In case you hadn’t heard, 3D is the big news in entertainment this year with all the big players releasing 3D capable sets designed to tempt the eyeballs and loosen the purse strings. Unfortunately, there’s still a bit of a shortage of native 3D content and the opportunities to create your own are largely limited to the world of deep-pocketed professionals. That looks set to change with a couple of less well-known players, Aiptek and DXG, staking an early claim on the 3D consumer camera market. We checked out their offerings at Computex 2010.
Sony has said it will look to enter the 3D camera market as the technology gains in popularity and Sharp has already developed a 3D module compact enough to by used in mobile devices but hasn’t announced any plans on releasing a 3D camera. Meanwhile, earlier this year Panasonic unveiled its Twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder with an SRP of US$21,000 and a release date of Q4 this year. So presently, the only consumer level 3D camera currently available is the US$600 FinePix Real 3D W1 from Fujifilm, leaving the market wide open for smaller players such as Aiptek and DXG ... for now anyway.
The company’s 3D video camcorder offerings included the DVX-5D7 and DVX-5D8. The DVX-5D7 is a pistol-grip camcorder, while the DVX-5D8 sports a unique Flip-like form factor with the rear of the unit twisting sideways to expose the camera’s controls and change the orientation of the display to widescreen. It appears the form factors are where the difference between the two models ends.
Both shoot 3D video in VGA (640 x 480) resolution and 2D in “half HD” and both allow 3D images to be viewed without glasses on the cameras’ 3.2-inch screens using the parallax barrier method – although recorded 3D vision will also be playable on most 3D TVs. The cameras can also capture still images up to 5-megapixel resolution, record to SDHC memory cards and sport HDMI out ports. DXG plans to sell the cameras under its own brand and is also considering offering them to OEM partners.
DXG is known for its budget priced devices but it doesn’t look like we should expect the same for the DVX-5D7 or DVX-5D8 with a DXG official at the show saying: “To be honest, it is difficult to offer a low price because of high development costs."
Aiptek has said the i2 will be available this August for around US$200 and will apparently come bundled with YouTube 3D upload software and a pair of 3D glasses (of the red and cyan variety) to watch recorded video on a computer screen.
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