- 1 Top 5 Best 3D Cameras Compared
- 2 How We Decided
- 3 3D Cameras Buying Guide
3D may not have taken as strong a hold as everyone thought, but that didn’t stop us from finding the best 3D cameras to help you get the most unique photography and videography experience possible. However, it can be difficult to find high-quality 3D cameras, especially since they’re not as popular today. To find the best 3D cameras, we purchased 10 different models and tested them to see how they performed when it came to features like image quality, app compatibility, and overall design quality. We use this same process when determining the best video cameras. Before 3D cameras, one would have to take a normal photo with a smartphone or small Camcoder, and use a 3D photo creator to convert the 2D image into three dimensions, but the quality of the final image doesn’t come close to what 3D cameras now produce.
After taking plenty of 3D pictures and videos, we found that the Fujifilm FinePix 3D W3 is the best 3D camera money can buy today. It features dual image 3D camera sensors and dual lenses to create a true 3D experience and spherical footage. And although you can’t share spherical footage on social media like Instagram, with this camera you can still reframe footage to 16:9 to do so. It’s also designed with protection in mind and performs well in both bright and dim light.
Top 5 Best 3D Cameras Compared
#1 Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 Camera
Award: Top Pick/Best Overall
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 camera makes use of dual lenses and dual image 3D camera sensors to create realistic 3D photographs, which is a top-performing design for this type of photography. It also features a 3D-enabled display to view images in 3D without the need for special glasses, which is unique for cameras in this category.
The Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 is the successor to the disappointing FinePix W1, and it brings a lot more to the table that’s worth checking out. Most 3D cameras still use a single image sensor that simply splits the image and digitally creates the 3D effect. Some have multiple lenses. The FinePix W3 is one of the best 3D stereo cameras as it mimics the way your brain works by combining images with both dual lenses and dual image depth sensors. Depth sensing perfectly matches a pair of images from the two lenses at a depth range, and combines then to produce a single image with a natural sense of depth. It also features a 3X optical zoom lens. The end result of the most realistic and immersive 3D photographs of any of the cameras on our list. If you want to compare this with another option, take a look at Theta V, which is a 360 degree camera. You can check out the best digital camera to compare features.
The camera’s display is lenticular, meaning it displays everything in 3D without the need for 3D glasses. Other design elements keep the camera protected – like the sliding front panel – but the overall design sometimes makes it easy to block the lenses with your fingers if you’re not careful. You can also shoot 2D images and video on the FinePix W3, but the quality isn’t anything to write home about, with only 10 megapixels of resolution. You can convert them into 3D using the LucidPix 3D photo creator, but for better quality, you will need that extra dimension in your camera, and it’s pretty clear that this camera was made for 3D and 3D alone. This is not what you want if you are looking for the best point shoot camera for videography.
#2 Vuze XR Camera
Award: Honorable Mention/Best 3D Camera for VR
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Vuze XR is compact, easy to use and offers both 3D and 360-degree image and video modes. If you’re looking to create video for VR and 3D applications, this camera is the best choice for you.
The Vuze XR is one of the most unique cameras on our list because it can shoot photos and video in two distinct modes: 3D or 360-degree. If you want to shoot in 3D photo stills, simply extend the lenses so they are both forward facing. If you want to shoot in 360 mode, you can orient the lenses within the camera housing so they are facing away from each other. This 360 camera will bring a number of different options to your photography and videography. There’s only one other camera on our list (the Insta360 EVO) that can accomplish this, but we liked the Vuze XR more. You can also check out the best waterproof cameras for something more rugged. The Vuze XR takes a high-speed Micro SD card of up to 256 GB and features a USB-C interface port for a fast charge and data transfer.
For starters, you can shoot video up to 5.7K resolution at 30 frames per second. That’s a good frame rate for videos. You also get an 18 megapixel sensor for still images. The images we capture with this camera were all crisp and clean, with the exception of captures in dim lighting. Images will look even better ad will have more depth if you use this camera with the new Snapchat 3D camera mode. There’s also the Animate feature in the Vuze XR app that lets you create short videos from your photos. The Vuze is also super easy to use. With the press of one button, you can switch between 2D and 3D modes. All the buttons are marked clearly on the camera and you can even control it remotely using the Android or iOS app on your smartphone or another smart device, something that you don’t find on all 3D cameras. And if you’re an Xbox lover, you will want to read our review on Microsoft announces Xbox One without Kinect for $399.
