Objects of Desire: Panasonic 3D Lens for LUMIX Cameras

Sept 7, 2010
By Dan Havlik

Objects Panasonic Lumix Lens

Panasonic turned some heads a few months ago when it announced it was developing a 3D lens for its Micro Four Thirds-based LUMIX digital cameras. Though there isn't a whole heck of a lot of info on how the lens will work, Panasonic was bold enough to say it would hit the market before the end of the year. (Now they're talking.)

Long dismissed as a novelty, 3D imaging finally caught fire following the blockbuster success of James Cameron's 3D sci-fi epic Avatar. Panasonic and Samsung are already selling 3D HDTVs and Blu-ray players and Fujifilm has produced its own 3D point-and-shoot camera system. It was only a matter of time before 3D would graduate to digital cameras with interchangeable lenses.

While Panasonic is calling its 3D "twin-lens" for Lumix cameras a "world's first," that's not exactly true. Though it may be the first interchangeable 3D lens for a digital camera, Vivitar actually introduced a 70-210mm 3D zoom lens in the 1980s for Nikon and Canon cameras. (Wonder if anyone out there still has one of those floating around?)

Panasonic's 3D lens features two lenses within the diameter of the lens mount to create stereo images from the left and right sides. After they're captured, the images are processed and combined in the camera to become 3D shots. What happens next remains to be seen.

Panasonic did not say whether the twin-lens will work with its current G-Series Lumix cameras, such as the GF-1, but it seems unlikely. We'd also like to know whether the images must be played back on its 3D Viera HDTVs. That seems likely. Stay tuned though. We're pretty sure Panasonic will reveal more 3D tricks before the year is done.

Cost: TBD

Further information: www.panasonic.com

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