A Look at Samsung’s New Single-Lens 3D Technology


One of Samsung’s big reveals at CES 2013 is its new 2D/3D lens, which can be paired with the new NX300 to capture true 3D photographs and video using a single lens and a single sensor. When you’re feeling like switching back to 2D, a convenient switch on the side of the lens turns it into an ordinary camera lens.


The technology is actually pretty interesting. The lens contains two shutters on the left and right sides. When in 3D mode, these shutters flap one at a time at a rate of 60 times per second, allowing the camera to capture left- and right-eye views of the scene.


These two views can then be combined into stereoscopic 3D photos or videos.

When the lens is switched into 2D mode, these shutters disappear into the sides of the lens, and the lens behaves as an ordinary 45mm f/1.8 piece of glass.

To make the 3D magic happen, the camera uses special processing to interpret the two incoming streams of images. It’s likely that more and more Samsung cameras will offer compatibility in the future, but for now you’ll need to stick with the NX300.




The Samsung booth had a demonstration of the 3D in action, with a TV displaying the live view and 3D glasses on hand to enjoy it. It’s legit, and completely done through a rather ordinary-looking kit.


As we reported when the lens was first announced last week, it’ll be hitting stores in March 2013 with a price tag of $600.

  • spongebob nopants

    As far as 2d goes, this camera will give superior image quality to the fuji w3 because it has an aps c sensor as opposed to the two smaller sensors of the fuji, AND because the lens is f/1.8. This means more light being captured, lower iso needed – so less noise in lower light, faster shutterspeeds, and better image quality in general.
    But from what we know right now it will deliver worse 3d than the w3 for two reasons.

    1. The stereo base (the distance between the camera lenses) is almost nonexistant. The smaller the stereobase, the less 3d there is and the closer things have to be for the 3d effect to work. I’ve seen shots from cameras that have a smaller stereo base than the w3 and the stereo effect is negligible.
    2. No autostereoraphic screen has been yet mentioned. That allows the photographer to see how well the 3d effect is working.
    2a. no external control for amount/positioning of 3d effect like the w3 has. If the left and right images are too far apart I can move the lever to fix that.

    Also I notice this camera has a hotshoe. Will Flashes work with the 3d lens?

    And what format are the stills in?
    Now if the camera had 2 APS-C sensors (or even 4/3rds) AND 2 f1.8 lenses with an autostereoscopic screen – then I might consider dropping 1300 bucks on one.

  • Steve Withers

    I would also be concerned about what appears to be a very small stereo base. I have a Fuji Real 3D W3 and the 75mm stereo base delivers excellent 3D at distances from 2 metres out to about 30 metres. I also have an LG 3D Max phone with a 25mm stereo base. It’s very good at close-ups (about 0.4 metres) and for anything out to about 5 metres. I am also playing with a pair of GoPro hero3 cams at a 100 mm stereo base.

    The 3D “illusion” is very dependent on the amount of separation between the two views.

    Anyone interested in 3D can check out the “Stereoscopic 3D Community” on Google Plus.

  • EricD

    Could be great for macro, though !