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Although 3D Cameras are nothing new to the general public in this day and age, the two new additions to Sony’s 2010 Cybershot line are offering something new to the technology. These cameras are the first point-and-shoot cameras that offer 3D imaging capabilities that utilise only a single lens.

Now let me explain how that makes it a new technology. Mainstream 3D cameras (or stereo cameras) utilise two (or sometimes more) lenses to create a stereoscopic or 3D image by capturing two separate images from two (or more) different perspectives. The two images are then overlaid and by using red/blue anaglyph filters, polarization or viewing the images on a specially treated screen, it simulates human binocular vision to give it a three dimensional view.

The new Exmor R CMOS-sensor-based Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 (left) and Cyber-shot DSC-TX9 (right) are the first of their kind to offer a 3D panorama mode that allows you to shoot 3D images with a single lens. To do this, you only have to press the shutter button and pan it across the scene and the camera automatically stitches a 3D image for you. Then you view it through special glasses on a compatible HDTV set to see the 3D effect.

The main shortcoming of this one is that although the 3D image displays fine on other monitors, in order to obtain the proper 3D effect, you need to view the images through Sony’s Bravia HDTV while wearing the company’s Shutter 3D glasses. A hefty investment just to view images shot through these cameras.