Running with Vinny - 3D camera testing - 4. Panasonic Lumix 3D1


George Themelis
 

Panasonic 3D1: the little wonder.

 

PS. The attached page is from the recent issue of the Stereogram from where this novel is originating. Subscription to the Stereogram (the newsletter of the Ohio Stereo Photographic Society) is only $10 for the season (10 issues). All the money goes to support the club. What follows is a more extended discussion of the points made in the attached summary, but take a look at the attachment if you want to see pictures of Vinny.

 

The Panasonic Lumix 3D1 camera was introduced in 2012 and I rushed to get one. Right from the start I was pleasantly surprised. I loved these features:

  1. Image stabilization
  2. Good low light performance (better than the Fuji)
  3. Short (30mm) stereo base, perfect for close-ups

 

Back in the film days there were very few choices for this sweet 30mm stereo base (“mild hypostereo”).  Towards the end of the film era I acquired and enjoyed the very expensive Horseman 3D camera with a stereo base of 34mm. I was thrilled with it, see my blog: https://drt3d.blogspot.com/search?q=horseman

 

Now, I have the ability to take similar digital pictures with the very compact Panasonic 3D1 digital camera. I was (and still am) in 3D close-up heaven. I love how you can take 3D selfies with it. As it turns out, the best results are obtained with the subject at arm’s length (~24 inches or 0.6m) which is what a selfie is. We have this build in measuring tape, so when I get ready to take a close-up with the 3D1, I just extend my hand until I touch my subject (hoping not to get bitten!) and fire the shutter.

 

I have taken many award-winning pictures, including one that won the award of “Best Use of 3D” in the Three Dimension Society (TDS) exhibition (UK). Yes, best use of 3D with a stereo base of only 30mm. It showed two people looking at the (crammed) interior of a plane engine at the air show in Cleveland Ohio.

 

I can go on and on, but how well does this camera work for my early morning trail runs with Vinny?

 

It woks OK, and it has replaced the Fuji as my “running camera” since it takes better pictures, because of #1 and #2 above. I ran the Athens 2017 Marathon (among many races) holding this camera and took some nice pictures and have great memories.

 

But there are two problems:

 

  1. I cannot take action photos. For some strange reason, the Panasonic engineers decided that when you use this camera in 3D, you only get fully automatic  mode, without any manual control. Classify this under “what the f*** were they thinking??”

 

I love to take action shots of Vinny jumping over logs. When I tried this with the 3D1, everything is sharp except for Vinny who is burred due to his movement. The camera used these settings:  f/3.9, 1/60s, 160 ISO. 1/60s is not fast enough to freeze the action. If I had a choice I would have used 1/250s, 600 ISO. But I have no choice. The camera has a mind of its own.

 

Also, sometimes the automatic color balance that the camera uses is a failure. When a color dominates, like green now in the trails, warm colors of wood, or warm colors of sunrise/sunset, the camera thinks it needs to color-correct and introduces ugly blue, destroying the mood of the picture. If I had a choice, I would choose daylight balance, but I don’t. Yes, I know, I can fix things later, but it still annoys me that I have no control of any settings in 3D. 

 

I do have control over exposure compensation and I have set it to -1/3 and even have this menu setting available in the screen so I do not have to go though menus to change it. I change the exposure compensation from time to time. Thank goodness for this little morsel of control we have with this camera!

 

  1. I first noticed this in the cameras I have tested the last few years and it is happening with my current camera: When I shoot against strong light, the camera shows really bad lens flair, as if a thin layer of haze is covering the lens. I have looked at the lens from the outside with high magnification and strong light, and I see nothing. But there is something going on. One day I will take the camera apart and try to clean it. The images should be crystal clear even when shooting against the light. (It used to be like that in my first cameras, I have been through 7-8 of these.)

 

If you are looking to buy one of these cameras today, you will have another problem: You cannot find them. If you find one, it is priced way too high. That’s too bad because this is a nice little 3D camera.

 

Bottom line: When I go running with Vinny if I only take one stereo camera with me, this is it. Even if I take another camera, I usually also take the Panasonic 3D1 for close-ups etc. This baby is here to stay and most likely it comes with me wherever I go.

