Review Fujifilm FinePix REAL 3D W3 - Last Replacement Camera
Fujifilm decided - I guess motivated by this review (I sent them a copy) - to send me a new camera. Suddenly I received the following email.
Dear Mr. xxxx,
Could you please send your 3D Camera back to us. We will send you another new one, after receive your sending back.
I was very glad and thought now the story will find a happy end. But I was worried. The email contact was not the same anymore. I had the feeling I am a bad customer at the mercy of Fujifilm. I had to ask when I might get the new camera after a while because there was no email response and no camera.
But finally I could pick up the new camera at the post office. It was not damaged. The monitor had no scratches and no bad pixel. Outside it was in a perfect condition. So nothing to complain about.
Test Axes Alignment/Tilt Problem
The first test shot I took was to test if the tilt was gone. You remember, the first camera had unsharp photos but no tilt at all. The repaired camera was useless and the next camera had this problem with the tilt. Below the picture of this camera with the tilt problem again. You can see the red/cyan shift the more you go to the right. If you like to have the pictures bigger please click on them.
I took the same shot with the new camera. Below you see the picture of the new camera. But first you have to understand something. The camera has an OPT Axis Control in the camera settings where you can move the left lens up or down to bring it to the same horizontal level with the right lens. You cannot change a tilt with the camera settings.
The default setting is 0. At this setting my first camera was perfectly aligned. The second camera showed at 0 the tilt shown above.
The new camera shows the alignment below at the setting 0. You can see the shift is now at the left side but smaller.
But the strange thing at this last replacement camera was that somebody at Fujifilm had set it from the default 0 to the value +2. So Fujifilm knew that this camera has a problem too with the default value 0. But again - whatever you set there you cannot correct a tilt. The next picture shows the results of the new camera with this setting how I received it from Fujifilm.
They moved the shift to the right side. The tilt angle is smaller now than at the replacement camera from before but still there. The colors (lenses) are tilted differently from before (red/cyan has changed - what was red before is cyan now and the other way round).
Let's check the photo with the white building again. Below the photo of the first replacement camera - the camera I sent back to receive the last one. If you look at the windows at the photo below from the old replacement camera the cyan shift is down.
At the next photo from the last replacement camera the cyan shift is up - look at the windows again.
The next photo shows how it should look like with a correct axis alignment. I corrected this by hand on the computer since I do not have a test shot of the first camera without this tilt problem. Since the alignment at the first camera was okay there was nothing to test. It had only a sharpness problem.
If you look at it in 3D you might not realize this tilt because the brain will correct it. But with such not correct 3D photos you will get tired after watching for a while or you will not like to look at such photos at all. It just will give you a bad feeling.
At the next photo I created a more severe tilt by hand. If I look at it in 3D I still see a somehow normal picture but I feel dizzy pretty quick. Some people might not be able to look at it at all. But my brain seems to have some tilt training in the meantime ;-) For checking your experience you will need red/cyan glasses.
The option I had now was to decrease this OPT Axis Control setting to +1 or 0 to move the tilt from the right to the left side.
What I did not understand at this point was why Fujifilm sent me knowingly a camera with a tilt problem to replace a camera with a tilt problem. And they looked at it and Fujifilm tried to correct it because someone set this OPT Axis Control setting to +2. But even if they do not set it to +2 and leave it at default value 0 it is still there.
But let's forget about this - this camera simply has a tilt problem too. I set it in the end to +1 - the best of all compromises that I could find. It is not perfect but I understand that this seems to be the best possible Fujifilm quality - if it was not just careless service quality of Fujifilm Thailand again. But on the other hand this camera (and the other cameras) passed the quality control after production/service - if there was any quality control at all. And it passed even finally the quality control of the Fujifilm Service Center. So it has to be the best possible Fujifilm quality ;-)
Honestly - I will never know and do not (and might be not allowed to) care anymore even if I paid in the meantime almost USD 500 for this strange experience, spent endless time for test shots, was running several times to the post office, handled endless emails, had a lot of very bad/sad feeling and in the end and desperately created this website that obviously led to this final replacement camera sample by the mercy of Fujifilm despite Warranty.
One problem I think might be that they cannot fix this camera because they do not have the tools here - at least this is what they told me. They just can provide you a new challenge with a new camera but not a fix of a certain problem. A fix would have been the perfect solution but not so much a new camera with a new experience. You just might get new/different problems. I was hoping for a fix and not for a new experience.
Or perhaps they simply do not care much about customer problems. They simply changed the default camera settings to try to fix a problem even if it does not work and send it back. You should know their repair service quality from the camera I received as repair for the first camera - it could not be used anymore. I still do not understand how this camera could have left the Fujifilm Service Center.
This confusing and disappointing experience with the last camera was the moment when I had to decide if I continue this review. First I wanted to stop to work on my site here - I was very disappointed and had enough of Fujifilm and 3D photos with this camera. To work on this website is really a lot and unpaid work and does not / will not improve my situation. But then I remembered all the people being interested in this camera - up to now people from more than 60 countries came to my site (according to the statistic data that I can get).
