Craig's Stereography
Last worked on: May 5th, 2020
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I no longer do stereography commercially.

Find>>  How to turn Fuji-W3 camera images into stereo prints: step-by-step - The W3 camera - iPhone App
- Our old 5 inch card viewers & Sets of Viewcards - Working with available cameras, Fuji's W3 and digital processors -
T-Plate Mounting Steps - Open Mounting Steps - Glossary - Addresses - Accessory Lenses for Nimslo - Bifold format -
Print Stereo Film - StereoSynthesis - Chicago - 6x13 - The RWVer and Standard Holmes/Bates format Stereoscopes - Stereoscope design -
My past Stereo Services - Freeviewing - Tutorials: trimming & mounting - sample view - Join NSA & SSA - Modern times - The experience -
Ernie Rairdin's 2020 Iowa campaign views - Practical stereography -
* My how-to pages for making print pair stereographs began (in the early 1980s) as hand-out sheets, with steps based on having a photographic darkroom, a trimming jig and a razor knife. Now that photography is all digital, the assumption is that you have a computer, a decent monitor, a graphics program and a desktop printer. I'm surely out of date now on much of that --plus hand cameras are disappearing (there are plenty of good ones at big city Goodwill stores, however). It's time for me to simply focus on what I know --how I make stereo views and "folders" --using generic digital image pairs, simple graphics programs and cheap/good printers, which you can adapt per your resources and preferences.
I'm trying to catch what's most glaringly wrong and/or dated in what I've posted, plus I'm making a cursory effort to clean up all the links --so here are some links that work:
~ Earliest "Trim and Mount Steps", using separate prints from your darkroom, a photo-finisher or a DIY kiosk thingie.
~ Simplified "Template Steps" for separate prints.
~ Steps using the "Stereo Photo Maker" program, and variously sourced digital image pairs --including Fuji W1/W3 MPO format pairs. (Out of date.)
~ My current Steps, using generic digital image pairs, simple graphics programs and cheap/good printers.
~ More on making "folders".
~ Finer points about the (digital) trimming and formatting of stereographs/viewcards/"folders".
* Here's a link back to a recent older version of this page.
* Here's a good link for those of you who persist in flogging your Mac/Apple gear: Dr. Brian May's excellent how-to pages. I especially note his link to an MPO file "splitter" program, which yields separate left and right images from a Fuji W1 or W3 stereo camera's MPO format files.
* Depending on the print pair route that you take (manual trimming or digital editing and composing), you'll need some tools.
00    A large "cut-upon" with a top mounted backstop/straight edge is nice for large projects --like making your own paperboard stereoscope.
01    A "flat" or a "flat stack" stapler doesn't leave staples which dent photos or protrude through an envelope.
02    This is a heavy duty Bostitch "B8" stapler with 1/4" and 3/8" staples for paperboard/posterboard construction projects.
03    A large 30-60-90 drafting triangle.
04    A smaller 30-60-90 drafting triangle (You'll probably wear out several per year when doing full manual trimming and mounting.)
05    A small cut-upon with an upper backstop/straight edge for trimming/windowing stereo print pairs and etc.
06    Razor knives --the "snap off for a fresh edge" kind, and spare blades. Get thin ones, not klunky hardware store types nor "Exacto" knives.)
07    A compass type circle cutter (for poster/paperboard construction projects).
08    Matboard (0.050" thick) for traditional stereograph mounts --neutral gray. (Crescent brand "Photo Gray".) You also want 110# posterboard.
        For digital desktop printing, something like Hewlett-Packard or Epson 2-sided, mat finish "presentation" paper is the all-around best for
        monolithic views (no physical trimming and mounting), and photo-gloss for manual trimming and mounting (with white cotton gloves).
09    6" C-Thru brand thin, flexible, transparent pocket rulers are a "vade mecum", but they became absurdly high priced and impossible to find
        in stores (around here, anyway). There's an affordable Asian knock-off version now (at Amazon) but you have to buy a hundred of them.
10    12" version --same story on availability (last I checked).
11    That's a "brayer", aka: a rubber roller, in this context, used to adhere the pressure sensitive adhesive coating of a trimmed photograph or
        applique to the matboard core/card of a traditional stereograph. I think covering the photo with a piece of paper and rubbing it down
        with your fingers works as well, with less liklihood that a speck of something between the two pieces will result in an unsightly bump. It's
        so much easier to create the entire view card with digital graphics, then simply print it out onto quality heavy paper stock, but you still
        need some of these tools to trim and true up the view card or a lightweight "folder".
12    That's a roll of cheap, plastic base, double-stick, carpet tape, which is much to be preferred to messy, smelly spray glues. You put it
        evenly on the back of a photo print before it's trimmed, peel, place, stick and press or roll it down onto the matboard card.
13    Glue stick. (Yup: I shamelessly use that stuff, but not to mount gloss print pairs.)
14    That's a big old "Lassco" brand Model 20 Corner Rounder --equipped with a 3/8 inch radius die cutter. It can easily corner round
        matboard cards and anything else --cleanly and precisely (if you first square to the guides). It costs more than $100.
15    That's a light duty "Creative Memories" brand, 1/4 inch radius corner rounder. It can handle only a single piece of heavy photo
        paper or 110# card stock. I got mine from Jo-Ann Fabrics. With care, good results. Don't spring it by trying to cut 2 pieces.


 * Wheatstone's stereoscope was a bulky affair with mirrors that sat on a table.

Stereoscopy is older than photography --by about 6 months, so inventor Sir Charles Wheatstone had to draw the first viewcards by hand in 1838. It was Wheatstone who coined the term "stereoscope" --at his presentation to the Royal Society (of London --the oldest national scientific society in the world), and (amazingly) he was the first person to put two and two together in order to create a stereoscopic print pair. The Renaissance artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, were very aware that binocular vision allows of depth perception, and there's indications for such awareness among Greek philosophers. (Corrections here thanks to reading Carol Jacobi and Dr. Brian May.)

