2D is dead long live 2D pop-up-book-o-vision.
Panasonic have announced in Japan that they’re developing a pancake proportioned 3D lens for the Micro 4/3rds system, which will be compatible with existing cameras like the GH1 with a firmware update. Presumably the GH2 will be compatible out of the box. Tokyo based Akihabara News was at the press conference and have more images of a frankly laughable prototype, which has the ‘3D’ and ‘Lumix’ stuck to the front as plastic stickers.
The success of such lenses in my view is directly linked to how widespread 3D display panels are going to be in the next few years, and whether or not these require glasses. Right now, the technology just isn’t there yet.
Should we eventually have Nintendo 3DS style screens on our cameras, TVs and laptop screens capable of a good 3D pop-up-book-o-vision image without the need to wear sun glasses indoors, then the sale of such 3D recording devices will begin to take off.
It seems many companies have been caught up in the excitement triggered by Avatar’s box office, and begun to trickle the technology onto the market before it’s actually useful.
Who wants to wear sun glasses indoors?
I repeat – the technology isn’t ready yet, and is only being released to capitalise on a current craze (which judging by recent box office figures is actually waning).
Good 3D technology is the future but that time is not now. I guess Panasonic want some return in their on-going research and development into the early 3D products and we have to start somewhere, but I remain sceptical that such lenses will deliver decent image quality, and that people without the expensive TV sets will be able to view the footage – until I actually see what happens next year to the display market.