updated 10:30 am EDT, Fri October 2, 2009
Sony vows natural 3D, 240FPS camera tech
Sony has said it's developing a single lens 3D camera capable of capturing left-eye and right-eye images simultaneously, all at high frame rates of 240fps. The new system eliminates the need to correct the image in existing half-mirror 3D camera systems, which use separate lenses for the left and right eyes to adjust the parallax range and therefore the amount of depth. Zooming or focusing in these systems results in discrepancies in the optical axis, image size and focus where Sony's invention is accurate.
The Sony system also uses mirrors in place of shutters, simultaneously separating the result into left and right images; the image is recorded when it hits the parallel light area of the relay lens. These separate left and right images are then processed and recorded with the corresponding left and right image sensors. Because there is no time delay between when the two images are captured, the viewer's picture is much more natural and smoother than earlier 3D.
Optical tests have shown that a frame rate 240FPS represents the limit of human visual perception, and beyond that it becomes difficult to detect differences in terms of blur and "jerkiness" of moving images (where images that were continuous are now seen as a series of distinct snapshots). Sony believes the added speed should make the resulting picture seem even more natural.
Viewing the resulting 3D images requires special polarized glasses, but viewers can also perceive 2D images without them, as the images are within the tolerance of the human eye to recognize as a blur.
A prototype of the new 3D lens equipped camera will be showed off at CEATEC Japan 2009, which kicks on October 6th. There is no word on when a production model will appear, or what it will cost. [via PhysOrg]