I am happy owner of a Holga 120 3D, a modern camera that uses a very old principle: stereoscopy! The result is fascinating and the hypnotic three-dimensional images are fun to watch through a special 3D viewer!
The stereoscopy, also called stereophotography or stereographic, although more commonly known as 3D photography, is an ancient technique, dating back even to some studies by Leonardo da Vinci in 1500, who was not a real scientist/genius for nothing! Stereoscopy has been here since the 1800s, thanks to Sir Charles Wheatstone who made certain pairs of similar designs.
The principle on which it is based is that of the stereoscopic binocular vision or human vision. We see the same pictures with both the eyes, but with a slight variation in the visual field. This allows human beings to realize the depth, to appreciate the perspective and know about “eye” the distance between his body and surrounding objects!
Stereoscopic cameras were intended to give rise to images as close as possible to reality, made in the perspective effect. This is also confirmed by the application of the technique in scientific fields such as the aerial photogrammetry that performs measurements and precise measurements of the ground.
The principle is very simple: two photographic lenses placed at a distance of about 10 cm (interpupillary distance in human beings) from each other captures the same image. Two photos will be “almost” identical! There is a very small variation in the field of view, barely perceptible, which will be essential for stereoscopic vision.
But now, we come to our HOLGA 120 3D camera! It is one of the cheapest stereoscopic medium format cameras. You can still find some old 3D camera on eBay but at higher prices than the HOLGA. It can be purchased on the Lomography Online Shop in a kit with the camera, strap, frames and 3D viewer. The features are those commonly found in the Holga 120, but lacks the choice of aperture (Sunny/Cloudy). It’s possible to choose between B mode or N mode, has four modes of focus, two 60mm lens, a viewfinder square located at the top center between the two lenses, two flashes, each for lens, powered by four batteries stylus to be inserted internally between the shutter and the film plane, below the mask. Each flash has three colored filters (red, yellow, blue + transparent), selectable via a wheel placed at the top of each. This is a positive aspect as it is possible to mix the tones by selecting for example the yellow filter on a flash and the blue on the other, to obtain in this way a flash from green hue! In addition, the shutter button provides the possibility to engage a cable release standard screw.
How to use Holga 120 3D:
Make sure to remove the lens cap from each lens! Set focus, set B mode or N mode, if necessary flash and shoot! With two lens, the camera also has two shutters. When you press the shutter button the two shutters will open and close simultaneously. Impressing in this way on the film, with a single shot there will be two very similar frames.
IMPORTANT: TO take the next picture, advance two frames. Follow the count of the odd frames, and then start from 1 then 3, 5, 7, 9, 11. Otherwise you risk unwanted overlaps!
After developing the film only in E6, since the effect of course only works with positive images, you must cut the strip. If you take the film to develop in a laboratory it is recommend for you to request that the strip is left uncut. Now, first, cut out the frames holding together the pairs of images. Then we work on individual pairs: cut off with scissors a piece of the outer upper corner of each frame of the pair. Now, we can divide the two images by cutting the middle between them. The corner cut serves as a reminder to the location of the photos in the mount. For this to work stereoscopic vision is essential to reverse the frames. Example for the pair of frames 3-4: in the mount frame 3 is located to the right and frame 4 to the left, then the first 4 then 3 in the direction of reading. The corner cut then will this time in the inner part of the mount…the two corners missing then converge at the center inside the mask.
To close the mount, just place it in the viewer, slide it into the slot on top of the display itself, and look through the same, point it towards a light source, like the sky or even artificial light as a neon light or a light bulb! You will be taken to a magic moment! You’ll find yourself catapulted into your photographs, guaranteed!
Of course the images will have a more surprising when you photographed views of prospective subjects or on different levels. Council parks/forests with many trees, porches with columns and arches, or even squares and streets with many people.
Unfortunately, I can not fully convey the magic of the effect should be seen as personally through the viewer. But I can put here some pictures I took with the Holga 120 3D, bringing the couple as they appear…obviously fitted into the mount in the viewer (which is equipped with internal lenses) the image will appear three dimensional and unique, you’ll feel like we can turn around!
- It’s possible to use HOLGA 120 3D as a normal non-stereoscopic camera! Just do not remove the lens cap from the left and shoot normally by advancing the film one frame at a time.
- Remember to develop always in E6 (as slides). It’s possible to develop color negatives through (thus obtaining the cross-process) or black and white films that are processed in C41.
P. S. Stereoscopy is easily achievable with any normal camera. Just have two identical cameras and place them side by side so that the lens are at a distance of about 10 cm. from each other, although should be taken that they are perfectly arranged on the same straight line. Or, if you don’t have two identical cameras, you can use the same camera, and shoot the first image, then move the camera by 10 cm on the same straight line. There are also brackets for sale on ebay that are nothing more than tracks where fixed cameras (or camera) to have a more precise result.