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Shortcourse in Stereo Photography: LensesShortcourse in Stereo Photography: LensesShortcourse in Stereo Photography: LensesShortcourse in Stereo Photography: LensesShortcourse in Stereo Photography: Lenses

A Short Course Book
Stereo Photography
3D in the Digital Era


Click to explore the effect of focal length on the angle of view.
Click to explore the effect of focal length on the angle of view.
All modern stereo cameras are equipped with one or two zoom lenses.
  • Avoid using digital zoom except when capturing movies. It does nothing but crop your images and then enlarge them to fill the sensor—adding noise while it does so. If you want to crop images you can do so later in a photo-editing program to much better effect.
  • Short focal length lenses (zooming out) not only has a wider field of view that increases how much of a scene you can capture, it also increases depth of field and the appearance of greater depth in the image. This is mainly because it lets you include more of the foreground where the 3D effect is strongest.
  • The 3D effect may not be as pronounced when the lens is zoomed all the way in on a subject or when subjects are far from the camera. Long focal lengths (as when zoomed in) tend to flatten objects at a distance, making them look like cardboard cutouts. The lens doesn't do anything except capture a part of the scene that we already perceive as flattened because it's beyond the range of our stereo vision. A photograph can appear to compress space so that objects appear closer together than you expect. Another photograph of the same scene can seem to expand space so that objects appear farther apart than normal. This loss of depth is often attributed to the focal length of the lens being used but are actually caused by your distance from the subject.
  • When taking close-ups, zoom in on the subject or use a longer focal length lens.
  • Fuji recommends the following approximate shooting distances for their W3.

Capturing Stereo Photographs


The manual for the Fuji W1 states that in 3D mode its focal length varies between 7.1 mm and 26.9 mm (39–149 mm in 35 mm). The focal length of the lens has a different range of 6.3–18.9 mm (in ten discrete steps). The two ranges differ because a builtin digital zoom is used and can't be disabled.

You can see the effect of this digital zoom on the camera's monitor by pressing the button to switch back and forth between 3D and 2D modes.

The amount of digital zoom varies between 1.13x (for 6.3 mm) and 1.43x (for 18.9 mm).

The use of digital zoom not only increases noise in your images. In 3D mode it also reduces the area of the image sensor used to record an image from 10 Mpixels to 7.8 Megapixels (when zoomed out) and to 4.9 Megapixels (when zoomed in).

Shortcourse in Stereo Photography: 3D in digital Era

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