RETO 3D Camera Review (35mm Film RETO3D)
The RETO3D is a triple lens 3D camera that uses 35mm film that can be used to make animated 3D gifs or wigglegrams.
Kickstarter and IndieGoGo were used in 2019 to get the funding for the camera. There were 1,160 Kickstarter and 482 IndieGoGo backers for a total of 1,642 backers.
Backers of the RETO3D paid $79, while the camera is currently available for $99 directly from RETO or through various online stores.
In my opinion, the camera closely resembles the ImageTech 3D Magic, a disposable 3D camera from the late 90s.
- Fixed f/11 aperture.
- Fixed 1/125 sec. shutter speed.
- Fixed focus.
- Lens focal length 30mm.
- The lenses are optical-grade acrylic.
- Manual film advance.
- Built-in flash.
- 1 AA battery required to power the flash.
That’s about as basic as a camera can be. These are specs that are similar to many toy cameras.
Compared to other 3D cameras, the specs are on par with disposable 3D cameras that were released in the late 90s. The Nishika N8000 and Nishika N9000 have an additional lens and slightly better specs.
The camera with the best specs, is the Nimslo 3D camera. The design of the Reto 3D is also clearly inspired by the Nimslo. If you’re interested in the best widely available 3D film camera, the Nimslo is the best option.
The Three Lenses
The three lenses in the Reto 3D work the same as all of the other three and four lens lenticular cameras. Each lens produces a half-frame image.
Each exposure captured by the camera will result in 3x 35mm half-frame images. As a result you will only get two-thirds of the number of exposures as marked on the roll of film.
The built in flash on the Reto 3D is practically useless. If the Reto 3D had a hot shoe like the Nimslo 3D, Nishika N8000, or Nishika N9000 it would be a far more usable camera.
The flash is only powered by a single AA battery. It should come as no surprise that it is under-powered and takes ~7 seconds to recharge.
I have seen similar flashes used in disposable and toy cameras. I would have preferred to have a hot shoe so a modern flash with controllable power could be used.
35mm Film for the Reto 3D
Black & White
The official film recommendations for the Reto 3D are ISO 100 or 200 film on a sunny day and for cloudy or indoors ISO 400 or 800 should be used. Additionally, the flash should be used indoors or if it is cloudy.
The build quality of the Reto 3D is what you would expect from a toy camera. It is similar to some of the cameras released by Lomography.
Despite a poor build quality, the Reto 3D holds its resale value well. The cameras won’t lose their value due to being taken out of the package.
I purchased my copy of the camera used, because there was no way I was going to pay full price for it.
The fake “leatherette” is already starting to peel because a cheap adhesive was used. That was not a surprise as in every picture I’ve seen of the RETO3D, it looks like the “leatherette” is starting to peel.
The wrist strap and the little tab with Reto stamped into feels cheap. I wish it wasn’t there so resources could have been put into giving the camera better features.
There are features in other toy cameras that allow the cameras to be used creatively. It’s a problem that the Reto 3D doesn’t have them.
The following features are missing:
- Bulb mode.
- Multiple exposures.
- Hot shoe.
- Tripod mount.
- Ability to use a cable release.
RETO3D iPhone App
There is a free and pro (paid) version of the RETO3D app. For about a year both versions were only available for iOS. At the end of 2020, it appears they have also released a version for Android that can be found on the Google Play Store.
- Make a 3D video from 3 images.
- Crop and rotate.
- Speed control.
- Edit 4 photos.
- Remove watermark.
- Photo effects.
- Remove ads.
RETO3D Review Conclusion
The Reto 3D is disappointing if you’re in North America, mainly due to prices on alternative 3D cameras coming down. If you’re anywhere else in the world, it is likely attractive due to availability and price.
I’m in the United States and I own all of the other 3D film cameras. The following is my perspective on market prices and what’s available.
Around 2017-2019, prices for Nimslo, Nishika, and ImageTech cameras were much higher. They would regularly sell for $200+ or $300+. Sealed Nishika N8000s were selling for around $500, which is absolutely crazy considering how bad that camera is.
For a bit more context, a decade prior to that, no one wanted the cameras and Nishika N8000s were selling for $20.
Based on current market prices on what can be purchased in the United States, there aren’t very many reasons to buy the Reto 3D. It’s possible to find a sealed Nishika N9000 for less than $150, which is a better value than a $99 new or $80 used Reto 3D.
In other parts of the world, there are fewer or no 3D cameras available. That pushes local prices up to the point where a Reto 3D would be a good option.
Another situation where the Reto 3D would be a good choice is if you need multiple cameras.
I don’t see the point of focusing on the poor build quality of the camera. Any review, image, or previous mention of the camera you’ve seen should have already made expectations of the build quality clear.
My biggest issue with the Reto 3D is that it could have been a significantly better camera. As previously mentioned, the following features would have set the camera apart from any of the other options.
- Bulb mode.
- The ability to do multiple exposures.
- Hot shoe.
- Cable release.
- Tripod threads.
I don’t think that asking for these features is unrealistic because those features show up in most of the toy cameras by Lomography.
A positive is that the Reto 3D has been holding its value. If you buy one, I don’t think you’d have a problem reselling it for close to cost. However, that’s the case with any 3D film camera.
I am also impressed that Reto actually delivered a usable product that was crowdfunded. Too often projects are never completed and backers get nothing for their money.