Sony working on a 3D camera for consumers

Details scarce but new 3D camera follows hype around 3D televisions

Sony is developing a 3D camera that will give consumers the ability to create their own 3D content, the head of Sony's digital imaging business unit said Thursday.

The camera, details of which Sony is keeping secret, will make up part of a family products that it will use to try and persuade users to adopt 3D technology.

"I cannot tell the details but we are now developing a 3D type of product," said Masashi Imamura, president of Sony's personal imaging and sound business group, in an interview on the sidelines of the Camera and Photo Imaging Expo in Yokohama.

Spearheaded by a belief that 3D is the next big thing in television, Sony is getting behind the technology in a big way and CEO Howard Stringer is pushing the entire company to develop complementary products.

Sony's first 3D televisions were launched earlier this week and are due on sale worldwide from June. At about the same time it plans to release an update for the PlayStation 3 console that will add support for 3D games and Blu-ray Disc movies. Sony has also said it is working on a Vaio laptop with 3D capability.

Its professional content creation division has already developed 3D TV cameras and satellite trucks and is working with broadcasters on launching 3D channels. It is eyeing the upcoming FIFA World Cup as a way to promote 3D and will film using the technology.

The 3D camera under development would fill a missing piece in the content chain by allowing consumers to make their own 3D images and movies.

Several competitors are also pursuing 3D camera technology. Panasonic recently demonstrated a digital video camera that can record 3D movies and FujiFilm is already selling a camera that can take 3D pictures and video.

The FinePix Real 3D W1 went on sale last year and has two lenses and two 10-megapixel image sensors. When the shutter button is pushed each takes an image of the same scene from a slightly different point of view, and the camera then stores them in the MP format for stills and 3D-AVI format for movies.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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