Panasonic Shows Off 3D Lumix Camera Prototype

Panasonic showed this prototype compact Lumix camera for shooting 3D photos and videos. The zoom lens runs from the equivalent of 25-100mm, with an aperture range of f3.9 to f5.7.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

BERLIN--Panasonic has offered high-end 3D videocameras as part of its effort to advance the premium technology, but now it's begun showing off a prototype for a 3D model from its Lumix line of still cameras.

"We are also developing a 3D compact camera for this winter," Takuya Sugita, vice president of Panasonic's AVC Networks Company, said here this week at a press conference at the IFA electronics show, which officially starts today. The company showed two prototypes under glass at the show.

The company has offered a couple tidbits about the coming 3D Lumix camera: it will have twin 4X zoom lenses with folding optics and optical image stabilization for both video and still images. It also will offer "simultaneous photo and video," Panasonic said.

The prototypes show a bit more, though not much in the way of surprises--check the 3D Lumix prototype slideshow for some detailed views. The zoom lens runs from the equivalent of 25-100mm, with an aperture range of f3.9 to f5.7.

On one side is an HDMI output, and on the top are stereo microphones. It also features a built-in flash and a red button for recording video. Underneath is a tripod mount and a slot for a battery and SDXC card.

It will apparently record video in AVCHD, Panasonic's favorite encoding technology also known by the name H.264. Presumably it will use the new 3D version of the technology.

The entire consumer electronics industry is moving to 3D technology, chiefly with TVs. The technology can offer a more immersive experience--and gives companies something new to sell now that the transition from CRTs to flat-panel TVs is no longer such a strong market.

Panasonic is among the companies that hope people will create 3D content as well. 3D cameras and videocameras also offer an opportunity to sell premium products that might have a better chance of standing out above the crowd.

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