 

There is a very useful accessory that goes with this camera, that’s the subject of the next chapter. Stay tuned.

 

George Themelis

 

 


David Starkman
 

Hi George,

Many thanks for all of the information that you have supplied over the years about the Panasonic 3D1.  I have to agree that it is great for 3D Close-Ups, and I like the wider angle lenses, and that it works better than the W1/W3s in low light situations. 
 
For those who only have the "Basic" manual that came with the camera, here is a link where you can download the "Advanced Features" manual (the one that SHOULD have come with the camera).
 
 
One feature that I don't think is mentioned in the manual, is a way to get longer exposures in low light. 
 
I discovered this by chance, when I was trying to take some pictures indoors in a stately mansion in low light, with the flash turned off. I wanted to get the mood of the room without the flash lighting it up. I hand-held the camera as steadily as I could, but he picture was just too dark. 
 
Nearby there was a newel post at the bottom of a stairway, with a flat top on it. So I set the camera firmly on the flat surface and composed as best as I could from that angle, and pressed the shutter button with the camera firmly seated on the flat part of the post. This would be the equivalent to putting the camera on a tripod, which I did not have with me.
 
Much to my surprise the camera made a MUCH LONGER exposure than when I was hand-holding the camera! So I got a much better exposure! I tested this by hand holding a similar shot, and then taking it again with the camera firmly on the flat surface. I can only surmise from this that the camera can sense when it is being hand-held, and when it is firmly not moving at all, as when on a tripod. 
 
If anyone can find this explained in the manual, let me know what page you have found it on! Try it for yourself, if you have not already discovered this feature.
 
Another thing about the 3D1 that I don't think is documented anywhere is that there are THREE versions of this camera!. The version with ONLY Japanese instructions, that was sold in Japan. The version that was sold in the USA that I bought new when they came out has only English and Spanish. And then there is what I will call the "International" Version. I discovered this when I bought a backup 3D1 from a seller in Germany, who said it had an English menu. When I looked at the language menu in the setup I was surprised to find that there were 16 languages on this camera!  English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Dutch, Turkish, Portuguese, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Greek, and Japanese (unless that's Chinese - I'm not sure). So I wonder if there was a Canadian version that only had English and French? Or maybe Canada got the "International" version. Anyone out their buy theirs new in Canada who can check the menu and report back?
 
A great little 3D camera! Thank you for your report, George!
 
-David Starkman


Pierre MEINDRE
 

Hi David,

Much to my surprise the camera made a MUCH LONGER exposure than when I was hand-holding the camera!
You're right David. I sometimes use my 3D1 in museum placing the camera against the glass of display cases containing some interesting pieces.
This is to, both, avoid the reflection from the glass and help steadying the camera.
The 3D1 will then decide to go for a long exposure, you will get a count-down on the screen and what I believe a second shot, a black shot to help lessen the noise.

Attached is a recent example of a gun inside a glass display case in a museum in Paris, picture taken with the 3D1.
This gun belonged to the man who led the insurrection of Paris in 1944.

I can also recommend this museum (Musée de la Libération de Paris) to stereo fans as you can get a nice "mixed-reality" visit of the underground bunker wearing Microsoft Hololens headset.
The museum as the "mixed-reality" visit are free.
https://www.museeliberation-leclerc-moulin.paris.fr/en/node/2656

A great little 3D camera! Thank you for your report, George!
I agree to both!


Pierre.



----- Mail original -----
De: "David Starkman via groups.io" <reel3d=aol.com@groups.io>
À: main@Photo-3d.groups.io
Envoyé: Vendredi 4 Juin 2021 05:12:01
Objet: [Photo-3d] Running with Vinny - 3D camera testing - 4. Panasonic Lumix 3D1




Hi George,


Many thanks for all of the information that you have supplied over the years about the Panasonic 3D1. I have to agree that it is great for 3D Close-Ups, and I like the wider angle lenses, and that it works better than the W1/W3s in low light situations.

