Camera Obscure Huh? – Fujifilm Finepix Real 3d W3

FujiFilm W3 3D
FujiFilm W3 3D

FujiFilm released the Finepix W3 3D in 2010. I purchased my camera in 2014 on Amazon for $190 as a brand new import from Japan. The 3D TV craze had pretty much died by then, and while according to WikiPedia, the camera initially sold well, it was eventually discontinued and a FujiFilm never released a follow up model. While there have been various cameras with 3D capability since then, like the Lenovo Mirage and the Vuze XR 3D VR nothing has really surpassed the FujiFilm camera for 3D photography in my opinion.

First, let me start off by talking about why a camera made in 2010 is not ideal…

  • It features 2 tiny 10 megapixel sensors, that are very bad in low light, and have very bad dynamic range (blown highlights are common)
  • The battery life is very bad… i have 3 batteries, and I usually bring them all when I take the camera out.
  • The autofocus is slow and inaccurate, the auto white balance is bad, and the exposure controls are not intuitive.
  • Due to the placement of the lenses, you have to try really hard not to get your fingers in the way.
  • The built in flash is positioned in the worst possible place, and is basically unusable.

Summary: The camera is not good in any kind of way you would expect a modern camera to be. But… it does do the following :

  • It takes 2 photos at exactly the same time, with lenses spaced at about the same distance as the human eyes, in a form factor that easily slips into a coat pocket or bag.
  • It actually has an LCD that can display the images in 3D!
W3 3D Rear View
W3 3D Rear View

Ok, so we have a camera that takes 3d Pictures. The images are in a format called MPO. You can read about MPO files here, but it is basically 2 jpeg images (left and right) imbedded in a single file. In fact, if you rename an .MPO file to .jpg, you can import it into Lightroom, and view them in your catalog, but you will only see the left image. Since Lightroom will not modify your original files, you can always rename it back to .MPO if needed.

When taking 3D photos, you want at least 6 to 10 feet of distance between you and your subject. Try to keep distracting objects like tree branches out of the foreground. You want to have some separation between your subject and the background to create a greater feeling of depth. Finally, keep your fingers off of the lenses!

After you take the picture what do you do with it? How do you share it? How can you see it in 3D without using the camera?

Step 1. Download StereoPhoto Maker at : https://stereo.jpn.org/eng/stphmkr/

Step 2. Watch a bunch of YouTube Videos : https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=stereophoto+maker

Step 3. Spend a lot of time figuring out what method works best for you!

You can download this original MPO image to play with : dustandrust.com/images/DSCF8586.MPO

The simplest way to share 3D images is the old wiggle-gif :

Skull at La Brea Tar Pit
Skull at La Brea Tar Pit, FujiFilm 3D W3, 2019

Another option is to go back to 1950’s technology with these old school 3d glasses and create an anaglyph image :

Skull at La Brea Tar Pit - Anaglyph
La Brea Tarpit Skull – Red/Cyan 3D Anaglyph (Glasses Required for 3D effect)

StereoPhoto Maker also lets you create Lenticular Images! Basically you buy some Stereo Lenticular lenses from a company like Vue-Thru. I purchased these 5×7 lenses. To make a long story short, this requires a lot of trial and error. Lenticular works better with more than 2 images, and while it might work ok for some stereo images, it works best if you have 7 or 8 images created using depth maps… too much to discuss here.

So where does that leave us. I present you with the best way, in my opinion, to view the images created with this camera. A technology so old, it was all the rage during the 1800’s :

Owl Viewer and Stereo Cards
Owl Viewer and Stereo Cards

StereoPhoto Maker lets you easily print Stereograph Cards, and all you need is a viewer like Brian May’s (yes the guitar player from Queen!) Owl Viewer. Brain May is a very interesting guy. He has a website dedicated to stereo photography : LondonStereo.com. Check out some of his books on Amazon.

Here are some more 3D related links you may Interesting :

In summary, the FujiFilm 3D W3 is not a camera for everyone. There are other options… but over 10 years later, it is still a viable and popular option for digital 3D photographers to consider. A message to FujiFilm : Please make us an updated version… I promise we will buy it!

FUJIFILM X100V – First Steps

It’s hard to talk about the X100V and other Fujifilm cameras, and not talk about film.

Essaouira, Morocco 2000
Essaouira, Morocco 2000. Taken with Nikon D60

Over the years in the 90’s and early 2000’s, I shot with various negative films from Kodak and Fujifilm, not really with any intention besides picking the ISO rating and color vs. B&W. I paid a local lab to develop it, and occasionally would get pictures blown up to hang on a wall.

The Yearling
The Yearling, Denver Library circa 2000. Taken with Nikon D60

While I love the images I took over the years, I don’t miss film one bit. On one trip, I used about 36 rolls of film. It probably cost over $400 to buy and process… almost $2 per click. My lightroom catalog has over 24000 images from my D200 ($1699 when released). That’s about .14 cents per image, not including the ones i deleted. Scanning film is a slow annoying process, and while I enjoy bringing my old photos alive digitally, I will never buy another roll of film.

Lightroom Catalog Counts for my Nikon SLRs

So that brings me to the X100V. It is a camera that oozes a retro vibe. It looks and feels like it could have been made in the 1970’s if you ignore the LCD on the back… you might think there is a roll of film inside of it. I would go as far to say that it is a camera with a soul. As I type this, it is sitting in front of me, begging me to pick it up, hold it, and shoot with it.

