Owners Thread for Panasonic AG-3DA1
I didn't see a thread for this camera so I'm getting one started. I haven't seen many posts here about this camera so maybe not too many here have it? I've had mine for a few months now.
Here are a few accessories you can get for this camera that might come in handy:
Link is old, Zunow has discontinued product.
This is probably the best accessory for this camera out there. The 3DA1 suffers from closeup problems which not only effect the 3D but also how wide your shots are. You have to shoot from about 8 feet out min. This wide angle kit really opens up the range of this camera and works full zoom thru. Installed you can shoot about 18" min. depending on how much popout you want. 18" is about the closest you can shoot but might be a little extreme. 24"-32" for more conservative uses.
A special note on the Zunow kit, there does appear to be some vignetting at times, it's really random, just how the light hits the lenses, so you have to be careful, but I think this is pretty common with screw on adapters. Zooming from Z00 to Z03 removes most of the vignetting and is what I do when this occurs and it doesn't change your scene that much.
The other problem with this kit is at times there is a loss of sharpness on the edges, usually at full zoom. This is another known problem with screw on adapters. It doesn't happen all the time and only at longer zoomed ranges but you really have to check focus when using the kit. If longer range shooting is used a lot, it might be better to just remove the kit for those shots.
The Panasonic lenses have threads so you can easily add these lenses or other screw on adapters. However, there are very few that can be used, as the lenses get very close depending on what type of lens is to be added. I've checked quite a few macro, fish eye, ultra wide and wide angle lenses and many will not work with Panasonic'c 43mm lenses, so don't just buy 2 of something and expect it to work.
I was successfully in mounting a Vivitar Macro kit to the 52mm Zunow lenses. I could have used the 43mm kit but with the wider angle of the Zunow kit, macro is a bit easier. The +1, +2 and +4 work ok, I was not able to use the +10 as it would not focus at all, even in bright sunlight. But the Vivitar kit was very cheap and it came with new lens caps.
I'm still testing out this set and I'll get a link to some that will work on the 3DA1 when I get a chance.
Cyclopital Stereo Base Extender
There's more info on what this does at their link, basically widens the fixed I.A. for more stereo at distances. I'm considering purchasing this next year, but at $2K, I'm still on the fence.
My Thoughts on the AG-3DA1
The biggest advantages of this camera are the wider I.A. of the lenses, and separate compression of the lenses onto dual SDHC cards, not a single compression of both lenses. The result is dual output files at 22 mbps video. If that's not enough it also has dual HD SDI outputs for uncompressed video, which I'm considering if I can ever find one that's decently priced.
Anyone out there using the 3DA1? I've been having a lot of fun with mine, it puts out some nice crisp images and the 3D is pretty good. The prices on these have dropped pretty far from their original $21k price, but other 3D cameras have been released after this one so getting one now might be a little easier.
I also have the HDC Z10000 and between the two I do prefer the 3DA1 for 3D, it's mostly PQ on the Z10k doesn't translate as nice with the single MVC compression, vs dual compression method of the 3DA1. Also at medium to long range the 3DA1 appears to have better stereo effect, but since it does have a wider I.A. that is to be expected.
However, the 3DA1 is not as point and shoot friendly as the Z10k. The 3DA1 is not an auto mode camera by any means. You have to check convergence, focus, iris for every shot. It's larger, no image stab. and therefor you really need a tripod to use it. Between the two cameras it's easier to go wrong on the 3DA1. But once you understand how to operate it, you can get some really stunning 3D images with it.
If you're looking for something you can just pick up and go, start shooting and don't have time to worry about how your shot will look, I'd stay as far away from this camera as possible. If you want crisp 3D images and don't mind learning, carrying a tripod and taking extra time to setup your shots, you'll really appreciate what the 3DA1 can do.
Panasonic AG-3DA1 onboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis