What kind of camera do I need?
There are many different cameras in the world. You can choose from film or digital cameras and even from single or multiple lens cameras. What camera is the best for lenticular technology? I suggest it depends on what you want to photograph. I am far away from talking that some particular camera is the best for lenticular technology. But I can determine the main features that the camera has to have.
Film or Digital camera?
For interlacing process we must have our frames as the digital files. So, if we have a film camera, after shooting we must develop the film and then scan it or print the pictures and scan them. With digital camera we must just upload the files to computer and we can interlace them right away using one of an interlacing software, like "PhotoProjector", for example. Obviously using digital camera will save our time and efforts because we skip the processes of developing and scanning. At the same time with a film camera and High-End scanner we can get the files with bigger resolution then with a digital camera, because a digital camera always has a limitation of sensor, for example 4-, 5-, 6- or 8-megapixel.
But with modern digital cameras we can make the big enough nice quality prints. For example, with 6-megapixel camera we can get nice quality prints up to 8"x10" (20x25 cm) and up to size 11"x14" (28x35 cm) with 8-megapixel camera. Furthermore for 3D lenticular pictures usually we use from 6 to 12 frames. In this case an interlacing software gets superfluous graphic information.
Really assume that we have 10 frames with resolution of 2272x1704 (4-megapixel sensor). We want to print the picture with size of 8"x10" (20x25 cm) using 60 lpi (lens per inch) lenticular sheet and print on printer with 600 dpi (dot per inch) resolution. Let's calculate:
1. 2272 (amount of pixels on big side of frame) x 10 (amount of frames) = 22720 (pixels that an interlacing software has for working)
2. 22720 : 10 (inches, width of picture) = 2272 (resolution that can be reached for wight of 10") but our printer has just 600 dpi resolution, hence:
3. 22720 : 600 = 37.8" (the width of picture that we can print)
Since we can print the picture with width of 37.8" but we want to print the picture with width just 10", so, an interlacing software will reject almost 70% of graphic information that we have.
Actually I made the nice quality 3D pictures with size up to 12"x16" (30x40 cm) using 12 frames with resolution of 1200x900 pixels (just 1-megapixel!!!) on printer with resolution of 720 dpi.
Of course, for flip pictures where are just 2 frames you have to have the frames with bigger resolution.
In that way the resolution of pictures, the biggest advantage of film cameras, is not always necessary for lenticular pictures. So, I would strongly recommend to use a digital camera.
Single or multiple lens camera?
For making 3D photos you have to shoot the object from different angles. There are two ways for that:
1. Using a single lens camera and tripod add-on.
Advantages: variable stereobase, possibility of using
almost any camera, portability, low cost;
Disadvantages: impossibility to shoot moving objects.
2. Using multiple lens camera. At present time I know 3 multiple lens film cameras suitable for lenticular technology. There are 4-lens cameras Nimslo, Nishika and 12-lens camera Burdlo made from 3 Nimslo cameras.
Advantages: possibility to shoot moving objects, low cost, portability;
Disadvantages: static stereobase, no ZOOM, must have good and expensive film scanner, 4 frames is not enough for high quality 3D lenticular pictures.
And I know one system made from 7 digital Olympus C4040, 4-megapixel cameras called Foto3D-7C from i-Art Corporation, Taiwan.
Advantages: possibility to shoot moving objects
Disadvantages: static stereobase, high cost ( more then $20 000 USD), cumbersome device.
My choice is to use Digital camera and Tripod add-on. Perhaps you will choose something different.
What digital camera?
I do not want to speak about what digital camera is the best because everybody has his own opinion about that. I just would like to attract your attention to some features that are more than just useful for lenticular technology.
1. Manual Mode for shutter speed and aperture. Really assume that we use a single lens camera and Tripod add-on for 3d multi shooting. It is more then just probably that your object is irregularly illumined and/or colored. In that case if you will use an Auto Exposure Mode you will get the frames with the different exposures and hence all your pictures will have a different density. In this case you will be forced to spend a lot of time and efforts to equalize the density of frames using graphic editor. That is a huge work. But if you will use a Manual Exposure Mode the density of all your frames will be the same. I recommend you to use a Histogram to set up right exposure.
2. Manual Focusing. That is a similar problem. If your object is not plane (It is really silly to shoot plane object in 3D :-) ) or your scene is composed of a small object and a background that is far away from object, in Auto Focusing Mode your camera can be focused on the different depth levels of your scene. Hence you can get a blurred object or its part on some frames. In this case you will not be able to correct such frames defects in graphic editor but you will have to make another photographs.
3. Remote Shutter Release. It is very useful device if you shoot with a long exposure, more then 1/100 second.
4. Burst Mode. This feature can be very useful for shooting Motion Lenticular pictures and sometimes for shooting 3D.
After all I would like to list for you some nice cameras that you have to pay attention if you are on the way of choosing digital camera now. All of this cameras have Manual Mode for shutter speed and aperture and Manual Focusing.
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