Sony recently announced a concept video camera that shoots footage in 3D through a single lens. It works by splitting the incoming light into two beams, then offsetting the images to create the 3D effect. It's an impressive leap in technology since every 3D camera up until now has needed two separate lenses to create the 3D effect.
We got a chance to see the camera live at CEATEC, and it definitely does what it says it does, to a point.
The 3D effect is convincing enough, though objects in the foreground blurred pretty quickly when the focus was changed to the background. We're not sure if that means if the camera has limited depth of field or not, but one thing's for sure — it can't make objects look like they're jumping out of the TV. Everything looks like it's behind the panel (it's limited to the "positive z axis" in 3D wonk-speak).
The footage shot by the camera has another benefit, though: It looks fine in 2D, so if you don't have glasses you can still watch, making it a great choice for shooting live events like sports. And any way you slice it, doing 3D through a single lens is an impressive feat, showing that relatively simple consumer 3D camcorders might possible if 3D takes off like all the manufacturers are hoping. The cam is just a proof-of-concept, though, so don't expect these being used at the Super Bowl next year.