2D Cameras

Stereo Cameras

Cabinet Stereoscopes

Handheld Stereoscopes

Stereo Projectors

Old Stereo Photos

New Stereo Photos

Stereo Misc.

Stereo Cameras Explained

Repair or Restore?

Post War Stereo Cameras: Although the first entry in this set came to market prior to the war, it only sold in small numbers. After the war, with ready availability of color 35mm film, camera designs would soon mimic, and build on this early effort.
Cornu Ontoscope 3D

Cornu Ontoscope 3D

While the Verascope f40 below was a pre war design, it saw its major success after the war. The Ontoscope 3D, on the other hand, pointed toward the style of post war roll film stereo cameras, but never made it. How many were made is unknown, They do not appear to be serial numbered. Of the six examples I have seen in photos, no two are exactly alike. In fact, those half dozen cameras represent three distinct styles, with additional minor variations between some individual pieces. For example, there is another camera configured like this one, but the top knobs are bare aluminum, not anodized like these. Speaking of which, this device goes to eleven - as in it has no fewer than eleven control knobs. Ouch. The front panel on later examples closely resembles the front of the f40. Methinks that is no coincidence. Although technically a pre war piece, it obviously belongs here.

Richard Verascope f40

Verascope f40 (post war)

At the turn of the 20th century, Jules Richard made significant contributions to the growth of amateur stereo photography. His company demonstrated innovative talent again when creating the f40. For its day, it was well thought out, and a thoroughly modern stereo camera. It also established the 7 perforation format associated with post war European stereo cameras. Unfortunately, the f40, and its slightly less worthy opponents, were all set aside at the onset of war. Richard survived and were ready for a resurgent interest in stereo, brought on in part by wider availability of color slide film. Cameras sold in the post war US market, like this example, carried a Busch f40 trade dress. To accompany the camera, Richard offered a unique transposing viewer, intended to be used with positive film like Kodachrome.

Stereo Realist

Stereo Realist

Seton Rochwite almost single handedly created the American post war stereo boom. The Realist design established the 5 perforation "Realist" format, which was followed by all subsequent American stereo cameras. He went on to design the Kin-Dar and Contura cameras, as well as the Hyponar macro stereo lens for the Exakta.

Seton Rochwite Instruments Polarizer
Steinheil Wide Angle Adapter front | side

David White Stereo Realist Custom

David White Stereo Realist Custom

Stereo Realist Custom

What do you do when your new car don't sell? Give it to the marketing department! By the end of Realist production, the post war stereo boom was long since gone. Color TV, fast color photo printing and a fickle American public had put paid to the craze. The subtle ergonomic changes make this the easiest Realist to handle, and its "Rare Earth" lenses are certainly as good as any ever put on a Realist. Things like the enlarged rewind knob don't seem like a big deal, but I can attest to having chewed through a glove using the small rewind knob at the Winter Olympics in Norway. Combine improved features with limited production numbers and you get the most desirable example of the Realist family.

Realist Custom Stereo Camera

Realist Macro Stereo

Realist Macro Stereo

The rarest Realist was a highly specialized macro stereo outfit. If you could focus a regular stereo camera to within a few inches, the results would not be visually pleasing. By moving the lenses close together, we can maintain "normal" apparent depth at very close distances. As a fixed focus camera, the Realist Macro was usable only for close-up work.

Internal View


Realist Macro Brochure

David White Stereo Realist

Stereo Realist Oddball

Here it is, the Space Oddity Realist. Although this is not a true factory authorized prototype fixed focus Realist, it is built to roughly the same pattern, and somebody spent the time to make it. The body has been carefully modified. Many of the parts appear to have manufacturing defects, or are unique product samples which do not match production parts. It is my belief this camera may have been assembled by someone with access to the David White factory or R&D department parts bins.

Go here for a more extensive review of this unusual camera.

Olden Camera Stereo Realist

Stereo Realist, Olden Camera & Lens Co.

My Uncle purchased his first Stereo Realist somewhere in the late 1940s. He later replaced it with this Olden Realist. Olden Camera purchased remaining parts inventory from David White and continued assembling cameras after production at David White had ended. The Olden cameras are distinguishable by having several external features in common with the Realist Custom. Olden cameras are easy to spot because they lack the Kangaroo leather covering, click detents on the focusing knob and rare earth lenses, which were features of the Custom.

Iloca Stereo 1st Model

Iloca Stereo, first model

Through the 1950s, the Iloca Camera Co. made all sorts of stereo cameras, many were marketed under other trade names. This is the first model. These early cameras were made in the European 7 perf stereo format.

Iloca Stereo 2nd Model

Iloca Stereo, second model

This is what I would call a second model camera (not sure if this is correct). The first model was effectively the same, but without the "Iloca Stereo" plate covering the gap between the lenses. Somewhere after this model, they changed over to Realist format.

Iloca Stereo Rpid 2.8

Iloca Stereo Rapid

A later rendition of the Iloca was also marketed by David White as the Realist 45. This Iloca labeled example has the less common 2.8 lenses. Although it features a cast body, the front, top and bottom plates are all simple stampings. Controls lack the feel of solidity one would expect in a more expensive camera. One notable feature is the film advance lever, operated by the left thumb. Physical dimensions are surprisingly large for a Realist format camera.

