Yes, I was one of the 1,160 people that helped kickstart the RETO3D… Am I glad I did? Well… Sure, I guess.

What is the RETO3D? Well, it’s a fixed-focus, 3-lens camera that makes three ~half-frame images which you can use to make some fun gifs and things! Sound exiting?

Well, read on!

The camera is simple to use. You have a shutter release and a flash on switch. Beyond that, it’s about as basic as they come. The three lenses are plastic optical-grade acrylic, fixed-focus, 30mm affairs, and they’re sharp enough, I guess. The f/11 aperture and fixed 1/125th shutter speed puts the RETO squarely in the toy category, but there may be some possibilities for the 3d effect.

(I made some half-hearted product shots… the one above is the best of a bad lot. Apologies. If you want to see some competent ones, visit RETO.)

The camera is a bit thick, wide, and boxy in the hand, but it feels solid-enough. The thumb wheel is clicky, and the shutter release is a bit mushy, but fine. I shot mostly outdoors and so didn’t use the flash much. I’ll have to give that a try one day.

So let’s see some pictures!

As mentioned, the RETO 3D takes 3 half-frame-ish photographs. So out of a 24 exposure roll, you’ll get 18 scenes. (Don’t worry: I won’t share quite that many here). Now. I say “half-frame-ish” because, well…

The three images are all different sizes… This makes getting 3 pictures to take into the gif-maker of your choice (I used The Gimp and also RETO’s Pro app) quite tricky.

Here’s the interior. Check out the variance in the masks.

By the 4th or 5th gif I tried, I mostly had the crop down (I think), but it wasn’t quite as straightforward as it would’ve been with a more accurate mask in the camera.

I shot most of the roll in nice hilly park nearby, and while I think the three-frame shots look pretty interesting, and feel they have some possibility, for the gifs to work, you really need shots with some clear foreground, midground, and background interest.

I sorta had this idea going in, but didn’t often execute on it. Oh well.

I made several of these into gifs with The Gimp. It was easy enough (after reading a tutorial), and I don’t think any of them are particularly successful.

The App

For RETO 3D users without access to The Gimp (or an Adobe product, or any other gif maker), the good folks at RETO have an app! Two, actually: a free one that takes three images and makes a watermarked mp4 thing; and a Pro version that accepts up to four images, grants the ability to add some silly frames and effects, and allows users to remove the watermark.

I hoped it would make a gif. Alas.

(Scroll down to my final thoughts.)

Final Thoughts

Ok. For $99 (plus shipping), you could buy at least 10 rolls of film, and probably more. You could buy a Diana Mini if you wanted to shoot half frame and still have some money for film. You could buy a SuperSampler and get 4 1/4 frame shots and still have money for film. Or, you could get a RETO 3D…

Do you want to make gifs? Do you tend to make images that would lend themselves to these wigglegram things? If so, the RETO 3D might make sense. It’s cheaper than other 3D and Stereo cameras out there, and it’s new too, but with only 3 lenses, it’s slightly less 3d-y than the 4 lens Nimslos.

I’ll probably shoot it again. I had some fun with it, after all, both during shooting, and while making the gifs. Was the camera worth the ~$100 I spent on it?

Eh. I guess.

Was the app worth the $5 I spent on it?

Nope. The Gimp is free, and while somewhat harder to use, actually makes gif files.

The camera does what it says, and with a competent user, could be used to make great, fun, enlightening, whatever images. At $99, it’s a bit expensive. $75 or so is a bit more like it; $50 is probably too cheap. The craftsmanship leaves something to be desired, especially the variance to the mask sizes, but it’s easy enough to use, and gives decent, sharp-enough results.

Ease of Use

Overall, I’d give it a mediocre 2.9 stars.

At time of writing, you can preorder a RETO3D for $99 direct from them, and for $10, they’ll throw in a couple of rolls of Kodak Ultramax… I guess they’ll keep making the cameras for a bit, if there’s sufficient demand. I’m really down on myself and my photography these days (witness the dearth of posts here this summer), so maybe I’m letting my own malaise color my opinion. Maybe. Your mileage will vary.

So get out there and Wiggle the Moment! Or don’t… I could go either way on this one.

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