3D Or Not 3D?: That Is The Question

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TWICE: How important is 3D going to be in the camera business?

Ron Gazzola, Fujifilm: 

We see 3D as really the next evolution in imaging.  It is a key platform going forward in the industry and definitely for our company.  The Real 3D W1 that we launched last year was on a small scale, but we were able to really get a lot of research out of that launch, understand that market and now with the growth both in Hollywood in 3D, and from the television manufacturers, we think it's become a huge platform. Consumer awareness of 3D is rising quickly, and we see that as a key platform not only on the image capture side in a digital camera, but also on the printing side and the imaging side of our business.

Bringing 3D into the home is going to happen.  The penetration is going to be there, and we think we'll be at the forefront of that.

Mark Weir, Sony: 

Sony's approach to image capture is using a single lens and a single sensor, which means we can make the camera significantly smaller and lighter, and actually quite pocketable.  We stress the use of the industry standard MPO format so that devices can easily read the files and display them. You can directly connect the camera to a 3D television and you're good to go.  But we also see the emergence of other platforms.  As Ron mentioned, the potential for printing in 3D has actually already been realized with 3D displays on PCs for instance.  We think the mainstream approach and value will be 3D in the living room on a television. The ease of use and really striking nature of 3D photography that's available now is going to become a driver no doubt.  It's a new way to enjoy photography.

Chuck Westfall, Canon:

 The important thing for us is getting our R&D to the point where we're really comfortable with everything that there is about 3D. One of the things that we're doing very actively in that area is through our broadcast optics.  The lenses that we make were used to cover the World Cup in 3D. Also, we've got world baseball, Major League Baseball and other types of sporting events around the world where we're collaborating with broadcasters. I think that there is going to be  lot of good that is going to kind of trickle down to the consumer over a period of time.  Canon is going to be there when the time is right. 

Mark Sherengo, Pentax:

We're also investing in R&D and looking to see if the penetration of the TV actually gets into the household.  Right now the buzz is there.

 Ron Gazzola, Fujifilm: 

I think Mark and Chuck make a great point.  I think the quality of 3D is very, very critical.  The W1 has a dual-lens dual-processor system to capture high-quality 3D, and as consumers begin to adopt 3D, their initial few experiences with the product will really determine whether they get deeper into it.

Mark Weir, Sony:

I would echo Ron's point. Ensuring the quality experience of 3D is an essential element of its adoption.  If it's seen as artificial or overdone it will inhibit the adoption in ways that no one wants to see, and the fact that we touch every step of the production of 3D and the playback of 3D gives us an opportunity to deliver the kind of quality that customers are going to need.

David Lee, Nikon:

Nikon makes the machinery in our steppers that helps the TV manufacturers make flat-panel displays, so we certainly understand the technology. I think it will be interesting to watch how 3D evolves over the long term because 3D is not a new concept, and many companies have come and gone with 3D in photography.  So while the devices have been enhanced, it will be interesting to see if the consumer continues to have a sustained interest. At Nikon we are focused on what the consumer's desires are, and we will continue to follow that. If the demand is there, we certainly will go after it, but from a display standpoint we don't really see it as a disadvantage.

Ron Gazzola, Fujifilm: 

A big aspect for us is to be able to deliver good quality content on all of those displays that are obviously getting a huge push in the market place both from manufacturers and retailers. Getting that content onto television in a simple way is probably the key and I think that's where we're pretty focused. The next step is getting it onto these new 3D displays in a very simple and easy one-touch manner. That's where the key is in the back half for us. 

Pete Palermo, Kodak:

We've got quite a bit of R&D going on with respect to 3D, but we won't bring anything to market until there's a sizable segment out there to go after.  Our customer has this expectation that a product has to have one-button simplicity both on the capture side as well as on the enjoyment.  So for us, while men are very forgiving with respect to new technologies and adoption, our core consumer - the chief memory officer of the household, Mom - has a different set of expectations and would probably not enjoy the experience available today. If that experience becomes easier in the future I'm sure our core consumer would be a target for 3D.

Liz Cutting:

I think there's also a longer adoption curve for women. If we look, for instance, at people who own a digital camera and how are they viewing their devices, it seems that about twice as many male digital camera users as female are viewing them on TV. So there's a predisposition to cool, big screens, and that same trend will probably roll over into 3D a bit. It's going to be a longer adoption curve to get down to that one button simplicity, though. As a female, I accept that the 3D experience is really enriching my life and my family's life, I think it's just a longer curve to get to the mainstream.

Dennis Eppel, Panasonic:

I think 3D will only expand the whole imaging category and for 3D it's really important because it adds something to the 3D world that is missing, which is content. So we'll have a new 3D camcorder out in the fall, which is hitting a very attractive price point, and with our displays already in the market, we will offer a full end-to-end solution.


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