2D Cameras

Stereo Cameras

Cabinet Stereoscopes

Handheld Stereoscopes

Stereo Projectors

Old Stereo Photos

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Stereo Misc.

Stereo Cameras Explained

Repair or Restore?

Boxes & Bricks: AKA cameras which embrace their awkward dimensions.
J.H. Dallmeyer Sliding Box Stereo

Dallmeyer Universal Sliding Box Stereo

J. H. Dallmeyer Optician London

Dallmeyer was a leading optician, who obviously wished to see his lenses presented on cameras worthy of his name. This camera, as beautifully made as it is rugged, features perfectly inletted brass bindings, which are interspersed with equally perfect dovetail joints. Each joint is reinforced by a perfectly aligned brass screw. The camera must have been a late entry in the age of sliding box cameras, c.1868. There is both a matching wet plate, and clamshell style dry plate holder. The focusing screen is also matching numbered. Also included, a second mismatched wet plate holder, which shows chemical stains from use, a second pair of sequentially numbered Dallmeyer lenses, a well made Dallmeyer flap shutter, Dallmeyer Sliding Box Cameraand two screen focusing lenses. Tilting the camera around under a light reveals the most amazing three dimensional wood grain. They must have used all the best trees first.

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E. Francais Kinegraphe Stereo

E. Francais Kinegraphe Stereo

E. Francais Kinegraphe

Although twin lens reflex cameras were to become a staple of the photography world, the first example, the Kinegraphe, was something of a flawed camera. The E. Francais lenses are unique in my experience for being not just a stereo pair, but actually left and right handed. Focus is achieved by loosening set screws on the lens barrels, and using the "handle" on the waterhouse stops to individually slide the inner lens tube in and out. The barrels are marked with a simple distance scale. The dark slide is an unusual book and slip case arrangement. A fabric tab on the spine of the slip case is used to pull the outer slipcase down through a slot in the camera body. The inner double plate holder "book" is suspended inside the camera from above. Light tightness of the system requires a tight seal between the slip case and camera body. It strikes me as a poor design decision. Changing the plate holder requires opening the rear hinged door of the camera body. The plate holder then wants to fall out. And you better have gotten the slip case well seated on the plate holder, or your shots could be subject to light leaks.

Sigriste Stereo Camera

SOL Sigriste Stereo 6 x 13

Designed by a Swiss, Jean Guido, but manufactured in France, the Sigriste featured a very unusual tapered bellows focal plain shutter. Claimed top shutter speed on early models was 1/5000th. Even if this were true, emulsions of the day were generally unable to take advantage of such high speeds. Built almost entirely of wood, the camera is both large and awkward to handle. The magazine held 12 glass plates, but lacking a dark slide, it could not be changed in daylight. Both beautiful and extremely rare, the Sigriste is living proof good looks alone cannot overcome poor ergonomic design. even opening and closing the viewfinder frame required a specific sequence of non-intuitive motions.

Kodak No 2 Stereo

Eastman Kodak Co. No. 2 STEREO-KODAK

No 2 Stereo Kodak

Eastman made his fortune on a series of roll film box cameras designed for the amateur market. However, by the turn of the century there were smaller, more practical folding cameras available, and the original box concept was fading. The No. 2 Stereo-Kodak was the only stereo version produced, and then only for a few years. Although a light and simple design, under the skin the quality and finish of the wood still displays old world craftsmanship.

Photo Hall Stereo

Photo Hall

The Photo Hall is one of a plethora of French 45 x 107 mm glass plate cameras. Not a highly sophisticated machine. The body is leather covered wood and it uses a simple metal plate holder with dark slide.

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Bellieni Stereo Jumelle

Bellieni Stereo Jumelle

Typical turn of the century Jumelle style camera with magazine back, for 9x18 stereo pairs. Owing to the physical size of the plates, the magazine holds 24 half size plate holders. Advancing from one image to the next required the operator to keep careful track of the frame counter. The plate changing handle had to be cycled twice per image. Looking at the camera from behind, 24 unexposed half plates are loaded on the left hand side. Each time the changing handle is cycled, one half plate is moved across to the right. Therefore, before the first photo is taken, the changing handle must be cycled to bring an unexposed plate to the right hand side. After taking a photo. The exposed left hand image is dragged over to the right hand stack. A second operation of the handle then drags an unexposed plate from left to right, leaving two unexposed plates in position. The exposure counter must always be on an even number or one half of a pair will be double exposed. Large and clumsy systems such as this were rapidly supplanted by easier to handle 45 x 107 cameras like the Verascope.

