At Shedworx we first jumped into the 3D video scene in late 2010 with the purchase of the Panasonic "World's First" 3D camcorder and matching 3D TV.

We did a camera review and were very impressed by the 3D experience.

Since then, a lot has happened in the 3D camcorder space, so it's time for an update.

Panasonic

Panasonic was first to the 3D camcorder game in October 2010 and have now made 3D an option for all of it's high end consumer video cameras.

Panasonic have split their HD camera range into two segments - the single sensor budget line and the 3 sensor high end range. This is a move to provide consumers with two price points, and is probably a preparation step to drop SD cameras completely in the near future.

The Panasonic 3MOS (3 sensor) cameras now all have the ability to bolt on an optional 3D lens to go to 3D shooting mode.

Panasonic 3D shooting uses a single sensor and a single video stream, recording the left and right eye video streams side by side, in AVCHD format. You can have a look at one of our samples here if you like.

In 3D mode, the Panasonic has no zoom and no manual shooting controls. This means that you have to keep your subject between 1 to 3 metres (3 to 10 feet) away from you.

3D Panasonic footage editing on the Mac is only possible using our RevolverHD app, since Panasonic don't support Macs. All of the Japanese camera makers seem very reluctant to support the Mac even though some figures we see claim that Mac users make up over 50% of the high-end home computer market - exactly the people who will buy a 3D camcorder!

Sony

Sony was second to the consumer 3D game with its HDR-TD10 3D camcorder, announced at CES 2011. Sony has gone down a different path to Panasonic by creating a dedicated 3D camera with two lenses and two sensors. This lets Sony create a true 3D video containing a video stream for each eye, rather than recording side by side on the one video stream like Panasonic.

Sony calls it's approach "Double Full HD" which is a good description. I haven't seen the Sony footage on a 3D TV so it's hard to say whether this will actually make a difference to playback quality.

The other interesting thing on the Sony is its 3D LCD screen for playback. This provides 3D playback without 3D glasses, which sounds great, but is apparently not that usable. We have it on good authority that while the 3D LCD does work quite well, the real-world situation of looking at a 3D LCD then focusing on the outside world again is quite difficult.

The Sony has almost no manual shooting controls once in 3D mode, but does have 10x optical zoom. While this is a good selling point over the Panasonic, when you zoom in 3D mode you will lose a lot of your 3D effect because the camera lenses are so close together.

The Sony TD10 uses the new AVCHD 3D format, unlike the Panasonic which uses side-by-side recording onto a regular AVCHD video.

A good early review of the new Sony 3D camcorder can be found here.

JVC

JVC also announced its 3D camcorder, the GS-TD1, at CES 2011 and started shipping in March 2011. Like Sony, JVC has gone with a dedicated 3D camera with twin lenses and twin sensors.

Like Sony, the JVC also has optical zoom in 3D mode, although only 5x compared to 10x on the Sony. This is probably more practical since the 3D effect drops off as you move away from the camera.

Unlike the Panansonic or Sony, the JVC has some manual controls available in 3D mode. On the JVC you can control the all-important aperture and shutter speed settings, allowing you to get creative with your shooting effects.

Like the Sony TD10, the JVC shoots in AVCHD 3D mode.

A super-detailed review of the JVC TD1 by CamcorderInfo can be found here.

The Bottom Line

The Shedworx Video Survey that we ran in April 2011 asked Shedworx customers what they thought about 3D for consumer camcorders.

Over 60% of our customers plan to get into 3D in the next two years. Shedworx customers are on the 'prosumer' end of the consumer scale, but we were surprised to see how many people planned to get into 3D in the near future - its a lot more than we expected.

Its fair to say that 3D is here to stay. 3D has had some false starts (does anyone remember Jaws 3D!) but this time around it seems like its going to work.

Nice Summation

Great summation of the camcorder line-up. I'd like to add that the Sony model has a mic input which is kind of huge imho.

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