Q I am ready to set up a theater room and had decided on a plasma HDTV, Blu-ray player and surround sound. I saw your column on 3-D TV and now I am thinking I should wait. When will they come out? Should I wait until they have been out a while before I buy? Will 2-D look as good on a 3-D set? If you watch 3-D without glasses, will it look like 2-D or will it look out of focus? I really want to get going on my theater, but I would hate to have it be obsolete a month after I set it up.
MARK FREY, EAGAN
A Manufacturers recently held promotional events to launch their 3-D products, and Best Buy and Panasonic will have continuing demonstrations in select Best Buy stores soon. Availability is weeks away, so I would wait to check them out before you decide.
I don't think there is any danger in being an early 3-D adopter, because the technology is well developed and there is a single standard that manufacturers agreed upon. Over time, however, prices will drop and more content will be available, so there is a cost to being an early adopter.
Conventional 2-D broadcasts will look just as good on a 3-D set, perhaps even better since the 3-D sets will have the latest imaging technology for best picture quality. If you watch a 3-D broadcast or 3-D Blu-ray without glasses, it will look fuzzy, unless you set the TV to display it in 2-D. If you do not have glasses for everyone, you should plan on watching in 2-D mode.
I'd wait on the theater, spend a bit more and get 3-D from the get-go. You will be glad you did.Shooting in small room
Q I need to take photos inside a house where the room is too small to get a decent shot. I am using the Canon 18-55mm lens that came with the camera, and it is not wide enough. Would a wide-angle lens help me? Can you recommend something that would fit my Canon Digital Rebel XS?
A When used with your Rebel, the 18-55mm lens is the equivalent of a 28mm wide-angle on a 35mm camera. That's actually pretty wide, and you would need to go well below 18mm to make a noticeable difference. Such lenses tend to be quite expensive. Canon makes an excellent 10-22mm lens, but it costs almost $800. Sigma's 10-20 is another option but at $479, it also is expensive for most photographers who are not serious hobbyists or professionals. If you are not going to use the lens often, I would not recommend the investment.
Before you buy an expensive lens I would try and get the job done with photo stitching software, which takes several frames and seamlessly stitches them into one panoramic image. Canon includes the software with most of its cameras. You also can find a free photo-stitching application at hugin.sourceforge.net.
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