Box and Instructions
Steinheil Wide Angle Adapter front | side

Belca Belplasca


Oooh, aaaah! Built in beautiful bombed out Dresden, the primary feature usually mentioned about the Belplasca camera is its Carl Zeiss lenses. Truth be told, a properly handled Realist 2.8 is every bit as good. In my opinion, the Wolle nsak 10 has even better lenses. The real boon of the Belplasca is its very good lenses are mounted to a 7 perf European format body. Like most 1950s cameras, the controls are easier to use than a Realist. Its also much less common than the 2.8 Realist.

Internal View

Owla 3D Stereo Camera

Owla Stereo, first model

Japan's entry in the "whoops we made it too late" sweepstakes of collapsing interest in stereo photography. The body is a stout casting, and it is nicely made. if the lenses are up to snuff, it is likely an equal of the other late 1950s upscale stereo cameras. No idea how many were built, but they are less common in the States.

Owla Stereo Camera Japan

Owla Stereo, second model

A revision of the above model, obviously, but beyond that I have no information on dates or production numbers. The second model, presumably having learned from experience, features a number of mechanical and cosmetic changes.

Revere Wollensak 10 Stereo

Wollensak 10

Just at the end of the stereo boom, Revere, makeras of the Revere 33 stereo camera, decided to sell a premium version using the Wollensak name. The resulting camera had a set of sharp, fast ƒ2.7 lenses, Wollensak 10 Camera boxedand a 1/300th top shutter speed. In my estimation, it was the equal of any 50s era stereo camera. Unfortunately for Revere, it came too late, and only limited numbers were sold. Most remaining examples saw little use and are in excellent condition. If you are planning to shoot with a Realist format camera, this is the one you want to use.

Stereo Corporation Contura



The Contura is one of those cameras where all the available knowledge seems to have been quoted from one source to the next, around in a circle. Was there ever any valid original knowledge? The basic camera design is credited to Seton Rochwite, of Realist fame, and styled by Brooks Stevens. The case was by Perrin of California (who also made those nice camera bags for the Stereo Realist). Contura Stereo CameraThe case is an attractive piece, but from a use perspective, in my estimation it's poorly designed. Whatever the production numbers, its a safe bet there weren't very many. The literature says 100 cameras assembled, but based on the serial numbers I have seen, I'm guessing it was more. And in case anyone ever wondered, yes, those rare earth lenses are radioactive.

Back and Interior Views | Prototype

Ihagee Exakta Stereflex Stereo

Ihagee Stereflex Stereo Unit

Here's another of them "it ain't actually a camera" deals. The Stereflex system, for Exakta cameras, is probably no better or worse than any other 1950s era beam splitter system. What sets it apart is the unique combination viewfinder/slide viewer. By removing the slide holder and inserting a ground Ihagee Stereflex kitglass screen in its place, the viewer beoames a 3D viewfinder. Although one must get used to the image through the camera being reversed, stereo viewing through the lens is remarkably effective. The wide based prism on the camera is for normal distances, and the close base prism on the left is for macro work.

Kin-Dar Hypo-Stereo Attachment

Kin-Dar Hypo-Stereo Attachment

Perceiving a need for a close up capability, Seton Rochwite designed a macro stereo lens set for the Exacta, which was marketed by Kin-Dar. Rochwite also designed the Kin-Dar stereo camera, although this was not a particularly fine camera. The Kin-Dar and later Rochwite Hyponar are substantially similar designs. Approximately 100 were made. Both lenses are considered among the least common of Exakta lenses.

Seton Rochwite Hyponar

Seton Rochwite Instruments Hyponar

After the demise of the Kin-Dar, working from his home machine shop Seton Rochwite built an additional 75 Hyponar units. The lenses are fixed focus, but like the Kin-Dar can be adjusted with screw in filters. To help with composition, the kit also included a viewfinder mask. Somewhere around this time Realist Inc., as David White had become, marketed the Realist Macro. I'm not sure who came first, but having a stereo product personally manufactured by Seton Rochwite is a very cool thing.

RBT S1 Stereo


If lens quality is the measure of a camera, here is the modern 35mm champ. Based on a pair of Konika Hexar autfocus cameras, the S1, though a little slow in operation, takes stunningly sharp photos. Lens spacing, available in either 45mm or 59mm centers is a bit close, so the camera is at its best when the main subject is within about 10-12 feet. Sadly, RBT has ceased production of the S1.



RBT, a small German maker of semi custom modern stereo cameras, is the savior of people like myself who want modern zoom lenses and metering technology. I spent several years shooting with various of the above cameras. Today my RBT X2V2, based on a modern Ricoh body and Pentax lens mounts, is the weapon of choice. The primary lens set is a pair of 24-90mm zooms. It also sports a pair of 135mm telephotos.

RBT X4 Stereo Camera


The entry level X4 is a simple manual camera, which means it is also a reliable backup. Having the same 75mm stereo base as the X2, lens pairs can be shared between cameras.


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