Minolta 3D 1500 (1999)

After having showcased this camera at the PMA '99, Minolta and MetaCreations announced it on 1999-11-05. The 3D MetaFlash feature was a joint-venture between MetaCreations and Intel. MetaCreations changed it's name shortly after the turn of the millennium into Viewpoint.

The Minolta 3D 1500 is basically a Minolta Dimage EX with a 3D module inbetween. The lens however is not interchangeable this time but bolted to the 3D module as one unit. The software in this module is called MetaStream and it grabs two images (one with white light, one with colored bands) to create 3D digital images. It's a technology that lets the user convert 2D photos into a 3D object which is then viewable from within a browser. The Minolta 3D 1500 is the hardware behind the process. Both the MetaFlash and the Dimage are powered by 4 AA-batteries each.

Instead of taking one photo when you press the shutter, it takes two pictures, the first is taken with the built-in flash strobe but a second flash occurs right after the first and unleashes the effect. The second flash is made up of bands of colored light rather than a single luminescent burst of light. With these bands of different colored light streaming across a solid, the shadowing on the bands allows the computer to distinguish the depth and contours of an object. Pretty neat, huh?

The perfect setting for a 3D image was in a darkened room against a solid black background. It was advised to use a tripod and external flash mounted on a bracket. A good idea because the camera was quite bulky and heavy and not exactly easy to handle. Taking decent pictures took up to five minutes and rendering a 3D image even several hours. The result was a MTS file that could be embedded in a browser or player. The Xenon lamp of the MetaFlash module was limited to 2,000 pictures (4,000 shots fired) and after that it was advised to have it replaced.


  • Brand: Minolta
  • Model: 3D 1500
  • First mentioned: 1999
  • Marketed: yes
  • MSRP: $4,495
  • Imager Type: 1.5MP 1/2" Sony CCD
  • Resolution: 1344x1008
  • Internal Storage: -
  • External Storage: Compact Flash
  • Lens: f=9.5 mm /F4.0 Fixed focus
  • Shutter: 1/210s fixed
  • Aperture Range: F4.0
  • LCD screen size: 2" TFT
  • Size: 240 x 77 x 76mm
  • Weight: 600 gr.
  • Remarks: -

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