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Panasonic Working on a 3D Lens Adapter for The LUMIX G Micro System

July 29th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Shooting in 3D

Panasonic is quite active on the 3D front lately, after the 3D lens camcorder adapter, the company also announced it is working on a digital interchangeable twin-lens, making it possible to shoot 3D with a normal 2D interchangeable lens system camera (micro four-thirds). Designed to be used with Panasonic’s LUMIX G Micro System the new 3D Lens adapter is expected to be available on the market, although nobody is yet talking about pricing or compatible camera models… even the specifications of the lens such as interaxial distance are still kept secret.

Now, you should know that an Asian Company called Loreo has been working on such 3D lens adapters for quite a long time now, they’ve had working solutions even for SLR cameras and now offer versions for Digital SLRs and even micro four-thirds. So Panasonic is actually not the first to offer such type product, but maybe their solution will be better although we’ll have to wait a bit more for additional details to surface, but it might turn out to be a good product and maybe even quite affordable.

And just one important clarification. Having this special 3D lens adapter attached on a normal digital camera means that the normal frame is cut into two halves and each half is used to store the left and the right eye image respectively. So lets say you are using a Panasonic DMC-G1 camera with this 3D lens adapter, since the camera has a resolution of 4000×3000 pixels (4:3 aspect) then if you take 3D picture you’ll have a single image where 2000×3000 pixels are used for the left eye and the other 2000×3000 pixels are used for the right eye visual information. If the images are not being squashed (and they probably won’t be) no stretching will be made and the 3D photo you’ll be getting will be with more height than width and that means black bars on the sides when viewing the image on a 3D monitor or 3D TV with 16:9 aspect ratio. The interaxial distance with this adapter is also quite small judging from the photos, so it will be more suitable for closer photography in 3D than actually taking photos of more distant objects.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dave G. // Jul 29, 2010 at 23:23

    If this lens pans out (i.e. has professional-level image quality) it will be quite a boon to stereo photographers. The Loreo suffers from too many disadvantages for serious pro use. Limited field of view (focal length not wide enough), small aperture, plastic lenses instead of optical glass, and no ability to adjust focus.

    Using a single camera (i.e. single sensor and shutter) takes a lot of the hassle out of shooting in 3D – no worrying about synching the shutter, exposure, and focus. I use a dual-camera rig and I can testify that these are huge hassles, especially when dealing with a non-static scene. The disadvantage being, as Bloody pointed out, that you cut in half the effective resolution and are forced to live with a narrow (portrait-type) aspect ratio.

    I will personally be happy that the lenses are relatively close together. Hypostereo (where the lenses are closer together than the average human eye spacing) is a vital tool in a stereographer’s arsenal. It is absolutely essential for both macro and close-up work (really, anything within six feet or so). So if you want to photograph a plate of food right in front of you, or a human being sitting across from you, that is the way to go. Portrait work as well. Group/crowd shots or landscapes, on the other hand, benefit from larger inter-axial lens distances.

    Also, I would note that this lens would make the Panasonic camcorder (mentioned earlier on this blog) redundant, as all of the newer micro 4/3rds cameras have video capability, and are capable of higher image quality due to the larger sensor sizes. The lens spacing also looks identical from the pictures.

  • 2 mgb // Jul 30, 2010 at 18:25

    Apart form the small inter-occular these also have very small apertures and so will have a large depth of field.
    This gives bad stereo perception if objects behind the convergence plane are also in focus.

    It will be good for very close-up 3D, and typical use for a camcorder is baby pictures, but it’s not going to do landscapes.

  • 3 Dave G. // Jul 30, 2010 at 23:16

    Most still-photo stereographers push for wider depth of field, actually, so that everything is in focus. Film (movie) and video stereographers are a little bit more likely to use somewhat narrower depth of field.

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