Stereo camera recommendations
Anyone use stereo cameras? I'm looking to try it out and was looking for a camera recommendation. In my research attempt, I see three cameras with a decent amount of availability:
- Stereo realist
- Revere 33
I've looked through stereoscopy.com and while there is a lot of valuable technical information, there isn't much about general discussion on pros and cons or recommendations.
I had the Realist. nice camera, but it was sort of cumbersome because the viewfinder is on the bottom, the focus dial is on the side and the shutter release is on the top.
You also might want to add the Wirgin stereo camera. But keep in mind that it's a zone-focus camera. That's not as big an issue as you think, because when shooting stereo photos, you should stop down the lens.
Try a refurbished Sputnik and do medium format 3D. It isn't much larger than a Realist and the results on chrome film will literally take your breath away. Amazing. There is no point to 35MM 3D once you've seen it in MF. If you aren't looking to tinker try the 3D World MF camera. My 2 cents.
I spoke about this in detail in a recent Inside Analog Photo podcast if you are interested.
You can buy a screw on prism for most 35mm lenses that produce 2 stereo images on one 35mm frame. A friend of mine scans them into Jpeg images and projects them on his 3D HDTV. He also prints them and uses an old stereo viewer to see them in full 3D.
That's what I have, and I'm pretty happy with it, except that my sample isn't very well light-sealed and I have to supplement with electrical tape. The lenses are triplets (the Steinheil Cassar) at f/3.5, and of course scale focussing with that kind of aperture can be pretty dubious---an external RF helps a lot. My lenses are not quite perfectly aligned---wide open, you can tell that the points of focus are slightly different, but at tighter apertures it's not an issue.
Originally Posted by elekm
Interestingly, the stereo image seems to help my brain forgive some of the limitations of the image. A photo that's kinda-sorta-sharp by itself can still look really good in stereo.
I'd love to have a Sputnik. Fedka occasionally has them in stock, but never when I've had an appropriate instant-gratification budget ready at hand.
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
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I'll 2nd this recommendation, I bought a sputnik about 6 months ago and it's become my new obsession. Stereo 6x6 slides create the most amazing images I've ever seen.
Originally Posted by amuderick
I didn't expect much out of the optics of an old russian camera, but I've been impressed--very good contrast and sharp at all apertures.
Sputnik's in great condition sell for around $200 online.
While I haven't hand any problems with mine, I've heard these cameras can be prone to light leaks, there's an excellent online resource dealing with modifications and improvement to these cameras: http://www.rmm3d.com/3d.encyclopedia...m/sputnik.html
I own two Kodak Stereo Cameras, and here are my feelings. Please note that I am a Kodak fan.
We will start with the down side to these cameras first, not the prints, the camera only. First if you let them sit for any amount of time you have to cycle the shutter about 100 times to get them moving at a usable speed, the shutter speeds will never be right, but they will be usable. Some cameras have shutters that do not have matching shutter speeds so you end up with different exposures on the two slides. The focus is typical Kodak infinite no DOF focus, but for 3D that is really what you want so it is not a real problem. Finally on some of these cameras the wind knob mechanism wears out and can be turned in reverse, if you are careful it isn't a problem, but if you hand the camera to an idiot (read pro photographer at Disney World that never shot film) it could be a problem because if you back wind too far the film comes off the take up spool and must be rewound and you can't use the rest of the roll.
In the hands of someone that has read the owners manual these are great cameras and easy to use once limbered up, if you can use a light meter or know that Sunny Sixteen guy your almost all set, remember you can not turn the camera 90° (same Disney pro insisted wanted to do that even after I told him twice not to, and he saw that it shoots a square format), there is a level you can see in the viewfinder to help you get level shots as well. It's easy to load and unload the film, and the controls are about where you would expect them to be. The shutter speed and aperture are together and easy to get at. Focus is on both lenses, but I really don't see any change when I adjust it. I leave mine focused in the middle for just about every shot I take and it's fine.
The photos, there are two ways you can go here and I do both.
One way, and offers the best quality. You can use slide film and mount the slides yourself, it's a pain to do, but the results are well worth the work. Both Kodak and Stereo Realist make good viewers with lights in them and there are arguments for and against both, guess what one I have. You can also get viewers that you can use if you are in a bright place, they are a few dollars so you can pass them to a friend with a few slides without breaking the bank. These can also be projected in expensive hard to find projectors.
You can shoot print film and process it but DO NOT CUT IT then scan the negatives and make stereo cards using software like "StereoPhoto Maker" (yes you spell it that way) or something similar, that is what I use, and I like it a lot bonus is that it's free. Print the sinful Digital image onto 5X7 paper as a 3.5 X 7 image, cut the paper to the image size after printing and view in your favorite type of stereo scope. The advantage of this format is that someone that is unwilling to use the scope can still view the prints, or one or more people can look over the shoulder of the person viewing the prints and see them as 2D photos.
Never cut or allow someone to cut your 3D film unless you are mounting it and then do it slowly, cut, mount, repeat, the only time a film chip should not be in a mount is the time from when it is cut until it is mounted, you should never have two loose chips ever. Failure to do this will result in frustration at best, or on the case of print film one half of your slide being cut in half and unusable. This is where One Hour processing places have send out places beat, they can do process, no cut, no prints in twenty minuets, then they will roll it up, scratch it and put it back in your film can. If you do print film you will need a roll film scanner, I recommend the Wolverine F2D with roll film adapter, it is a crappy scanner, but it does this job better than any other scanner I know of.
If you are going to do Holms cards (look it up, it is a stereo card format) you may want to pick colors for subjects or locations, it makes it a lot easier to find a print in the archive box.
One other tip is this, you know those lousy shots with lots of stuff in the foreground like tree branches and stuff, well in 3D those are the best shots, not the worst.
Have fun with it, 3D is such a gimmicky thing, but it can be a lot of fun, and it's fun to share.
Here is an example of what I have done using the process described above for making a Holms card.
Last edited by bblhed; 07-17-2010 at 08:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I have a Kodak Stereo 35. I like it because I like kodak, but also because it is very user friendly. You almost cannot mess up because of the excellent lenses. People complain about inaccurate shutter speeds and all that, but I guess I got a good one. I have never had a bit of trouble with my camera, and I actually enjoy cutting and mounting the slides. Honestly, I could go through a lot more hassle and it would still be worth it for the results it gives.
I hear the Realists are heavy, complicated and cumbersome. I have no first hand experience. I hear the Russian jobs have light leaks. Again, I don't know. If I were to start over, I would do it the same.
I have one of these that I got from eBay to play around with and have been happy with for what I paid for it. I've taken several pictures with it using expired film and it has worked OK, just problems with the film and not the camera. I'm going to use some of my fresh film in it this time, but it's a wonderful introduction to stereo pictures for the price.
I would buy a stereo realist from Dr T on bay( george themelis). You will get a rock solid reliable camera with known shutter speeds. And will be able to consult his great users manual for the camera for using with modern film and flash. I love my stereo realists. I have three. 2 f 2.8 and an f 3.5. All great cameras the 3.5 is the sharpest but vignettes at apertures from f 11 -f 22. If vignetting bothers you buy an. F 2.8 and have it serviced by dr t he charges 125 dollars but you get a camera that will last you lifetime with a table of shutter speeds and other info like when it was produced and who serviced it
I also have. A tl - 120 and an rbt s1. Also great cameras butpricy and cumbersome in some ways. The best all around value is a used stereo realist f 2.8