For the past year or two Panasonic has been teasing something like this, and today they announced the brand new HDC-Z10000 3D camcorder. Featuring a form factor and specs on par with the Sony NX5u and Canon A1u, this camera's obviously aimed at a similar market.
Of course, 3D isn't what makes this camera special (they've had that for a while). What makes this camera unique is the fact that you can monitor the 3D without 3D glasses.
Got your attention?
Those of you who keep up with the video game industry will know that Nintendo recently released the 3DS handheld gaming system which performed exactly the same trick. (my kids actually shoveled snow all winter to afford them the day they were released) The LCD emitts light in two different directions, and each eye pics up a different light source. Your brain interprets it as dimensionaltiy.
Adolesence fervor notwithstanding, the 3DS has become one of the biggest disappointments in Nintendo's history. A couple of months ago they actually slashed the price by over 30%, not even a year after it's release.
What gives, and what does Nintendo have to do with video production? Just this. These handheld gaming devices actually shoot 3D pictures. Problem is, there's nowhere you can view them. Imagine if they shot 3D video - you'd have the same problem.
The buying public, by and large, hasn't bought into 3D yet. To most of us it's still a gimic. In fact, the only major 3D broadcast channel is ESPN 3D, which is still more of a novelty act. (I personally can't stand 3D because the glasses just kill the gamma values, or brightness, of imagery)
So the question becomes, when's the right time to invest in a camera for shooting 3D productions of your own? From where I'm sitting the answer is fairly clear; you need to buy a 3D camera if, and only if, it becomes economically advantages to own one rather than renting. Are your clients demanding 3D? If not don't sweat this particular cutting edge.
Thoughts? Leave a comment below and let's kick it around.