The Fuji W3 Base Extender from Cycloptial - is it any good?
Recently, as you may recall, I've had the opportunity to unbox the Fuji W3 Base extender from Cycloptial, effectively increasing the stereo base (amount of 3d, distance between the two cameras) from 75 to 225 mm. Does it work? Yes, sort of. First off, something I already knew when ordering was that for it to work properly, you'd have to zoom in your camera to avoid some "obtrusions" getting in the frame (basically black vertical lines). However, since this is meant to film large areas, it's not that big a deal. However it would be nice if a future version would prevent this. I long for a camera with a variable stereobase. Ideally, the main camera would be fixed, and you could change how far apart the second one is with some type of rail built into the unit. It could move apart the way an ink cartridge moves on a printer. That'd be really awesome, but of course it would probably lead to slight vertical misalignment issues, which could be corrected in video post.
Another thing you might notice is that the video is shaky, like REALLY shaky. Since I don't have the steadiest hands, it often doesn't lead to the best videos, which is made even worse when zooming. Without the zoom, the video doesn't have as much shakiness, but you are stuck with the aforementioned obtrusions. The best solution is to use a steady-cam, tripod or monopod. I plan on getting a monopod since I simply got tired of carrying around an entire tripod.Is this worth getting? It really depends.
It does what it says, and perhaps one of the biggest advantages is in how badass it looks. I mean, when I was testing this I've had interested people walk up and ask questions. There was even another guy with a DSLR which looked puny in comparison! Dare I say that at the correct angle, you could probably smash a DSLR to bits with this base extender and barely leave a scratch on it!
Apart from extending the stereobase, the adapter also features a "Flash" mount at the top, as well as a gyroscope thingy (the thing with the bubble so you can tell if the ground is uneven"). I have to reiterate that the device is not "Flimsy" like you'd expect plastic creations to be since the actual plastic is very thick. The extender fits comfortably in a backpack.
One thing I had to get used to is turning the camera on and off (since the regular way is now impossible), and I actually had to consult the manual. To turn it on you now have to press the "play" button for a few seconds, and to turn it off you have to press it once to go into playback mode, and then press it continuously, which may sound weird at first but gets intuitive quickly. So that and having to zoom in are the two "weird things" about it.
Now the bad news! This current model is no longer in production. However, Cycloptial plans to release a new version with a lower stereo base and with stronger construction. So there you go!
NOTE: This article was edited by Meant to be Seen for spelling errors and picture placement.