Fujifilm 3D camera hands-on

I’ve just handled the future. I feel like Rod Taylor from The Time Machine, except my means of time travel is a Barbara Windsor-like Fujifilm represen

I’ve just handled the future. I feel like Rod Taylor from The Time Machine, except my means of time travel is a Barbara Windsor-like Fujifilm representative, rather than a silly brass chair with a parasol twirling pathetically out of its behind.My brush with Christmas-yet-to-come was in the form of the Fujifilm Real 3D W1 digital camera. In case you’re not familiar with it, the Real 3D bit isn’t just silly marketing speak for “aren’t the pictures lifelike?” – the W1 actually takes 3D photos.Thanks to two lenses set wide apart on the facia, and two photo sensors – Fujifilm’s standard-size 1/2.3in CCDs, so no reduction in quality – the W1 can create true stereoscopic images.But the amazing bit, the bit that you’ll want to show all your friends, is that you can see the photos popping out of the rear LCD in proper 3D, without any need to wear stupid glasses. That is the wonder of a lenticular screen.Okay, so what were my first impressions? Well, it’s a chunky beast, bigger than your average compact, but it’s housing two lenses and two sensors, so that was to be expected. Then I turned it on…And I turned it off and on again. And again. A 3D logo kept popping up on (or out of) the LCD and I had to keep doing it to persuade myself that it wasn’t my imagination.Taking a few 3D shots of my own, I soon found what worked and what didn’t – a subject in mid-foreground with the far distance in background produced the most layered results.Due to the width apart of the lenses, macro shots were only possible using an alternative technique that involves the W1 taking two shots in quick succession with the same lens, so you move the camera manually to create the 3D effect.It was all quick and fun. And in case you were worrying, the Real 3D W1 also takes normal 10megapixel 2D photos. That's all I'm saying about the W1 for now - you'll have to wait for the full review, coming soon.I also saw some examples of photos printed on Fujifilm’s lenticular paper. Imagine the free 3D pictures you used to get with packets of cereal, with dinosaurs and things on them. The Fujifilm prints were much better than that.If you don’t want to get prints, there’s also the Real 3D V1 picture viewer on its way – essentially an 8in digital photo frame with a lenticular screen.Okay, so you want to know how far off it all is and how many body parts you’ll have to sell. The answer in both cases may be more acceptable than you think.The whole system is due for a Christmas release, with the W1 around the £550 mark and the V1 around £400. The prints, however, will be a trifle expensive - around US$5 each.So, the future is soon, reasonably priced and without a Morlock in sight.