The camera is not in a way that you cannot use it if you accept the quality that Fujifilm calls standard. So I decided to create an extended review with video, night shots and many other things to create a more complete picture and a guidance for people thinking to buy one. I love the 3D idea and they might love it too. It is not a useless camera if you understand what you might have to expect. But it is not a perfect camera with some severe question marks in respect of the Fujifilm quality control and service.
So let's continue then.
Test 3D Parallax Alignment
Let's come to the 3D problem the other cameras had sometimes. The last two photos shown at the first review were samples with the wrong parallax. This camera has exactly the same problem. But I wrote at the first review already that this might be a design problem.
It does not happen always but I could not find a rule when it happens. So you will have to fix such photos by hand afterwards. In respect of this problem I think it really might not be always easy for the camera to find the correct parallax. Even the software StereoPhoto Maker has sometimes problems with this. So I do not rate this problem too high even if it gets on my nerves to fix such photos afterwards by hand. You always have the effort to fix it and the quality loss when you save it again afterwards.
The photo below is not the same that you saw at the review of the cameras before. It simply looks pretty much the same since it is the same problem.
This was the hardest review part. I took many test shots and compared them to all the other Fujifilm Finepix REAL 3 D W3 camera samples. To cut a long story short - none of the camera samples was perfect. The worst was the first camera. Let's forget about the repaired one since it was useless. The third one was not bad and the last one is not so bad too - at least when compared to the first one. But they all were very far from perfect and I would not accept such a quality at a 2D camera and even at a 3D camera if I would not be forced to accept it.
Sometimes the quality changed at the same shot when you took it twice. So you get a random result. One thing is very important to understand. The left lens is responsible for the 2D shots. When you take a 2D shot only the left lens will be used. And sadly this is again the lens with the most problems in respect of sharpness. It was the same at the first camera.
But what is good and bad? Of course here it depends on the consumer what is an acceptable quality to him. Some people were even fascinated by old mobile phone photos. Now the latest phones have better quality photos than some real photo cameras. On the other hand I could not find out how to make a phone call with this Fujifilm camera ;-) But would you accept a car for instance where the color is not correct and shows damage? And now how about the photo quality of a camera where the only purpose of it is to take photos? A somehow and random quality is good enough?
Back to our Fujifilm REAL 3D W3. Let's look at some test shots of the last camera. The first two pictures show a typical random result. Left picture shows the left lens and the right picture the right lens. The first one is not sharp at the left side and the next one taken seconds later is okay. Please click on them to enlarge the pictures. ALL of the following samples were not magnified. So you can see the problem at this size already.
Next pictures show some more typical sharpness problems on the left side/left lens.
Lets have a look at the zoom quality. Below two photos I took within seconds. I did not change any camera settings and did not move it as far as possible. You can see the random results that I got. One time the left lens has a problem and the next time the right one. After looking at these photos I took many more shots - even with different ISO values. I did not succeed to get any better results.
To sum up the picture quality in respect of sharpness of the last camera. This last camera is better than at the original camera that I bought. But somehow it still looks to me that the camera does not work correctly even if I assume that Fujifilm gave me with this last sample the best possible quality. And in the end it was pretty much a random result that I got with every camera and shot - so in the end it was up to the camera what I got and not a certain quality standard I could rely on.
It is strange that mostly the left lens has a sharpness problem. This was the same at the first camera. So 2D shots might suffer a bit since the left lens is used for them. At 3D shots you will not see small sharpness differences when you look at the photos in 3D later. The brain will try to correct this problem to a certain extend. Perhaps you might get a strange unpleasant feeling when you look at such photos.
Fujifilm is honest. If you know how to check left and right lens pictures (take the Stereo Photo Maker at my download links for instance) download their sample photo here at this Fujifilm link and check out the sharpness problems (take the photo on the right with the girl and the flowers). [ * Update October, 2012: the photo - sadly - has been removed in the meantime by Fujifilm. The whole page got new nice photos. I did not check these for problems yet. * ] They should have sent the camera to Fujifilm to fix it before they took this sample shot. But the camera seems to be like this and they were really honest. The camera simply seems to work as designed.
The last photo shows a 3D sample photo just to get away a bit from all these not always pleasant test shots and to highlight more the 3D idea. The quality suffered of course when I made it smaller and saved it as jpg afterwards. You will need red/cyan glasses to see it in 3D. To let the box stand out of the monitor is easy. It just a certain technique when you take the shot. It depends on the angle and on the focus point. But this photo is not a perfect shot since I broke some 3D window rules. If you do not see cute little rabbits at the photo below than it is a problem with your browser. I have seen on iPads that it wrongly just shows a picture from above.
If you want to get information in respect of video, night shots, handling, final conclusion, download links and more then please check out the menu at the top of this site. In the meantime this site is far from well organized because it was not designed from the beginning that I will add more and more chapters. The next part of the camera review would be Video where you can read about the experience I made with this camera when using video recording.
Review Fujifilm FinePix REAL 3D W3 - 02/2012
Last update 10/2012
Last update 10/2012