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!