Mackenstein Kallista

Mackenstein Kallista

The good thing about a fisheye lens is it takes cool round photos. The bad thing about a fisheye lens is all it takes are cool round photos, and one doesn't often need that ability. For a brief period around 1909-10, Mackenstein offered the Kallista camera. Designed by L. Stockhammer, as may be noted from the viewfinder, the camera was intended to take round stereo pairs, via a mask installed in front of the film plain. There was also a viewer designed for the round pairs, although I've never seen what it looks like. In 1913, Stockhammer wrote a scholarly treatise on stereo photography "Stéréoscopic Rationelle." Looking back through the lens of history, it would be interesting to learn the original rationale behind the Kallista design.

Gaumont Stereo Spido

Gaumont Stereo Spido 8.5 x 17

Typical of its era, the Spido was made with a leather covered wood body. The lens panel slides over to shoot mono panoramic shots. Although more portable in concept than a folding camera, the truth is all 8.5 x 17 cameras, as dictated by their plate size, are quite large. After the turn of the century, large cameras like this quickly lost favor against competition from smaller more portable 45 x 107, and 6 x 13 plate sizes.

Gaumont Stereo Spido Metallique

Gaumont Stereo Spido Metallique 6 x 13

Typical of its era, the Spido was made with both a leather covered body, and as seen here, all metal. This is the simple version, there was also a version designed to shoot panoramas. Like the Monobloc cameras, sliding the lens panel to one side on the deluxe version allowed for shooing 2D panoramas.

Jeanneret Monobloc Stereo

Jeanneret Monobloc 9 x 13

The Monobloc camera was sold under both the Jeanneret and Liebe brands. This example is in an unusual 9 x 13 portrait format, and also incorporates the common ability to shoot 2D panoramas. The magazine came loaded with cut sheet film. It is not uncommon to find glass plate magazines adapted for sheet film. After the age of glass had passed, a common way to keep these older cameras useable was to fit the septums with a spacer and slide sheet film on top.

Liebe Monobloc Stereo

V. Liebe Monobloc 6 x 13

This Monobloc camera is once again typical of its era. Designed as both a stereo and panoramic camera, the lens board slides over for panoramic shots. The Newton finder on top of the camera has a removable mask for framing the wide 2D images. For some reason, the rear objective lens is tinted blue. All the fancier French cameras from this era are a delight, incorporating a high degree of intricate detail and of obvious quality. This same camera was also sold as a Jeanneret Monobloc.

Glass Plate Magazine | Instruction Brochure Cover

Liebe Monobloc Simplifié

V. Liebe Monobloc Simplifié 6 x 13

Liebe Monobloc StereoQuite often, the simplified versions of these old cameras are less common today than the standard models. Gone are the ability to shoot 2D panoramas and mount plate changing backs, but the camera retains its rising front.

Rolleidoscop

Rolleidoscop

Raise your hand if you knew the first Franke and Heidecke cameras were stereo. The Rolleidoscop here was the successor to the earlier Heidoscop. Leveling the camera through the viewfinder can be a challenge, but the results are incomparable. The key difference between Heidoscop and Rolleidoscop is the former was designed for interchangable plate backs, or roll film backs, while the latter was a roll film camera only.

Rear View

Jules Richard: Richard was significant enough in the field to warrrant an entire web site devoted to his contributions.

Richard Verascope Stereo Camera 1894

Richard Verascope (first model)

Although the external shape never really changed, the first model Verascopes varied significantly in detail from those which were built in the 1930s. This circa 1894 example is most notable for the pull out shutter cocking knob on the side of the lens board, and the tubular viewfinder on top of the plate magazine. It also lacks a tripod mounting hole, which was added on subsequent models. By the turn of the century, a Newton finder replaced the tubular finder, and lateral correction was added to the reflex finder.

