We spend some quality time with Fujifilm's new 3D compact camera.
Because Fujifilm knows that you won't always want to shoot 3D, they added on some "advanced 2D" functions that make use of both lenses and sensors. One mode allows you to shoot at two different focal lengths at the same time, so you can get a close-up and a wide shoot simultaneously. Another offers separate color settings from each lens. The last A2D mode lets you shoot with two ISOs (400 and 1600) at the same time. While the focal length and ISO modes could be useful, we found the dual-color mode to be kind of a throw-away. Separately, the 10-megapixel CCDs don't crank out the highest image-quality. It's not bad, but it's also not up to par with what you get from a high-end, or even some mid-level, compact cameras.
As stated before, the best way to view anything you shoot with the W3 is on a big 3DTV using active shutter glasses. Any home theater geek will tell you that 3D is meant to be experienced on a large scale in order to make it feel immersive. Photos look fine on the back of the camera, while videos leave something to be desired. You can also order 5"x7" prints of your 3D photos for $6.99 each. The display prints they had on-hand looked good, providing plenty of depth. We have a few of our own from the demo on-order and we'll update you on our impressions once they arrive.
Ultimately, the W3 is an improvement over the W1. Where the W1 seemed to be aimed at photographers looking for a new gimmick, it seems that the W3 is aimed directly at the content-starved group of 3DTV owners. In that context, the $500 price tag makes a lot more sense. Someone who has already spent thousands on a 3D panel may not mind dropping another $500 to actually make use of its defining feature. For photographers, however, 3D still finds itself in the realm of novelty. The prints are relatively small and pricy and sharing 3D photos is still just about impossible if you're not within eyeshot of your intended audience. But, with all the support for 3DTVs going on right now, Fujifilm could find themselves in a very good place if 3D catches on in the way some think it will.