January 9th, 2015

marcus 2013

Picspam - Another 3D camera

Over Xmas I picked up another 3D camera on ebay, which finally arrived yesterday. It's an Aiptek is2 "HD camcorder," and performance seems to be considerably better than the Praktica I tried in May, though not as good as the Fuji model everyone recommends - unfortunately I missed the boat on the early version when it was being heavily discounted, and can't really justify the full cost at present. I think I want to mess around first and see if I actually use 3D enough to commit to the expense.

Pro features are a 2.4" 3D screen that's smaller than the Praktica but considerably brighter, flash for still photos, and controls that are actual physical buttons, not touch screen. Output is a mini-USB or some sort of mini HDMI, but a cable wasn't included with the camera - I assume it's some sort of standard, but since I don't have a 3D TV there probably isn't much point getting an adapter. The main con is that it seems to think for a fraction of a second after the button is pressed before taking pictures, I assume it's focusing etc.

The software, Total Media HDcam, is garbage, it does nothing apart from transferring images and videos from the camera and displaying them as red-blue anaglyphs (or in 3D mode if you have an appropriate monitor, which I don't). Weirdly, it doesn't give you any easy way to save or manipulate images or transfer them to other programs, apart from sending them to Facebook or Youtube. Fortunately I have the freeware program Stereo Photo Maker, which is essential for any serious 3D work.

The Aiptek claims resolutions of 3 megapixels, 5 megapixels, or 12 megapixels, I took pictures at 12mpx today but they look like the camera used interpolation to get the size - I'll try 3 and 5 next time I take it out. Since pictures will probably be reduced considerably in size when I use them I won't be too bothered if the best resolution turns out to be much lower.

I set out to take some pictures of the most iconic 3D object in the area, Trellick Tower near Portobello Road, results were mixed - the distant view didn't need any modification, but anything looking up the tower had to be adjusted considerably since the perspective just didn't work properly, and that meant that the tower itself looks less 3D than I'd expected. I think that this would probably happen with any 3D camera, since I remember similar problems when I was using 35mm. The pictures below the cut were uploaded to Photobucket and reduced to 800 pixels in their largest dimension, but I think they give a reasonable impression of results. I haven't messed around with brightness or contrast at all. The zoom in the last picture is digital, not optical, and unfortunately looks it.

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Any thoughts?