A Resource for Stereo Photography

Introduction to Stereo Cameras

This is my general introduction to stereo cameras and my work.

A Brief History of Stereo Cameras

Stereo photography (stereoscopy) has been around since the 1800s. Stereoscopic photography was first described in 1832 by English physicist Sir Charles Wheatstone. In 1929, an engineer and camera hobyist named Seton Rochwite started working on his own design for a stereo camera and presented it to the David White Company in Wisconsin. They decided to design & manufacture Seton’s camera and hired him in 1943. By 1947 the camera was ready for sale and called the Realist. Stereo Photography took off in the United States. This camera used a 5-P (5 Perf, or perforations) format, meaning that each negative took up 5 perforations in the roll of film. The European standard used a larger negative requiring 7-P or 7 perforations per image.

My Interest In Stereo Photography & Cameras

In 1996 I purchased my first stereo camera and became fascinated with the art form. Soon, I found myself wishing that the images were larger and used the European 7-P format. So, being short on cash and not able to afford a 7-P European model camera, I set about to modify my 5-P Realist camera and turn it into a 7-P Realist.

While there were a number of different stereo cameras made during the heyday of film stereo cameras, I focused my attention on the Stereo Realist because that was the camera that I already had and it seemed to be amenable to being tinkered with because it was well built. I’m currently using my iPhone for almost all of my photo work.

Converting a 5-P Realist into a 7-P Realist

The following two pages document my method of converting the 5-P Realist into a “7-P” Realist camera.