Panasonic 3D1 a short review part 1
This is a short review of the Panasonic 3D1 ( or at least, some thoughts on the camera/camcorder's 3D features and abilities ) after having used it for just a short while.
The camera, is nicely made as you would expect from Panasonic and it is somewhat like a smaller Fujifilm W3 in style and feel. Measured from the front, height and width are exactly the same as the diminutive Sony Bloggie 3D, and viewed from above, the front to back measurement is a couple of millimetres less than the W3.
The touch sensitive screen pretty much fills the back of the camera, and all 'mechanical' controls ( apart from the 2D to 3D rear mounted switch ) are situated on top of the camera. They are the photo shutter button that sits in the middle of the variable focal length adjustment control ( 4X optical zoom in 3D video mode ). There is also a separate small video record button and a similarly small on/off switch. All other controls are accessed on the touch screen.
Also on the top of the camera are the two inset microphones for stereo audio, and a small inset 'speaker' aperture. This top mounted mic' arrangement has an advantage over the W3's front mounted microphones in that I have been able to fix a windjammer over them to reduce any wind-noise. On the W3 I wasn't able to do this as the sliding cover wouldn't have been able to slide.
The underside of the camera has an easy opening door that opens with a small sliding latch to reveal a split compartment that houses the battery and SDHC or SDXC card. Also on the underside is a regular tripod mount socket that is just slightly off-centre. I use the camera with a camgrip that screws into the tripod socket, and because of the socket's placement, I have to remove the camgrip to access the battery/SD card compartment. The same would apply if the camera were tripod mounted.
I bought the camera in particular for 3D video use and it has proved to be a worthwhile purchase in this respect, being a major improvement over the video I get from the W3, both in terms of quality and also because of its frugal use of the SD card's memory. Also, as I own a Panasonic 3D Bluray player with in-built SD card reader, I am able to view 'rushes' immediately by simply placing the card into the reader and switching on BD player and TV. I own a Samsung 3D plasma TV and purchasing a Panasonic Bluray player was a relatively cheap way of availing myself of this card reading feature that otherwise requires a Viera TV.
The tiny battery had me wondering, how many batteries, might be needed for a videoing session, but it just seems to go on and on. I have a spare battery, but I've not needed it so far.
The 3D video quality is excellent, and I don't know for sure, but I would think, just about as good as it gets, when using the 50% squashed SBS 3D format that I can edit on my i5 Windows 7 laptop using Magix 17 Pro HD 3D video editor.
So far I have stuck to AVCHD ( rather than mp4 ) which is the one of the two camera's choice of video formats although mp4 seems not to be available when in 3D mode. AVCHD is a format that I can easily view on my TV prior to editing, and is a format that my Magix video editor is quite happy with too.
The first thing that I noticed about the video, was its steadiness. I took some test shots ( hand-held ) and they could almost be tripod mounted shots.