I’ve got a new electronic toy. It’s a 3D camera. More precise, it’s the Aiptek 3D i2. I consider it as a toy since it’s in the first generation of 3D cameras in the consumer market and it’s around the $200/£190 mark. Aiptek 3D i2 is available from both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
Read on to get the details.
Aiptek3D i2 have two lenses placed a couple of centimeters appart from each other. It’s a 5 megapixel camera and have a resolution of 2592×1944 in 2D. It records video in 1280 x 720p @30 fps. When in 3D-mode, the camera saves the video and picture in side-by-side format. Meaning that the horizontal resolution in 3D-mode is halved. Stillpictures are then 1296 x 1944 and the video is 640 x 720 for each eye. The halving in resolution gives you some artifacts in the video. I’ve read on the net of frame issues, but the latest firmware (for hardware version 1.xxx only) fix this problem (direct download here). I haven’t had that problem my self.
The lenses are fixed, meaning no optical zoom. However, it have a 4x digitalzoom which you should stay away from. Digital zoom is never good.
Aiptek use SD/SDHC memorycards and support up to 32GB. I tried a 16GB memorycard and that will hold around 7,5 hours of video. You will run out of batteries before that. I haven’t tested the battery capacity that well, but I could use it for a period of two hours without problem. The pictures are saved in JPG and the video are saved in AVC h.264 (MP4). No surprise there. The bitrate for the video is 7-8Mbit on average for the clips I checked. The bitrate do depend on what you’re capturing.
Aiptek 3D i2 have a 2.4-inch LCD-screen utilizes the Parallax Barrier technology. This means that you can view the pictures and videos on this screen in 3D without any glasses. It works amazingly well and gives you that 3D-depth effect. The screen has a resolution of 480 x 240.
You can also connect Aiptek 3D i2 to a 3D-TV with the supplied HDMI-cable. If you connect it to a non 3D-TV, you will se the video/picture side-by-side. But fear not. You can convert the videos/pictures with the build-in software to anaglyph 3D. I don’t have a 3D-TV, so this will be my choice when watching 3D on YouTube or HDTV.
I’ve seen that more and more videoediting software do support 3D-editing. I used Magix Movie Edit Pro 17 to edit my videos.
One thing that did annoy me with the camera, was the sound it makes when turning it on and off and when taking pictures. There is no option to turn that sound off. But I hope a future firmware-update will make that possible.
It’s easy to handle Aiptek 3D i2 and I like the size of the device. The video quality is OK, but you get some artifacts and there is some ghosting at least in the anaglyph version (I haven’t testet it on a 3D-TV). The stillpictures are very good.
The Aiptek 3D i2 is a fun camera to have if you want to test 3D for the first time. The price is just about right. You probably won’t make the next Avatar in 3D with it, but you will have a lot of fun making 3D videos and taking picture in the new dimension.
Take a look at the gallery in anaglyph 3D (you need those red–cyan glasses) or download them (links bellow). All pictures and videos are released with a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0.
If you have a PlayStation 3 and 3D-TV, or other 3D enabled devices, please download the supplied video and pictures, test it and report back how it look. I have both side-by-side and anaglyph 3D-version of the pictures. Video-download are in side-by-side only.