Snap has introduced a third generation of its Spectacles wearable sunglass cameras, and these include new 3D effects for use in Snapchat: You can capture 3D snaps, with a slight side-to-side depth effect thanks to dual-angle cameras; 3D filters, which add AR graphics effects to captured video; 3D lenses, which add stickers and characters to your Snaps; and 3D viewing, which lets you use an included stereoscopic viewer to get the same perspective as someone who’s captured video using their Spectacles when viewing their Snaps.
To achieve the 3D effects, this new hardware includes not one but two cameras, one at each outside top corner of the sunglass lenses. Both of these capture in HD, and record at 60 fps. Audio is captured using a four-microphone array, which Snap says helps improve the audio considerably on captured content. There’s a capture button to trigger photo or video shooting on either side.
The glasses themselves are constructed from a single sheet of stainless steel, and they’re designed to be lightweight for all-day wearing. They come in carbon black, and a “mineral” color that looks like a dusty rose. Each comes with a charging case for storage and powering up (which charges via included USB-C), and which folds completely flat when the glasses aren’t inside, for easier carrying.
Spectacles 3 are coming this fall, and going through the order flow for pre-orders reveals a shipping date of November. The new sunglasses retail for $380, which is more than their predecessors ($150 and $200 respectively for the original and Nico/Veronica Spectacles 2 variants) and they are not water-resistant, unlike the gen 2 glasses. But that second camera definitely ups the game in terms of technical capabilities, so you can see where the additional cost comes from. Snap also says that these will indeed be a very limited edition production run, compared to previous generations.
The big changes here are clearly the 3D effects that are now possible in Snapchat, which should help tie these back more tightly to Snap’s software. Spectacles 2 offered better export formats for more general sharing, but it seems likely that the company is hoping to help showcase its AR filters and features with the unique capture capabilities of Spectacles 3. Point-of-view viewing is also unique to Snapchat, and should help Snap emphasize more of Snapchat’s identify as the platform on which you feel most comfortable sharing with close friends.