As expected Sony has just released a new firmware update that brings some 3D shooting capabilities to the company’s NEX-3 and NEX-5 interchangeable lens digital cameras. The new firmware update adds several performance enhancements plus the so called 3D Sweep Panorama mode that will allow you to take stereoscopic 3D panorama photos by just sweeping your camera around the scenery you want to capture. The 3D Panorama Sweep mode works just like the already available mode for taking panoramic photos inside these cameras and the new mode just extends this functionality further, so it is just a software improvement not requiring any additional hardware. Have in mind that the Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5 digital cameras are not true stereoscopic 3D cameras like the Fujifilm Finepix Real 3D W1 for example and they do have just one lens and sensor and not two. So the only 3D photo mode that you have available in the one for taking photos in stereo 3D of panoramas, however you can still manually take two pictures with a little offset of the camera to produce a stereoscopic 3D photo after some editing with a free software like the StereoPhoto Maker. Then again this manual 3D shooting can be done with just about any normal camera, the problem is that it is not so easy and requires some experience and knowledge in order to produce good stereo 3D photos. But the 3D Sweep Panorama mode does everything automatically, you just need to move the camera and it will do the taking of pictures and sticking them into a nice stereo 3D panorama. The NEX-5 and NEX-3 shoot a high-speed burst of frames that are automatically combined inside the camera to create a seamless panoramic still image containing depth information.
Bear in mind that the firmware update version 02 for the Sony NEX-3/5 that is already available for download is intended only for NEX-5/NEX-3 cameras with Version 01 firmware currently installed as newer cameras may ship with the new firmware pre-installed, so there will be no need to update it if you are yet to purchase one of these cameras. You can check the current version of the firmware installed on the camera by selecting MENU / SETUP / VERSION. And if you do have one of these camera and update the firmware you are more than welcome to share some 3D panorama images here, as I personally do not have any of the two models to try it.