in 3D mode and under 3Mbits/sec in 2D mode, an 8GB card will be enough for 2.5 hours of 3D and over six hours of 2D footage, so you won't need to purchase particularly large capacity media.

simple simon

December 18, 2010, 3:16 am

Its an interesting machine - the 3D effect on its small screen looks great but the coloured lens system which most people will use is far from ideal. But thats the technology / not this camcorder.

Bearing in mind the type of device this is meant to be, the lack of creative controls is not an issue. What matters is that the 3D feature works well, even though (on my camcorder) the side-by-side images are very slightly different in colouration. Getting 2D HD is an added benefit, like icing in the cake. It does not matter that this is 'only' 720p HD; my netbook still finds the data rate to be so high that it cannot play the video smoothly.

I find that when filming it is best to hold it with two hands, as this offers greater stability and less camera shake. At times its flat and wide format may result in people with smaller hands having concerns about dropping it.

One of the buttons on the front has a certain amount of 'play' when its touched and I wonder how long it will be before it gives grief.

Sonically it gives a very acceptable stereo spread, but is susceptible to wind noise.

My only real gripe relates to sound - not of this machines' sonic capabilities, but rather of the options in the controls. On my digital camera I switch all the ‘operating’ sounds (beeps, etc) off. Alas I cannot do likewise with this and I am dreading the day I take a still image and on hearing the stimulated loud click of the camera shutter people near to me who think that I was photographing them make a fuss.

In conclusion, at the price its being sold for (especially the price I paid a few days ago at my local Maplin - where its on promotion) it is a bargain and represents an excellent entrance into 3D videography. Having had a Nimslo 3D still camera for several decades I’m already in 3D still image photography.

YouTube here I come...

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