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The Stereo Realist: An Old Relic

I managed to pick up a 30+ year old stereo camera from a friend of my mom's just for fun. I ran a roll through it to test it out. The results were pleasantly surprising!

The topic came up at dinner one night while I was talking to my mom’s friend, and he said that he had a camera lying around that hadn’t been used for years and wondered if I might be interested in using it. Of course, I said yes!

This is the Stereo Realist:

I was puzzled at first, trying to figure out how everything worked. After playing with it for 10 minutes and looking up the manual online, I knew how to use it. After being unused for so long, there was rust on parts of the camera and some parts wouldn’t turn. SoI had to take off the top and clean it out before i used it.

Aside from the rust, there’s lots of great things on this camera. It’s got a sturdy lock on the bottom to keep the door closed. I found an extremely dusty roll of Kodachrome in the camera too, it was my first time seeing one in person. I quite like the canister.

This stereo camera has two lenses, obviously to use with a slide viewer. However, I don’t live anywhere near a lab that can mount slides for a good price. So I just took photos for fun!

The exposure and distance on the lens and side of the camera is all manual, so it gives lots of room to experiment with lighting. It has B mode for night shots and long exposures too! The Stereo Realist also has a range finder window at the bottom of the camera, right window. This makes it super easy for perfect focusing. It also has a shutter cock to prevent the camera from firing on its own.

After testing the shutter to make sure it worked, I loaded it with Fuji 200 and took it out with me. The lens rendered surprisingly clear shots, exposure and focusing was just right, and it took square shots, check it out!

The only problem I have with this camera is that it takes two photos per shot, which wastes the film. But if film isn’t a problem for you, this is a great camera. So check eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, garage sales, or even a friend’s house, (I’ve come to realize that I like it a lot) and maybe you will too!

written by natalieerachel


  1. emonky


    hey :D i love this camera, and let me tell you this, i don't know if u knew about this, you could make very cool 3d animated gifts with this camera, pictures like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/schommsen/6630631523/in/pool-387102@N22/ look in the comments to see it animated, the result with this camera won't be exactly like that because that one is taken with a four lens camera, but it is still pretty cool effect, stereograph is the name of that effect :D
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  2. dearjme


    Ahhh kodachrome! Such a relic.

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  3. pcon91st


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  4. berndtotto


    It's a camera for taking stereoscopic pictures. Would be interesting, how the pictures come out in 3D. You can check that by uploading both pictures here: http://www.start3d.com/ It looks quite nice and you can watch them in 3D even on a normal screen and without special glasses.

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  5. peachicon

    Waste of film OMG, I would love a stereo camera, you really should get set up to enjoy the depth of these images. Have fun!
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  6. gigisco


    I would like to see some stereo pics taken with that camera :)

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  7. natalieerachel


    Yeah I would agree it's a total waste of film haha, but the pictures come out quite nicely. I'll probably be returning it soon, but I may shoot a roll through it one more time and try to make the 3D photos!

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. You can still develop that roll of Kodachrome in black and white chemistry, since Kodachrome was a black and white film thank turned to color using the very harsh chemicals of it's special developing process!

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