#3 Insta360 One X Camera
Award: Best Value/Best 3D Camera for Real Estate
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Insta360 One X is probably the most portable camera on our list and allows for real-time WiFi transfer and live streaming functionality. With these features, this camera is perfect for traveling professionals like real estate agents.
If you’re a real estate agent looking for a camera to create 3D virtual tours of properties, the Insta360 One X 360 degree camera is the camera for your real estate videography. After all, you folks don’t need the best underwater camera. However, that’s not to say that it doesn’t work well in other applications like sports and travel. This camera features a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor and dual 200 degree f/2.0 fisheye lenses that combine to create 5.7K videos with a frame rate of 30fps and 18MP 360 degree photos. Any images and video you take on the One X are bound to come out looking amazing, with 5.7K video resolution and 18 megapixel stills image resolution. Unfortunately, you can only shoot in 360-degree mode, with no option to go stereoscopic. This is the biggest downfall of the One X 3D stereo cameras.
Fortunately, its ease of use, portable design and overall convenience for use on the go quickly outshine that particular downside. Being that the One X is not weather resistant, it isn’t much of an action shots camera, but more of a camera for recording short video on business/daily life. Its cousin the Insta360 One R is more of the action shots type. The Insta360 smartphone 3D camera app is super sleek and allows you to edit your content on the fly – no need for Photoshop 3D photo app or LucidPix 3D photo creator, and you can also shoot bullet time shots. You can even mark points of interest in your videos and the video will automatically pan to those spots when the viewer reaches that point of the content. This is an excellent feature for real estate videography to highlight special portions of the houses they’re trying to sell or create a floor plan with room dimensions. You also get excellent tools to transform spherical video into something watchable on TV or smartphone. And finally, the Insta360 One X has a 1200 mAh battery charged via a Micro-USB interface port. These 3D cameras are a far cry from the best webcams, even if they do kind of look like them. They have much better quality in image and video.
#4 Weeview SID 3D Camera
Award: Best Budget/Best Portable 3D Camera
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Weeview SID 3D is made for portability. Measuring in at only 3 inches wide and 1.5 inches tall, this is by far the smallest 3d camera on our list, making it perfect for anyone looking to shoot 3D on the go.
If you’re looking for a camera that you can hardly tell is there, the SID 3D is the camera for you. It’s ultra small, which makes you wonder how it can still produce such high quality images and good video quality. Unfortunately, the small size can sometimes make the camera more difficult to handle (especially if you have larger hands), but Weeview also sells a kit with a gimbal that makes day-to-day operation much easier. You could also use a selfie stick. If you’re looking for another portable option, take a look at the Go Pro Fusion to compare. The GoPRO Fusion is a waterproof, circular, digital VR camera with 5.2K HD video.
Another stellar feature of this 3D camera is its battery life, especially when compared to other cameras on our list, some of which use non-rechargeable batteries. With a rated 150 hours of battery life on the SID 3D, you won’t have to worry about running out of juice in the middle of filming. Plus it carries a 3D camera price that’s favorable. Unfortunately, the Weeview does not have a wide angle of view compared to other cameras. Also, check out the best mirrorless camera to learn more about these devices.
#5 Insta360 EVO Camera
Award: Best Image Stabilization/Best 3D Camera for Travel
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Insta360 EVO features a unique foldable design that allows you to take both stereoscopic and 360-degree pictures and video. It’s just a little bigger than the Weeview SID 3D camera on our list, making it the perfect traveling companion for all your adventures needing action shots.
Like its direct competitor the Vuze XR, the Insta360 EVO is made for people who want the option to shoot in both 360-degrees and 3D. 360 degree shooting can be done easily by handheld or using a selfie stick when creating spherical videos. It offers a unique design where the lenses can be unfolded for 3D shooting and folded back up for 360-degree shooting. 360 degree cameras already add a whole new element to photography as opposed to a regular video camera or small Camcoder, as realtors can use the technology to create a virtual tour or floor plan with room dimensions. Also, you can now edit 360 photos using the 3D photo app – Photoshop CC editor. Add 3D to the mix, and your photography will be at a whole new level. While the EVO does this well enough, it still doesn’t stack up to the Vuze XR, which we found much easier to operate overall. This is mainly due to the fact that the process of opening and closing the lenses with the EVO was more difficult than it should be because of the sub-par latching system.
