BUILD AND DESIGN
The Bloggie 3D looks like a Bloggie Touch, which looks very much like a smartphone. The front is rubberized, with a slot for the two fixed-focus lenses (of f/2.8 maximum aperture) framed by a silver plastic. An LED shooting light sits to the left. The 2.4-inch TFT LCD display dominates the back (230,400 pixels), and it has three function buttons underneath. When pressed, those pull up the menu, toggle 2D/3D, or play back footage. Underneath the buttons is the d-pad and record button.
Looking at it from the back, the left side houses the slide-out USB dongle, mini-HDMI port, and wrist-strap notch. The on-board microphone, speakers, on/off button, charge lamp, and stills button are on the right.
There is nothing on the top of the Bloggie 3D and the tripod receptacle is on the bottom.
Just as I was with the Bloggie Touch, I’m perplexed by the mic placement. It’s too easy to cover the microphone when holding the Bloggie, and there’s no notch or anything to indicate the mic’s presence. Also, though the Bloggie 3D lenses are slightly recessed, they are still way too exposed for my liking; so is the display. Both are just begging for a scratch.
Ergonomics and Controls
The Bloggie 3D has a solid feel, mostly due to the rubberized front and sides. I don’t recommend tossing it haphazardly into a backpack or purse though, not without a protective cover or case anyway, but users won’t have to handle it with too much care when shooting 3D.
The Bloggie buttons are well spaced and intuitive – and they snap nicely when pressed. The rubberized grip lends itself to prolonged shooting as it makes the Bloggie 3D pleasant to hold and it shrugs off fingerprints. A built-in accelerometer adjusts the Bloggie for shooting in both portrait and landscape mode, and it adjusts again for right-handed or left-handed shooting. The d-pad doubles as a zoom lever, and can toggle the shooting light and record delay. That’s a nice touch, as is the 3D quick toggle button.
Menu and Modes
In addition to the 1080/30p 3D and 2D, as well as 720/60p, 720/30p and 270/30p via its 1/4-inch Exmor CMOS Sensor, all in two dimensions. For stills, it shoots 2D 3.1 megapixel and 0.4 megapixel (16:9), as well as five-megapixel stills (4:3). It can also snap 3D pics at 4 megapixels by combining two 2 megapixel images as described earlier.
Like most other pocket camcorders, there isn’t much to the menu system, there are only just a handful of image/movie sizes and camera options
- 1080/30p (in 2D and 3D)
- 5-megapixel stills (4:3)
- 3 mega-pixel stills (16:9)
- 0.4-megapixel stills (16:9)
Camera options include:
- Flicker Reduction (to reduce flicker from fluorescent lighting)
- Beep (on/off)
- Demo mode
- Initialize (restore default settings)
- LUN (multi/single)
- HDMI Out (50Hz/60Hz)
- Format (erase memory)
- Date and Time
Playback modes include options for deleting, protecting, and tagging files for the “share it later” upload feature.
The glasses-free 3D display is one of the highlights of the device. Even when its set to 3D, the screen loses most of its resolution and brightness as it gives the appearance of viewing the display behind a screen door. However, even though there is a very small sweet spot for viewing the 3D, it actually works. As I said in the intro, it’s a “wow” feature and is the first time in a long time I had curious co-workers swinging by my cubicle just to check out a camcorder.
Unfortunately, other than the 3D, this Bloggie display has some major flaws. At 2.4-inches, it’s relatively small, and it’s made about 30% smaller by the steady mattes framing the action on the top and bottom if you are holding the Bloggie 3D in landscape mode, and sides if you are holding it in portrait. Also, there are no brightness settings, so glare from the sun presents problems. Seeing the 3D display while outdoors on a sunny day is near impossible.