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eMagin Z800 3DVisior still Not Usable in Stereoscopic 3D Mode

December 16th, 2009 · 12 Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD


eMagin Z800 3DVisior is over 4 years old, but still remains as one of the most technologically advanced consumer HMD (Head Mounted Display) with Stereoscopic 3D support, although if you want to use the device in S3D mode with up to date hardware you’ll be disappointed. As with most similar products released prior 2006 this one also relied too much on Nvidia’s Stereoscopic 3D Drivers the support for which was dropped quite some time ago. So if you want to use the Z800 with a GeForce 8xx0 series or newer Nvidia video card or with ATI-based hardware you’ll have to rely on other software as Nvidia Stereo Drivers has support only for GeForce 7xx0 or older GPUs. Otherwise you’ll only be able to use the HMD as a secondary display with resolution of 800×600 pixels, that is providing you with a very good image quality as it is actually using OLED-based displays. Currently eMagin Z800 3DVisior is being officially sold for $1500 (it was cheaper before), but you can also find some pretty good deals from time to time on eBay that are worth taking advantage of if you are interested in the device.

One recent ray of hope was the Iz3D drivers and the use of their Shutter Mode as I’ve already described here with the help of i-O Display i-glasses PC/SVGA 3D HMD (the procedure is the same for Z800). There is however one requirement in order for your eMagin Z800 3DVisior to be able to work with Iz3D’s Drivers and there is one drawback that is still making the Stereoscopic 3D mode that you can achieve with it not very usable. The requirement is to have firmware version at least 6.38 available in your Z800 HMD and this means that if you were one of the early adopters you are out of luck, or actually not completely out of luck. eMagin is selling firmware upgrade kits which require you to replace the old EPROM chip with the firmware with a new one that you’ll receive, thus making your product compatible. The latest firmware available as an upgrade kit is version 6.40, but anything from 6.38 or above should be Ok. But now we reach to the issue you are going to face when using the Z800 with Iz3D and that is the loose of the synchronization for the left and right eye (Z800 uses frame sequential mode) and thus dropping out of S3D mode. This happens quite often because of the application framerate drops below the refresh rate set to be used on the HMD (minimum 60Hz) and that does happen even on top end video cards with not very heavy 3D applications. It seems that Iz3D is working on improving this and providing an actually usable 3D mode for the owners of eMagin Z800, but so far (I’ve just tested the 1.10 final driver) it is still not happening and the Shutter mode is still in a beta stage. We all hope that in the next version, most likely 2.0 this issue will be fixed and we’ll be able to use the Z800 in stereoscopic 3D mode after quite a long time not being able to take advantage of its S3D features.

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12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 thinkerl // Dec 17, 2009 at 04:03

    hi, a great blog! i am very like it .

    Do not know whether you concerned about the TrackIR device?
    I think that if it is combined with the 3D VISION, there will be wonderful 3D experience.
    Head Tracking for Desktop VR Displays using the Wii:

    I have also requested the understanding my English, and to thank Google translation software

  • 2 Bloody // Dec 17, 2009 at 10:20

    eMagin Z800 3D Visor has a built in head tracking module.

    As for 3D Vision… it is possible to be done with the help of a Wii Remote, unfortunately the glasses need to be modified in order to do that.

  • 3 Reticuli // Dec 19, 2009 at 02:41

    My eMagin Z800 started dying on the right side of the right OLED just as my warranty was expiring. eMagin wants $600! And they never even followed through with the free evaluation to varify that the right OLED definitely needed to be replaced.

  • 4 Bloody // Dec 19, 2009 at 13:34

    Yes, unfortunately this is one of the side effects of the earlier OLED implementation… they have very good image quality, but the life of the screens is quite limited.

  • 5 Reticuli // Dec 27, 2009 at 08:26

    A year seems like a total ripoff, though, as if they were using us to test the life expectency of the OLEDs before they knew for sure what kind of dying rate they’d have. $700 down the drain. Heck, I spent most of my time just trying to get stuff to work with it.

  • 6 Ruslan // Jun 4, 2011 at 17:17

    (HMD) 3D helmet of virtual reality with 1920×1080 resolution.New interface manipulation.Ukraine. ruslan14@live.ru

  • 7 sergio // Jul 20, 2011 at 10:35

    had my z800 since 2005, finally
    got 3d working about 6 months ago on my nvdia8600gtx card,after i purchased 3d laptop bundle with nvision. i used the nvision ir transmitter on my desktop with the 8600gtx and it was enoughto trick it and presto. then 3 months ago 8600 stopped working-no more 3d. new card now still nvidia-no go.
    never got it working on 3d laptop either. keep trying guys cos ive seen it in action and its worth it for gaming

  • 8 Wilford Brumley // Jul 22, 2011 at 13:58

    I’ve had mine for 4 years and never got them working correctly, on the numerous systems I’ve had since. Just bought an area 51 gamer, anyone have a clue as to how to get them to work on a new computer?

  • 9 Craig Winston // Aug 10, 2011 at 23:17

    Some blog! Obviously has no awareness of the IZ3D driver you can try for free and then pay a mere $40 to breathe new s3s sweetness into a unit the manufacturer gave us the finger on. The Iz3D folks have spent more time and effort into getting the bugs out than Emagin “now we’ve got defense money so all you early adopter consumers who supported us off the ground can go blow” EVER did!

  • 10 Neo // Sep 12, 2011 at 22:22

    Hi, If any of you guys want to sell their Z800 pair, I’m looking for used one.

    If the screens aren’t scratched, I’ll definitely buy it.


  • 11 eMagine 3D Visor // Feb 2, 2012 at 22:05

    Neo, I have a NIB pair I’m trying to get rid of.

  • 12 Nezih Kanbur // Feb 8, 2012 at 23:31

    I have a z800 unit that I d like to sell. Ive written some details about the unit in a previous message of mine which dissappeared due to not answering the silly math question and pressing back. :)

    I’m a 3D designer and bought the unit for realtime 3d applications, but I couldn’t make use of it due to graphics card and Windows compatibility. I could use it for a few times with gt6800 then sent it to service for some focus problems. It came back with some other problems, and I put it back to its box and didn’t use it anymore.

    I want half the price for the unit. $750 + 1 spare skin (the current color is also not the original skin but some cool dark grey.) Original skin still exists but it has cracks on it. The unit is definitely not robust. (Bad design, even the weather changes cracks the plastic parts near the screw s)

    As Ive said it has some problems like some tiny cracks but do not avoid operation. There are also some meaningles reflections of some stains on the inner portion of the eyepiece. That’s why I’m fedup with the unit.

    Unlike the manufacturer I do not want to sell you anything that does not satisfy you. I’ll absolutely send you high res photos of the unit – then if you still wish to see it with your own eyes, I’ll send it to my nephew in LA, California. (assuming you re in the States)

    Then you’ll contact and find a reliable way to see the device and make payments if you ‘re satisfied.

    feel free to contact me. byteman3D@gmail.com

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