Published on August 24th,2009 at 11:20 AM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

FujiFilm’s W1 3D Camera: Let’s Talk About It Again, Shall We?

Last week we tested and wrote a little review on Fujifilm’s first true 3D camera, the W1, and just less than 24hrs after we published our review, Fujifilm Japan contacted us to find out why we were so disappointed with it, and invited us to talk about it face to face.

First I’d like to stress how surprised I was to meet such an open-minded staff over at Fujifilm, something quite rare in Japan…

So what was all the fuss about?

First let’s summarize the different points on the W1 that disappointed us and we discussed with Fujifilm.
1) GUI, or Graphic User Interface.
2) Poor quality photos in general (2D) for a camera sold in Japan for 50,000 – 60,000 yen (€370 – €441).
3) Limited use of the 3D with the camera alone.

We’re not going to go into to many details about what we discussed here, Fujifilm gave us a lot of information to better understand their W1 concept that we can’t share with you. However, it’s very important to understand what you’re going to read includes the information Fujifilm provided us at the meeting.

There’s no doubt the W1, a first generation 3D camera, can’t be 100% perfect. Although Fujifilm says they will work hard to come up with even superior products in the future, Fujifilm is confident the W1, as it is, is a revolutionary product that expands consumer enjoyment of photography.

The GUI, or Graphic User Interface, is as far as we are concerned rough and complicated. Once again, who’s going to carry around a user’s manual to change the ISO speed? How many pictures will you miss if you have to first understand how the various settings work, and visit the many menus and sub-menus in order to find the setting that matches the picture?

This is what we’re talking about, I am not looking for a fancy looking GUI, but something quick and efficient to get what I want easily and quickly.

On this point Fujifilm understood our frustration and told us the GUI is important to them and that like many things can be improved. It’s very possible in the future Fujifilm will propose an improved GUI generation after generation in order to provide the best experience possible.

Poor Quality Photos in 2D
Yes we’re disappointed with the results of the pictures we took, and yes we’re still disappointed with them. Even after seeing photos taken by Fujilfim… several samples Fujifilm showed us were printed on photo paper. Granted the W1, thanks to its newly tweaked image processor, is better in low noise than other 10Mpix Point and Shoots, there are still some areas that need improving. Yes, compared to the latest EXR Series the W1 and its10Mpix censors still don’t give us the quality that should be expected from a 60,000 Yen (€441) camera.

Fujifilm implied that some improvements could be done to future products to make them even better, however, and after some careful comparisons, the W1 is in the good/average, and possibly a little better than other Point and Shoost… The W1 in 2D mode surely may please many causal photographers, but once again there’s room for improvement for the advanced user looking for better pictures. And improvements may come with the possible adoption of the EXR Technology in the future…

Limited use of the 3D with the camera alone.
Yes the W1 is a real 3D camera. YES the results in 3D are stunning and I have proof in front of me of that… However, it seems many people didn’t understand what we were trying to say here…

Imagine you bought a W1, you’re very happy with it and shot a lot of 3D photos and videos… Your camera is full of 3D wonder and you’re eager to share them with your friends and family. You plug your camera to your PC and send a 3D file to grandma, your friends, or lover to discover they have no way to enjoy your it… And this is all that’s the matter here…

Yes the W1 provides stunning 3D photos, and we saw amazing ones at Fujifilm HQ shot undersea in Okinawa, but alone, and even for yourself the W1 is pretty useless… Want to enjoy your art? You have only three solutions at your disposal, either your W1’s screen, the 40,000 Yen (€297) 3D frame from Fujifilm, or a special 3D LCD with special glasses, or printing your photos online with FujiFilm’s 3D printing solution that will later send your pictures, like the one below.

Here’s the major problem… As for today if you purchase a W1 alone you’ll have a lot of trouble viewing 3D photos.

Never we complained about the 3D quality, we only complained Fujifilm provides no software to allow to enjoy 3D pictures on a PC or Mac.

After spending a lot of time discussing this with Fujifilm’s staff, and all agreeing that YES the 3D pictures are wonderful, Fujifilm realized the importance of providing an alternate solution for 3D photos… like software that can be installed on a PC (or grandma’s PC)…. And on this final point, even if we can’t promise anything today, Fujifilm already has a solution… Now it’s only a matter of whether or not Fujifilm will provide this solution to their present customers or future ones.

Fujifilm’s idea behind the W1
Fujifilm understood from the beginning that 3D photography was targeted to a limited niche of enthusiasts, but they are also working on improving their technology as well as working with other manufacturers to make their technology a standard and as compatible with other devices as possible … It’s a long road for them, but they have the will and their 3D photos, once can fully enjoy them, are really breathtaking… So let’s be patient and see what the future holds.

Now we hope that you have a better understanding of what our first article was all about as well as Fujifilm’s W1. If you still have any doubt, just wait for the W1 to reach your country and test this beast by yourself.

After all, who’s a better judge of what you like than yourself?

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