What Are 3D Digital Cameras?

Three-Dimensional (3D) digital cameras take a picture with two lenses to create an image that looks three dimensional. Several options are available commercially, and photographers can also create their own systems if commercial ones do not meet their needs. In addition to still photography, 3D video is an option with some products. Working with digital files can be much easier than handling film when it comes to dealing with issues like registration for 3D images, making it accessible to amateur photographers.

In commercial 3D digital cameras, the face of the camera includes two offset lenses. When the photographer presses the shutter, the camera records two images, which can be merged to create a single three-dimensional picture. A toggle may allow people to switch between two and three-dimensional photography for different environments, and it also possible to change between still and video. 3D digital cameras have varying resolutions and quality, depending on model, manufacturer, and intended user populations.

Several types of 3D technology are in use. Some, for example, use colorized layers which must be viewed through special glasses for objects to pop out of the image. Others require people to cross their eyes to see the illusion, or utilize side-by-side pairing and a stereoscopic viewer. 3D digital cameras may enable one or more of these options for the photographer. This can create flexibility to allow photographers to decide on the best choice for a given application.

Photographers may also create their own 3D digital cameras. They pair two cameras side by side, typically using the same model for consistency, in a mount that holds them stable. One advantage to using a mount is the ability to adjust camera position and distance, which can be used to create more depth in the resulting image. Using automated controls, the photographer can snap two simultaneous pictures on the cameras, and process them together in an image editing program to create a three-dimensional image later.

Buyers considering 3D digital cameras may want to try several models to see how they feel, and can ask to see sample images to get an idea of overall quality. Some control systems are more intuitive than others, and the feeling of the camera body can also have an impact; if a camera isn’t comfortable to hold, it won’t be comfortable to use. It can also be important to consider things like resolution, available 3D technologies, and available warranty.