Poor man’s Leica? At $1399 it is not cheap. It is a luxury item that few people “need”

I will be honest, I don’t usually read the manuals when I buy a camera. But with Fujifilm, you find yourself looking at menu options like “Dynamic Range – DR100/DR200/DR400/DR Auto”. How does that affect raw photos, and what does it do? The manual is not very clear, so off to youtube.

There is a confusing interaction (in my opinion) between the top dials, and the front and rear dials that took me a while to figure out. The way I shoot, I basically set the ISO and Shutter to (A)uto, and I use the exposure compensation and aperture ring manually. If you want to use the front and real dials set the top dials/aperture ring to (C)ornfused, and then you can use the menus to set up the front and rear dials for those functions… off to youtube!

Next, we have the (Q)uick menu. Take the time to set that up with the commands you want to use often… Help me Youtuuuube!!!

Finally, there is the viewfinder. You can configure the display in both optical and evf mode. Hitting the “Disp Back” will declutter the displays with a single click. When you use the finder in optical mode, AF functionality changes… eye af does not work (i think?). Hmmmm… maybe Youtube can simplify things.

Ok… now you can start taking some pictures. Do you want Classic Chrome with large film grain, and extra strong or weak chrome effect? Or Acros with a yellow or blue filter effect? Lets see what JayRegular on Youtube has to say.

Ok… now I can take a photo….

Wooden Figure, Fujifilm X100V, Eterna Bleach Bypass
Wooden Figure, Fujifilm X100V, Eterna Bleach Bypass
Cherry Blossoms, X100V, Velvia
Cherry Blossoms, X100V, Velvia
A Gathering of George, X100V, Classic Negative
A Gathering of George, X100V, Classic Negative
Toys by Window, X100V, Classic Chrome
Toys by Window, X100V, Classic Chrome

Most X100V people on the internet will tell you “I now only shoot jpegs with the X100V”. I am going to go against the grain. I only shoot raw, and I use the Lightroom camera profiles for these images. There are some differences to the in-camera profiles, but not enough for me to care.

If you like this website, and are thinking about buying this camera from Amazon… click here : Fujifilm X100V Digital Camera – Black and support the site!

– Sean

Fujifilm X100V – The camera that took 24 Years to find Me

I purchased my first digital camera 24 years ago in 1997. It was a Sony Mavica FD7, a horrible camera, with floppy discs for recording 640×480 pixel jpegs, and an uncontrollable flash that ruined every photo if you tried to use it.

The Empire State Building in fog. Taken with the awful Sony Mavica FD-7 on 1/6/1997… click to expand to its full 640×480 resolution!!!

I continued to shoot 35mm film into the early 2000’s, and every year or so I would upgrade to a new digital camera. At various points in time, I owned a Nikon Coolpix 880, Olympus E-10, Canon GX9, Panasonic FZ200, GF1, Nikon D100, D200, D800, Coolpix A … on and on. In the early years, upgrading delivered big gains. The manufactures were churning out higher resolution cameras every year, full frame sensors became affordable, and the forums debated if the latest cameras image quality was “better than 35mm”. For me, I crossed the line with the D100 in 2002 and never shot a roll of film again.

In 2012 I purchased a Nikon D800. I still have it, and I’ll probably keep it until it stops working. It’s a big, and heavy camera though. Lately when I travel or go to family events, I would take my Coolpix A or Panasonic GX85. The D800 goes out less and less, even though the image quality still beats my other cameras. The Coolpix A was an APS-C camera you really could put in a coat pocket, and have with you all of the time. I really liked the Coolpix A… but it was slow to focus, had no viewfinder and the 28mm lens was just a little too wide for me.

My well used Coolpix A, with Aki-Asahi Skin Goodbye my little friend… I will miss you…maybe?

Over the last few years, most of my photography was for family and vacation photos. I wasn’t going out with the sole purpose of just taking photos for myself. During the past year, I focused on scanning my personal negatives, and my mothers shoebox of 1000 family slides…

My mother at Jones Beach, Long Island (late 1950’s/early 1960’s)

So around comes 2021. Covid seems to be getting under control… I start thinking about going on an actual trip. What better way could someone that loves photography celebrate life returning to normal than buying a new camera? In April, I got an email from BestBuy… 10% of any item for your birthday! Which camera should I get…

Nikon Z6 ii / Z7 ii ? I’d have to sell my D800 and not all of my lenses would work, even with that adapter thing… wallet says no.

Ricoh GRIII ?? Nice sensor, image stabilization, pocketable… but 28mm, no flash, and like my Coolpix A, no viewfinder.

Fujifilm X100V ??? Searching youtube, reading reviews… what’s all the hype about? Lots of people are gushing over it… it even has film simulations (Note to Fujifilm… please please please release the “50 year old slide with mold” simulation!). It looks really nice in silver… hipster drool worthy. Ugh… out of stock at BestBuy… my 10% off is only good until April 30th… refresh, refresh, refresh…. finally on April 28th… success!

On delivery day, I managed to hide the box from wife… she wouldn’t appreciate the fine build quality, machined dials, and that very delicate, extremely expensive hybrid viewfinder… or the credit card charge. She notices me boxing up the Coolpix A for an eBay buyer… I think she knows something is up.

My new X100V with my old Nikon FTn… it’s the new good old days again!

So… how does it shoot? Do you like it? Did your wife find out?

Photo of wife after she found out I purchased a new camera, taken with Fujifilm X100V Eterna Bleach Bypass

To be continued…..

A photo blog by Sean Unruh