However, the EVO still made our list because of its stellar image quality (up to 5.7K video and 18 megapixel stills), excellent FlowState image stabilization and best-of-class mobile app. Because of these extra features and its ultra-portability, this 360 degree camera is the best choice for anyone looking to document their adventures in the most unique way possible. Speaking of adventure, read about the best cheap vlogging camera for YouTube. Then check out the best vlogging camera list.
Note: Other 3D cameras not on this list but are worth mentioning include the Pilot Era 8K 360 degree camera that lets you preview your video on the touchscreen as you’re recording. There’s also the Intel RealSense stereo depth cameras like the D415 or the D435 with depth sensing and stereo imaging, which can also easily scan 3D models of real life objects for 3D printing. Other 3D depth sensor cameras that function both as 360 degree cameras and 3D cameras include the Vuze 360 Plus with 8 lenses for all angles. 3D depth sensor cameras are actually 3D scanners that do short-range scanning and depth sensing. Lastly, there is the Vuze VR that comes with a tripod thread at the bottom of the unit. This is a standard tripod thread size for mounting the camera. There are many more low-cost cams as well, with 180 degrees and a 3D camera price range of $100-$200, but with much lower quality.
How We Decided
Buying a new 3D camera is all about image quality, much like any other kind of camera. This is why we weighted image quality higher than any other feature we considered. The best 3D stereo cameras for stereo imaging use dual image sensors with depth sensing to create a true 3D experience, but that’s a rare feature to find. Most of these cameras use a single image sensor and digitally create the 3D effect. For those options, we made sure they had at least 15 megapixels for still image quality. When it comes to video resolution, we gave preference to cameras that recorded at 4K resolution or higher.
When it comes to design, we didn’t include any cameras that were bulky and oversized. Most of the cameras on our list can easily fit in your pocket and make excellent traveling companions. We also gave preference to cameras that work seamlessly with smartphone apps or another smart device for greater convenience. If you like new tech, take a look at one of the virtual reality headsets too.
3D Cameras Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Image Quality – Traditionally, image quality on cameras is purely a numbers game. The higher the number, the better the image quality. This remains true for 3D cameras, even with the added component of 3D functionality. The best 3D cameras have at least 10 megapixels of still image resolution and at least 4K resolution for widescreen videos.
- App Compatibility – The latest and greatest 3D cameras can connect to your smartphone for additional functionality like real-time editing and live streaming to YouTube and Facebook.
- Compact Design – If you’re going to shoot in 3D, you’ll want to be able to do it anywhere you go. One of the best features of modern 3D cameras is their portability and compact designs. If it can’t fit in your pocket, you should think twice about making the purchase.
Important 3D Camera Accessories and Software
It is hard to talk about 3D cameras and not talk about accompanying 3D software/hardware and accessories for 3D scanning objects and camera tracking tools. Camera tracking involves taking an already shot 2D video, and tracking its motion so that 3D elements can be added onto it with 3D dedicated tracking applications. There’s also the 3D focus tracking where the lens continuously maintains focus on the subject as it moves. Lastly, there’s planar tracking, the next-generation tracking technique for editors. Planar tracking tools enable editors to insert objects, do image stabilization and remove objects from videos. And before planar tracking, this was all done by three different dedicated tracking applications.
3D scanners are used for 3D scanning objects, to create 3D models and produce 3D printed versions. These 3D scanners use one of two technologies for this; the structured light technology, or the laser triangulation technology. Laser triangulation technology is a much older technology and the latest 3D scanners use structured light technology.
Some of these scanners include the Artec Studio scanner, that works with the Artec Studio 3D scanning software. There’s also the RangeVision Smart 3D scanner developed by the Russian manufacturer RangeVision. The RangeVision Smart is ideal for preservation projects, education, and cultural heritage restoration, with two cameras and auto scan mode. The Occipital Structure Sensor 3D scanner uses structured light technology, and this structure sensor is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and Mac. Then there’s the Scan Dimension Sol 3D scanner that uses laser triangulation and is developed by the Belgian manufacturer Scan Dimension. Lastly, the portable 3D Systems Sense 3D scanner produces high-resolution 3D images within minutes while in the auto scan mode. The 3D Systems Sense 3D scanner is ideal for scanning people’s faces.
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