Re: 3D Cameras


DaveJes1979
 

I hate to be a wet blanket but:

People have posted their "wish lists" on this forum from time to time.  But we need to be realistic about the prospects for the future of 3D cameras (outside of the realm of expensive cinema cameras). 

The major camera makers simply aren't interested in 3D.  And that's because the public isn't.  There was a short, post-Avatar boom a decade ago.  And for a while we got the Fuji cameras and 3D TV's.  There were no follow-ups to those cameras, and every single TV manufacturer has discontinued 3D-capable displays.  Consumer stereo camcorders came and went, like a flash in a pan.

I know John R. pitched a camera prototype to some camera manufacturers, and didn't get anywhere.

There are a handful of smaller, niche camera makers who are addressing the VR space:  Lucid, Z-cam, and Insta360.  And while stereoscopic VR overlaps in important ways, it isn't quite the same animal as traditional stereo photography.  But we might have some useful options here, especially for modular systems where we can swap to more practical focal-length lenses (like Insta360's new system).

In the past I've considered the possibility of crowd-sourcing a stereo camera.  But unless such a project has in-house electrical engineers and software guys, you would have to pay an engineering firm tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars just for development costs.  If we take the Digital Bolex kickstarter as reference, I believe they had to raise $250,000 for a 100 camera production run.  I very much doubt that there are enough people in our little community to raise that kind of money.

There is always the possibility of an angel investor who happens to be interested in stereo photography.  But that's a pretty remote possibility.

Quite recently, the Red Hydrogen project attempted and spectacularly failed to get people interested in having 3D on your smartphone.  There were, admittedly, blunders that contributed to this, like being overly-enamored with their OK-ish display, to the detriment of the cameras themselves.

I will, however, comment on the idea of a follow-up camera project to the Fujifilm W1/W3.  I don't think a conventional compact camera format would be the way to go.  I think stereo photography demands a modular system, where you can add camera/lens modules as needed (i.e. for lenticular setups) and vary the inter-axial as needed.

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