Stereo cameras

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by alan_rockwood, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. After seeing some very old stereo photos taken by my wife's grandfather, I just bought two old stereo cameras, one is a Stereo Realist and the other is a Sputnik.
    Would anyone like to comment on stereo photography: equipment, techniques, aesthetics, etc.?
  2. You don't get a stereo effect unless you shoot close to your main subject. Kodak will no longer process film shot in stereo, but some independent labs will. The images don't have much impact unless you project them.
  3. Hi Alan, I am interested in reading some of the responses also. I bought a Revere stereo 33 last week. It looks like new and seems to work fine. I went to a stereo photography convention many years ago and was amazed at many of the images. I hope the two cameras work well for you.
  4. I don't know why Kodak, or anyone else, wouldn't process stereo film, but most likely won't mount slides for you. That means you have to mount slides yourself, and also need a stereo projector. Ask for the film to be returned uncut.
    You could have negatives developed, scan them yourself, print them, then mount the prints to view with a stereo viewer.
    You might be able to generate images to display on 3D TV sets. I don't know how to do it, but it shouldn't be so hard.
  5. Stereo cameras were discussed (amongst other camera and photograhy subjects), on an episode of the Film Photography Podcast last winter. If you go to the website, you can hear it, and if I recall correctly, tips were giving for printing and setting up images in a frame so the stereoscopic effect could be viewed.
    Podcast is here:
    More info here, at this site:
  6. I have a Revere Stereo 33 and viewer from my father-in-law. I have gotten a couple of good rolls out of it. There's apparently an issue with a bad design of the winding system which results in unequal spacing between exposures. I sent it off to someone and he worked on it, but the problem has returned. Unfortunately, this tends to ruin three exposures, as the left and right images are interlaced with the pairs of two other exposures to maximize usage of the film.
    The cardboard mounts are available and I have a few modern shots of family, and an archive of older shots by my FIL. They're fun to play with, but hard to share online. Perhaps someone will figure out how to use the new cardboard iPhone goggle holder to act as a viewer...which still leaves the issue of how to scan the mounted slides.
    I did see someone in Florida a few years ago with a dual DSLR rig...seems like a lot of hassle trying to get focus and exposure matched on both images.
  7. Kodak (or Qualex, or Kodalux) hasn't processed any film in years. But there are still good E-6 labs out there, but don't expect (or ask) them to mount the slides.
    There are neat ways to project the slides with two projectors, with polarized light and polarized glasses.
  8. I was into stereo for years, from the stereo cards, to mounted slides. The easiest way to view them is with the hand held lighted slide viewers. Realist red button comes to mind, and I think they may be a little pricey now. As everyone said, you'll have to do your own mounting. I never had one, but I've heard that the stereo projectors worked, but sometimes produced vertigo in the person viewing. I have a Fujifilm Stereo digital that I used a few times. Interesting that it gives a 3D image to the LED viewing screen on camera. It also has a viewing digital Photo frame, that projects a stereo image without the need for glasses. I haven't tried that yet, as I have kind of left the camera to languish in a drawer for a couple years.
  9. I have great results from scanning the film, then putting each stereo pair into the "Stereophotomaker" app. This free app works really well. It's simple to create "Holmes" cards with it. I print directly to a colour printer, or output a JPEG and send the JPEG to a photo lab (even Walmart) for a 5x7 print. With a little trimming of the top and bottom, 5x7s fit perfectly in Holmes viewers. These viewers are commonly available in antique shops, flea markets, or you can order new ones for a reasonable price.
    This technique works equally well, no matter what stereo camera I use. I have done it with a Revere 33, a Holga 3D, an ancient 127-format "superslide" camera, and with a modern Fuji W1 digital 3D camera.
    Your Sputnik camera should return excellent results, using medium format film. I would try it!
  10. Your cameras will give you great results with slide film. Just be aware that older shutters may be a little on the slow side so test and allow for that so your results won't be over exposed. The Sputniks on the whole tend to have light leaks so it is safer to put tape over the seams once you have loaded it. Viewing medium format stereo slides in a viewer is an incredible experience. Mounts and viewers are available from several companies such as Just find an E6 processor and ask that the film be returned uncut. Instructions for mounting stereo slides can be found online. I see that BHPhotoVideo even has an inexpensive (less than $20) medium format 3D viewer made for the Holga which could be used for your Sputnik. I have 6 or 9 or 10 (got to get them all together sometime and post) stereo film cameras and a Fuji stereo digital. My first 35mm camera was a Stereo Graphic way back when. Have fun!
  11. Not considering the expense, effort or viewing issues:
    If I could be limited to only one camera for world travel, it would be a stereo camera.
    It's like deja vu, you're standing in that spot again...
  12. I did see someone in Florida a few years ago with a dual DSLR rig...seems like a lot of hassle trying to get focus and exposure matched on both images.​