Richard Verascope 6 x 13 Stereo Camera

Richard Verascope 7 x 13

Its a little unclear how the 7 x 13 format came about. One source says it was the result of lobbying by a French stereo club. Another has Richard himself pushing the format. Whatever its origins, 6 x 13 was better established and the taller format faded away. According to McKeowns, the same basic camera could be fitted with either of the two format backs. This is an altogether bigger camera than a 45 x 107 Verascope. The features of this example place it somewhere in the 1905-'08 time frame. Although Richard also made Taxiphotes in 8.5 x 17, I don't believe they ever made a camera in that size. Scaling the Verascope concept up even further would have resulted in a giant. If anyone out there has any 6 x 13 magazines or septums, please let me know.

Verascope

Richard Verascope 7 x 13 Simplifié

As with the 45 x 107 cameras, Richard produced simplified versions of his big cameras. The reflex finder has been abandoned for a simpler Newton finder, and the controls have been simplified. Individual plate holders are substituted for the more complex and costly plate changing magazines. In spite of it's lower initial cost, the Simplifié seems less common today than the fancier models.

Richard Verascope 7 x 13 w/roll film back

Richard Verascope 7 x 13 w/roll film back

Comparing this example, to the earlier 7 x 13 camera, one may clearly see the design evolution of Verascope cameras. This c. 1930s example has gained, in addition to several detail improvements, better quality focusing lenses and a roll film back. So as to make way for the shutter cocking lever, aperture adjustment has been forced to the bottom of the front plate. Just visible below the lens board is the focus bar. Pushing it side to side runs the entire lens board out on helical threads. Like its early cousins, the system also includes a rising front. I'll have to investigate what form of film this back used, but I have seen color transparencies in 45x107 format, so this camera is likely to still have been viable well after WWII.

Richard Verascope 45 x 107 Stereo Camera

Richard Verascope 45 x 107

If you, or more probably your ancestors, took stereo photos in the early 20th century, odds are good those photos were tak en with some form of Verascope. Seen here on a period ball and socket tripod mount, the control labels are upside down. However, the camera operator is looking down through the view finder. When he tips the camera up to operate the controls, the printing appears right side up to him. Because of the printing, Verascopes are often photographed upside down. This is a late (1930s) focusing model. Self timer operation was simple. Close the flaps, push the lever up and move the switch to Marche. The orange flap means hold still and the white means done. On the close focus lenses, the notch at the bottom is for clearance around the viewfinder window.

Le Cunctator (self timer) | Close Up Lenses

Verascope Rallonge Camera

Richard Verascope Rallongé

The Rallongé, or lengthened Verascope differs little from the standard focusing models of the time. It's distinguishing characteristic being the lengthened film back mounting flange. This allowed use of a special quick-loading back. By installing a block at the end of the film back guide, standard plate and roll film backs could be used.

Case and Spare Magazine

L' Homeos Richard

L' Homeos Richard

Jules Richard fairly well dominated the early 20th century stereo market. Although they established the popular 45 x 107 mm glass plate standard, they were not so wedded to the idea as to exclude consideration of new technologies and formats. The Homeos camera pictured here was one of the first ever 35mm roll film cameras. Although not a huge commercial success with only about 500(?) cameras produced, it was an innovative design, and helped point the way to modern 35mm cameras. This example is from the second series, manufactured circa 1920.

Top View | Internals | Instruction Sheet | Viewer

Glyphoscope

Le Glyphoscope, first model

Ever the inventive marketer, shortly after bringing his Verascope camera and 45 x 107mm format to market, Jules Richard realized he needed a more affordable solution. Le Glyphoscope was the answer. Made from cheaper materials, it combined a camera and viewer in one unit. A removable shutter panel allowed the device to be used as a view, and a special plate holder with built in diffuser replaced the plate holders for slide viewing. Although clever in concept, as with most compromises, it was generally better in concept than in use.

Le Glyphoscope Stereo Camera 45 x 107

Le Glyphoscope, second model

The second model Glyphoscope came close on the heels of the first. I don't honestly know if one replaced the other, or they were sold side by side. Both cameras employed a molded ebonite body. There were also versions with a more traditional leather covered wood body. To see the Glyphoscope in viewer guise, have a look at my Hand Held Viewers section.

Richard le Sterea

Richard le Sterea

By 1931, interest in stereo photography was on the wane. In response to a declining market, Richard produced le Sterea. Modeled after the famous Verascope, but more cheaply constructed, a reduced price was not enough to make it a success. Purportedly less than 1,000 were made. The body of this second model example is cast in aluminum, with a textured paint finish designed to emulate a leather covering. Although functional, it lacks the quality look and feel of previous Verascope cameras.

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