I have a Revere 33. Here are my thoughts:
It's a very well built camera. Heavy, but feels great in the hand. It has the density and tactile feel of a precision instrument. The controls seem confusing at a first glance, but when actually shooting they become second nature. Nothing about the camera feels flimsy -- you never feel like a knob might accidentally break or that you could do any harm to the mechanisms (unlike say, a Russian folding camera or a Yashica TLR ;) )
The rangefinder and viewfinder are seperate windows. This is not as annoying as I imagined it might be. The rangefinder patch is easy to see and focus with. The viewfinder window could be a bit larger, but it is not the worst I have ever used, and is typical for most non-SLR cameras of the era (stereo or otherwise.)
The Wollensak lenses are worthy performers -- nice and sharp and contrasty. Wollensak really made some nice glass.
I think my shutter could use a CLA after all these years. Before loading up a roll of film, I exercise the shutter a bit. (There is a handy double-exposure lever that cocks the shutter only, without advancing the film. It's handy for easily exercising the shutter.)
I have yet to make any Holmes cards from this camera, so I can't offer a definitive opinion on the results yet. But the individual images look good. The Revere 33 fits my needs for a stereo camera that is self-contained, flexible, portable and high quality. My other stereo photography has been with paired DSLRS with matching 28mm prime lenses (slow, cumbersome, but stunning image quality) or with a primitive 127-film stereo camera with a single shutter speed and meniscus lenses (for positively dreamy, period-like imagery with great stereo presence but using a film format that is hard to find and inconvenient to deal with.)
I considered the Sputnik, but was warned off by many reports of problems. I may yet give it a try however, because medium format stereo would be fantastic. (The results from my mediumish-format 127 camera convince me that having a larger film area is ALWAYS a good thing, even when the lenses are crude.)
Continued thanks for the recommendations. This is turning into a good thread as there are no others on the web. Keep 'em coming.
I've dealt with a seperate RF/VF with my Leica iii, and small squinty viewfinders with my Ikonta. I'm still on the fence between a Colorist II and the Revere 33. Both seem to be equals in original build quality and lenses. I'm not sure how their aggregate relaibilty has been over the years. From what I can tell, the major difference are:
Revere 33: Has bubble level in viewfinder, but hotshoe won't work with a normal flash.
Colorist II: Normal hotshoe, but no bubble level.
Any other thoughts?
What did you end up getting? Please reconsider and get a nice stereo realist 2.8, beautiful tessar type lenses, and really sharp even at f2.8. Bulletproof shutter and camera. there is not much that can go wrong with these cameras, plus if something does you have a reliable repairman with a quick turnover time to fix it.(Dr T he also answers questions promptly by email and publishes a great user guide that also covers stereo photography and mounting questions) There are also options to convert it to 7p. I smile everytime i use mine, which is one of the last made with oversized wind and rewind buttons, love it. With some velvia it is like looking at an idealized technicolor world. With stereo photography you wont be using your rangefinder much, except for closeups, you will mostly be using hyperfocal or 8ft for indoor flash pictures, so dont worry too much about that. The stereo realist has a nice bright viewfinder which shows you exactly what will capture on film, you can add a small bubble level if you desire. It is also easy to use with external flash, i use a hotshoe to pc cord adapter and a flash bracket made by hama, on my late model there is a pc plufg on the front of the camera.
I must have been lucky, the sputnik I bought off ebay worked flawlessly--no overhaul needed.
Originally Posted by edp
I'd say you were lucky, yes. Not even leaky light traps? Or rather, "light traps".
Save yourself some time and money and the inevitable upgrade path and just get a TL-120.
Time, perhaps. Money? Those things cost ten times as much. Think how many rolls of film that would buy.
Are these actually any good? Spending that much on a new camera from china worries me.
Originally Posted by roboflick
But if they work as advertise I might just buy one.