With the exception of the Aiptek 3D i2, 3D camcorders have been very much a premium item. Neither Sony nor JVC offers true 3D camcorders for less than £900, although Panasonic has midrange models that can be upgraded to 3D for an extra £3-400, and Sony's Bloggie range does contain a 3D option. Toshiba, however, has taken its usual budget-oriented approach and brought out a 3D camcorder for under £200. The question is, how did Toshiba manage to make the Camileo Z100 so cheap?
Amazingly, Toshiba has chosen not to take the obvious route of a split lens path and single sensor. Instead, two 5-megapixel CMOS sensors with back-side illumination technology are used, with each one a decent 1/3.2-inch in size, and a separate lens apiece. In 2D mode, only the left-hand lens is used. Unfortunately, though, one of the chief benefits of using two separate lens paths has not been implemented. The Toshiba Camileo Z100 doesn't offer an optical zoom, instead relying on the digital variety. This offers a 10x factor in 2D mode and 4x in 3D mode. However, being digital, it reduces image quality when used, so we wouldn't recommend it in either context. Fully zoomed in, the picture appears to be crawling with stray pixels.
Toshiba Camileo Z100 Features
Footage can be recorded at up to Full HD (1,920 x 1,080p) with 30 progressive frames per second, although there are also 720p HD modes at 30 and 60 frames per second, as well as VGA at 30 frames per second. However, despite the discrete lens paths, the 3D is actually recorded in side-by-side format, so two frames are squashed next to each other into one. This reduces horizontal resolution by half, negating some of the benefits of having two separate sensors and lenses. Still images can be grabbed at up to 16-megapixels, with a resolution of 4,608 x 3,456p. This obviously uses a fair amount of interpolation, so the Toshiba Camileo Z100 isn't the sharpest of stills shooters.
Whilst there is just 128MB of Flash memory on board the Toshiba Camileo Z100, really only enough to grab 30 seconds or so of footage to make sure things are working, the device, as expected, cames with an integrated SDXC memory card slot. The top data rate equates to about 12Mbits/sec, which will mean you can fit 11 minutes of footage per gigabyte of storage. There aren't any settings for quality other than the resolution, but the rate of 12Mbits/sec balances reasonably well between being too aggressively compressed and taking up too much space per second.
The 2.8in screen uses parallax barrier technology to provide glasses-free 3D viewing, which is reasonably effective when looked at from the appropriate distance and angle, but will make you cross-eyed for close objects. It's not particularly high resolution, either, offering only 96,000 pixels - orders of magnitude less than the 2.07Mpixels used by Full HD. The LCD is the main focus for the Camileo Z100's rather limited range of manual features, too. It's a touch screen, and not one of the most responsive we've used either. The menu uses an icon-based system, with Toshiba's usual split between video and photo-specific settings, and effects which can be used in both modes.