    I was told that with some non-SLR digital cameras you can connect a cable between them such that they will agree on focus and exposure. Maybe only exposure. Might work for DSLR, too.
  13. I explored 3D photography in the early 2000s. I have a Stereo Realist, a Nishika, a couple of beam splitters, a couple of dial camera set-ups and other experiments. The two set-ups that produced the best photos were a pair of Yashica Electro 35 rangefinders on a common rail that allowed me to vary the stereo base. I used a sliding door bolt to "plunge" both shutters simultaneously. Worked pretty well. Later found two Yashica FR II SLR's that had an electro-magnetic shutter actuator for remote shutter actuation. I made a custom bridge wire that plugged into both and pressing the shutter button on either camera fired both shutters at the exact same time...always! These cameras took Contax-Yashica C/Y mount lenses (usually very good) and I have a pair of 28mms and 50mms. I use a sliding rail for a variable stereo base, and a double ended 1/4" thread for a smaller base in portrait mode (often cropping the photos later). But for convenience at the expense of flexibility and quality, I favored the Stereo Realist. If you are smart about composing with objects in the foreground, mid-field and distance you can get some remarkable shots. I found a used and abused model for cheap and replaced the lens-cover, but it works well, even after sitting for months (years?) and light-leaks are not an issue. I've never shot slide film and have always scanned my own negatives on an epson something 2400. Have fun...well, how can you not!
  14. Anyone know what the fix is for (or who can fix) the uneven spacing winder problem on the Revere Stereo 33? Even a detailed explanation of what causes it would be helpful.
    I was told that the issue is due to a poorly designed clutch and a fiber washer, but I know nothing more than that. I was also told that redesign is not feasible and "it's pretty much something you have to accept".
    Symptom is that the winding knob rotates and stops as normal, but the film advances irregularly (sometimes by the correct amount, sometimes not), resulting in overlapped images, aggravated due to the interleaving required with two frames per exposure...
  15. After years of using Loreo lenses with digital SLRs I bought myself a TDC Stereo Colorist 2 camera. Shot 10 negative films, but didn't yet processed the results.
    I hope that Loreo foldable stereo viewers are usable for stereo-camera images too - after processing in StereoPhotoMaker. Did anybody try this approach?
    From my past experience, the best way to show stereo photos to people that are not stereo-photographers is large-size (A4 in my case) color anaglyph prints. Not even high-resolution displays, but the paper prints, so that people know for sure there's no computer tricks behind.
  16. A bit late to the conversation, but I've been enjoying stereo photography for quite a few years now. I started off with a Stereo Realist and then moved on to a Wollensak Stereo 10. Here's a few tips and observations from my personal experience...
    Always keep the camera horizontally level, otherwise the two photos will be a little mismatched and difficult/uncomfortable to view. Some cameras came with an inbuilt bubble level to help with this. The Stereo Realist is not one of those unfortunately, but my Wollensak is, and it is an extremely useful tool for me.
    Back in the day camera labs would mount the stereo pairs into stereo mounts for you, but that service is long gone. You'll have to buy your own supplies and learn some DIY stereo mounting techniques.
    The left and right images must be very carefully positioned when mounting, otherwise the slides are very uncomfortable to view. They have to be exactly horizontal (not tilted at all), exactly level with each other, and positioned at a certain distance apart to achieve the correct "stereo window" (which is impossible to explain in a short paragraph like this).
    My Realist often had slightly overlapping frames and generally uneven frame spacing (a common issue for Realists from what I've read), a problem that my Wollensak doesn't have.
    I have a Sputnik too but have never used it due to a shutter problem. I have read that they have numerous issues with light leaks, internal reflections and other problems, and there are some good resources online on how to modify the camera to eliminate those problems.
    I've never tried a stereo projector, but I get beautiful results with a Realist hand held viewer. There are sellers on eBay selling LED bulbs to replace the dim yellow torch bulbs in these viewers, and they make a WORLD of difference.
    After getting my films developed I scan each frame before cutting and mounting them. This allows me to possibly make stereo cards from the scans (which I've never tried to do to be honest), view the scans in 3D in the crossview format on my computer, and create stereo photo files for viewing on my 3D TV.
    All up stereo photography is a world of fun and I'm sure you'll love seeing the results. My favourite purpose for my camera is family snapshots. Those photos will be sentimentally priceless in decades to come, as I'm sure childhood 3D slides will be almost unique in the future.
    On last amusing little comment... I showed some photos to my boss at work once through the hand-held Realist viewer, and the photos were so lifelike in 3D that I caught him more than once turning his head to see more of the scene, as if he was looking at the real world through binoculars :)

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