Design and features
The 3D variant of Sony's popular pocket camcorder line, dubbed Bloggie, takes its stylistic cues from the most recent Touch model. Surrounded by soft-touch plastic and with a 2.4-inch screen at its front, things look normal until you flip it (no pun intended) around to the back to reveal two lenses almost side-by-side. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have truly entered 3D territory now.
Underneath the screen is a row of three buttons, one for switching between 2D/3D shooting, one for the menu options and the last as a playback button. There's also the standard four-way pad with a record button in the centre to capture footage. What's most appealing about this Bloggie for many film-makers is its ability to switch between viewing 2D and 3D footage on the screen. The 2D screen looks innocuous enough until you hit the button and a lenticular image appears to indicate that 3D footage is ready and waiting to be captured. The Bloggie 3D needs to be held horizontally to film video.
Flip the switch at the side to reveal the built-in USB connector with a mini-HDMI port close by. Fortunately, the Bloggie comes with a USB extension in the box, so you don't need to perch the unit precariously on your precious ports. There's also a built-in LED light to illuminate both stills and videos as needed.
There's no expandable storage option here, just 8GB of internal memory. According to Sony, this is enough for four hours of 720p footage or 80 minutes of 1080p 3D footage. The 3D Bloggie can film in full 1080p HD at 30fps, 720p at 60/30fps and 270p at 30fps. Videos are saved as MPEG-4 and the Bloggie can also take 5-megapixel stills.
While the 3D effect in playback on the unit itself is reasonably convincing, you definitely need to be looking at the screen straight-on for the desired response.
The 3D video recorded with the Bloggie is stereoscopic (can be viewed with red and blue glasses on video sites like YouTube) and can be viewed on 3D TVs. The effect when viewed with active glasses is slightly unpleasant, as the intraocular distance between the lenses is a little too short, almost leaving you feeling a little cross-eyed after watching footage on a TV.
As for the software that comes with the Bloggie, it is very limited. You can import clips to your computer, upload them to your social media service of choice or trim them, and that's about it. There's also no timeline indicator to tell how long it will take to upload your clips to YouTube.
Unfortunately, the image stabilisation leaves quite a lot to be desired, as the best results for 3D footage are obtained when the camera is held very still and when there's only a few moving objects. To get around this, you could mount the Bloggie on a tripod — but the tripod mount is at its vertical base rather than its horizontal base required for filming.
Still image quality is rather unappealing and hand-shake is visible. Images at high ISO levels, particularly night-time images with the LED flash, are covered in noise. Straight HD video in 2D is good, though, with a mostly sharp image. Sound is decent, too, though there's no way to attach an external mic to improve the sound quality.
A still image taken with the Bloggie 3D, resized only. (Credit: CBSi)
The Bloggie 3D provides a cheap and easy way to make 3D videos — though the effect might leave you feeling more seasick than satisfied.