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Introducing The Third Dimension

3-D photography is as old as photography itself, and not surprisingly so, for trying to create images that can be perceived to represent the world as we see it is a natural objective and one that was as readily achieved as a ‘flat’ (2-D) image.

The chronological rise and fall in the popularity of 3-D has been governed somewhat by the developments in other areas of visual representation, the moving image of the cinema and later, television.  Now, with the digital revolution is upon us along with the merging of the associated technologies, it is inevitable 3-D visualisation will soon be common place, at least as an optional choice.  There is a renaissance of 3-D in the cinema and just when we thought that our “HD ready” TV was the greatest thing since sliced bread, we are now offered “3-D ready TV’s”.  Digital 3-D still cameras by Fuji and Sony are also appearing in the shops along with video cameras by Panasonic.

Most 3-D TV’s, such as those manufactured by Samsung, LG, and Panasonic, are able to play images directly from a connected 3-D camera, such as the Fuji W3 or plugin SD card or a USB device.  HDMI connected devices such as the Sony Play Station 3 or a 3-D Blu-ray player provide us a High Definition (HD) experience in both 2-D and 3-D.  For more in the way of managing our images for 3D viewing, CLICK here.

Where do we go from here?  Well, those of us wishing to try our hand at creating lifelike images can readily do this with a single digital camera, free computer software and a viewing means for the digital image or print.

Try this; with your chosen digital camera, find a suitable stationary subject, take a single image then move a little to the right (around 65mm) and take a second image.  The two images can be mounted side by side in PhotoShop, or similar program and printed as a pair for viewing.  Preferably, specialist 3-D image manipulation software, such as StereoPhoto Maker should be used (Fig. 1).  This programme is FREE and provides the basic manipulation tools for aligning, cropping and mounting the image pairs for variety of viewing methods including; side-by-side to ‘free view’ or with a simple viewing aid) (Fig. 2) and anaglyph (red / cyan glasses needed) as well as for 3-D computer monitors and projectors.


Fig. 1a - StereoPhoto Maker with aligned images


Fig. 1b - StereoPhoto Maker ready to print a traditional stereo card

Classic viewers and modern equivalents can be readily found on the internet from auction sites or retailers specialising in stereoscopy (Fig. 2).  Projection is a little more complex and is not discussed in this short article.  



A Lorgnette is probably the simplest viewing aid available and sells for around £2.  But the cheapest method is by red/cyan anaglyph glasses, particularly effective with monochrome images.  

The good news is that your existing computer will serve your 3D tasks well, except for an optional 3-D Monitor.  Such monitors can be obtained for around £200 and are available from several of the major TV manufacturs.  A 23” full HD monitor with low cost passive glasses would be good choice.


Fig. 3  – Zalman Trimon

I have several cameras in both film and digital forms.  The recently launched FujiFilm  Finepix W3 digital camera, replacing the W1, is my first choice for point and shoot photography. The camera will cost £170; a matching viewer costs a similar ammountlittle less (Fig. 4).


Fig. 4 - FujiFilm Finepix W1 camera and V1 viewer

Recently, Wide angle and Macro attachments (Fig. 5) have become available for the FujiFilm cameras from a small American company - Cyclopital 3D, making this camera an even more attractive proposition.


Fig .5 – Cyclpital 3D clos-up and supplementary lens attachments

Useful internet links:

www.cyclopital3d.com - Lens attachments for Fuji 3D cameras.

www.stereoscopicsociety.org.uk - The home of UK’s Stereoscopic Society.

www.stereoscopy.com/isu - Home of the International Stereoscopic Union.

www.stereo.jpn.org/eng/index.html - Download StereoMovie Maker, StereoPhoto Maker and other 3-D                                                     related software – sample videos and images are also present.

www.assistpoint.co.uk - 3-D glasses and projection systems.

www.londonstereo.com - Brian May’s website, sale of Owl viewer and stereo views.


‘Through the Window’ by Barry Aldous’

Classic ‘Holmes’ viewer

Fig. 2a

Owl viewer

Fig. 2b