Review Price £232.62
The W3's overall performance is a bit slow when compared to a conventional compact camera, but when you actually consider the processing that's taking place it really is remarkably quick. It takes approximately eight seconds to start up and shoot a picture, which is very slow, but in single shot 3D mode its shot-to-shot time is approximately 3.5 seconds. I've seen some conventional cameras that shoot slower than that. It has a continuous shooting mode which shoots four frames in about 2.5 seconds, but then slows down to a shot every two seconds.
The autofocus system is quick and accurate in good light, and works well even in quite dim lighting, but there is no AF assist lamp so once it gets darker than, say, a candle-lit room it won't focus, and since the 3D effect also relies on the AF system that doesn't work in very dim light either.
The relatively small 1000mAh battery is effectively powering two cameras as well as the high-res 3D monitor, but during testing it still managed well over 200 shots and several video clips on a full charge, which is quite an impressive performance.
The image quality is hard to quantify. 3D images are stored not at a stereo pair of JPEG images, but as a JPEG image and a larger MPO file which contains the 3D data. Shooting in 2D mode the camera only uses the left-hand lens and sensor, and the still image quality is reasonably good, although not a patch on what you'd expect from a conventional £300 compact Although the images have relatively low compression they lack fine detail and even in the standard film mode the colours are a bit blotchy with an over-processed look. The lens quality also leaves something to be desired, with quite a bit of wide-angle barrel distortion and chromatic aberration.
Fujifilm cameras have long had an excellent reputation for high-ISO performance and here the W3 is on safe ground. Images at up to 800 ISO have very low noise and plenty of detail, and even at the 1600 ISO maximum the image quality is surprisingly good. Nonetheless the overall image quality is nowhere near as good as the FinePix F70 EXR, which costs less than half as much, so you'll have to decide if the ability to shoot in 3D is worth the money.
The FinePix Real 3D W3 is, to say the least, an interesting camera. There's no doubt that as a 3D still and video camera it works superbly, but unless you have a 3D TV to view the pictures, or can afford the remarkable but expensive 3D prints, it is really more of a clever gimmick than a useful camera. The 2D picture quality isn't as good as a conventional compact costing half as much.
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