For those who only have the "Basic" manual that came with the camera, here is a link where you can download the "Advanced Features" manual (the one that SHOULD have come with the camera).

http://www.panasonic.ae/EN/Manuals/DMC-3D1.pdf

One feature that I don't think is mentioned in the manual, is a way to get longer exposures in low light.

I discovered this by chance, when I was trying to take some pictures indoors in a stately mansion in low light, with the flash turned off. I wanted to get the mood of the room without the flash lighting it up. I hand-held the camera as steadily as I could, but he picture was just too dark.

Nearby there was a newel post at the bottom of a stairway, with a flat top on it. So I set the camera firmly on the flat surface and composed as best as I could from that angle, and pressed the shutter button with the camera firmly seated on the flat part of the post. This would be the equivalent to putting the camera on a tripod, which I did not have with me.

Much to my surprise the camera made a MUCH LONGER exposure than when I was hand-holding the camera! So I got a much better exposure! I tested this by hand holding a similar shot, and then taking it again with the camera firmly on the flat surface. I can only surmise from this that the camera can sense when it is being hand-held, and when it is firmly not moving at all, as when on a tripod.

If anyone can find this explained in the manual, let me know what page you have found it on! Try it for yourself, if you have not already discovered this feature.

Another thing about the 3D1 that I don't think is documented anywhere is that there are THREE versions of this camera!. The version with ONLY Japanese instructions, that was sold in Japan. The version that was sold in the USA that I bought new when they came out has only English and Spanish. And then there is what I will call the "International" Version. I discovered this when I bought a backup 3D1 from a seller in Germany, who said it had an English menu. When I looked at the language menu in the setup I was surprised to find that there were 16 languages on this camera! English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Dutch, Turkish, Portuguese, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Greek, and Japanese (unless that's Chinese - I'm not sure). So I wonder if there was a Canadian version that only had English and French? Or maybe Canada got the "International" version. Anyone out their buy theirs new in Canada who can check the menu and report back?

A great little 3D camera! Thank you for your report, George!

-David Starkman


Depthcam
 

On Thu, Jun 3, 2021 at 10:12 PM, David Starkman wrote:
So I wonder if there was a Canadian version that only had English and French?

As far as I know, the 3D1 was never imported into Canada.

Francois


Rob Ellis
 
Edited

Regarding David's observation that you can get the 3D1 to do longer time exposures, I can explain what is happening. George was absolutely right in describing the 3D1's exposure compensation as the "little morsel of control we have with this camera" in 3D mode, and what I'm about to describe is the other morsel of control. The feature is hidden and non-intuitive, so most 3D1 users don't know about it.

The 3D1 does indeed contain a camera-motion sensor which tells the camera whether it is currently hand-held or is on a stable surface. When it detects that the camera is stable, the 3D1 drops its ISO setting to 100, which is the 3D1's lowest ISO. It will then allow longer exposures. I discovered this several years ago, and I have used this trick when the subject involves minimal motion and I've wanted the highest image quality I could coax out of the 3D1, and also for time exposures. (Obviously, the technique isn't necessary when shooting in bright light, as the ISO will already be 100.)

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Place the 3D1 on a tripod or other stable surface. The motion sensor is extremely sensitive, so the camera must be truly stable; even some lightweight tripods may prevent this from working.
  2. Set the 3D1 to self-timer; 2 seconds is good enough. (Even though the exposure is set in the next step, the self-timer prevents motion blur when you remove your finger from the shutter release.)
  3. Gently half-press the shutter-release button and look at the ISO setting on the bottom-left of the display. If the ISO is any number higher than 100, lift your finger from the shutter release and then try again. Repeat until the display shows ISO 100.
  4. Press the shutter release the rest of the way down.

This technique produces 3D1 images with the lowest image noise / grain, and allows long exposures.

I hope this is helpful! And George, thanks for the wonderful series of posts!

Rob Ellis


David Starkman wrote:
Much to my surprise the camera made a MUCH LONGER exposure than when I was hand-holding the camera! So I got a much better exposure! I tested this by hand holding a similar shot, and then taking it again with the camera firmly on the flat surface. I can only surmise from this that the camera can sense when it is being hand-held, and when it is firmly not moving at all, as when on a tripod.