* Next came Sir David Brewster's much smaller box stereoscope--

--suitable for passing around in a social circle.

Finally, in 1861, came a lightweight, open, skeletal stereoscope, as a rude version of--

--the ones we're now using.

This modern era 'scope was designed by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes (Senior --father of Supreme Court Justice Holmes) and jointly developed with his craftsman friend: Joseph L. Bates. Holmes, who did much to popularize stereography, chose not to encumber his invention with patents (bless him).

 ~ Until about 1930, commercial photographers were usually also stereographers and millions of affordable Holmes-Bates 'scopes were manufactured. With the advent of inexpensive half-tone mechanical image printing, what was originally a limited, upper middle class "parlor stereoscope" experience, became a working class delight as well. Viewcards ended up being given away as grocery store premiums.

The Experience

* Some of you have the visual experience of "VR"/virtual reality imaging --via a smart phone, an attached viewer and a downloaded application to run it. If so, your eyes have already learned the easy lesson of decoupling "convergence" (eyeballs toe-in) from focusing your eyes, near to far. If the viewer, phone, application and image pairs are compatible, there's no strain or effort.

Hopefully, the viewer is well focused to your eyes (and it might have an adjustment for that).

* The same goes for old fashioned stereoscopes and stereographs, which have a sliding stage for focus. Be sure to slide that stage out/away as far as you find it comfortable to see a sharply focused image.

Unlike the smart phone VR experience, you need to position yourself such that good soft light evenly illuminates the stereograph's image pair. The ideal is to be seated in a nice over-stuffed chair with a floor lamp just a little behind it and well above your left shoulder (right shoulder if you're left handed). There's a wicker basket full of stereographs (aka: "view cards") in your lap or within easy reach on the other side of your chair --and maybe a friend to share views with in another chair next to you.

You don't want the distraction of removing, replacing and keeping view cards in order from an album, looking at precious antique originals, having to worry about finger prints, or admonishing others about handling.

* A good, classically styled stereoscope has an ample hood, one big enough for your glasses (if you need them at all, say for astigmatism) and which rests softly in contact with your face. This hood shuts out the world around you in favor of the once-upon-a-time "view" now before your eyes, and which you've become a part of --since your location/existence is felt to be at such-and-such a distance back from the view's subject matter. Allow yourself to float and dwell in that virtual place. It becomes a meditation, seeing detail and nuance which could easily have escaped the stereographer and anyone depicted in the view.

"My Work" (2019a):
Some attractions of print pairs are simply due to their being stereoscopic: a fascinating play of perspective, an ethereal feeling of having "presence" in another time and place.  There are subtleties as well: a graceful balance between a moment of life on the front of the card and its interpretation on the verso, a felt connection with the subject and the stereographer.
The view card (or "folder") in your hand is a mixed medium with power, reach, and an inherent poetry.  Print pair stereography is an art form to contend with, worthy of both lighthearted and serious practice.
With these strengths, print pair views do well as a humble witness to life.  Simply match appealing images with well edited thoughts on worthwhile subjects.  The medium itself carries my ordinary efforts with its engaging illusion and recognition of life.  Each card completion can be a self-documented cultural artifact, registration for a visual delight, a bit of history, another portal to Nature and human endeavors.
As life rushes by, new images and mental abstractions of old ones quickly displace the few visual experiences we even try to focus on --like the press of so many curiosity seekers gathering to the scene of a happening.  But in the view card's stillness, we can find the personal time to clearly see and "take in" --perhaps a detail made visible only through stereography, the seeming reality of a scene otherwise lost to living eyes, --a face: still fresh and earnest in the warm light of a distant summer.


VR Stereographica:

* The most interesting development has been the adaptation of Android and Apple smart phones' tall displays to (turned sidewise) a pair of stereoscopic/3D, "virtual reality" images --using head mounted devices like this one:

--which are appearing in electronics departments across the U.S. On the near horizon are VR versions like the Oculus system with "four times higher resolution than todayís 4K TVs".

The most outrageously low priced offering I've seen of late: an RC drone model helicopter with a camera and WiFi "virtual reality" capability (to your smart phone) for $28.88 --at a local department store. (Gawd: that has to leave something to be desired.)

Presumably: when you access a website with VR content, gyro/compass sensors and even co-ordinated GPS utilities in your smart phone --interact with the image pair and a downloaded application --for a just-turn-your-head, near 360 degree experience.

* To appreciate --at least the potential capabilities of an integrated VR experience, Google up the You Tube presentation of PBS-Nova's installment: "Invisible Cities".

This is something quite other --than the "moment in time" virtual reality of a traditional stereoscope. With the arrival of compatible cameras, it might become a complete system.

The "JEDEye":

The 180 degree "LucidCam":

* By looking at the video presentations, it seems that the associated applications for these cameras (which download to your smart phone and might require some manual setup) --allow for some panning of the available wide image, by turning your head --thus: "immersive virtual reality". Caveat emptor: I expect that these systems will initially be very "patchy" and have cross-brand incompatibilities.

* (6/20/2019): Of course, smart/iPhones do everything now-a-days --even a DIY electrocardiogram recently, so it shoudn't have been such a surprise when a member of our stereographic folio circuit submitted the following explanation for how his current stereo view was made:

"Shot with an iPhone7-Plus in portrait mode, which also generates a depth map {a single, accessory grayscale image that contains distance from the camera information -Craig}. The color image was filtered using the Prisma mobile app, and then it was combined with the depth map and uploaded to Facebook as a 3D photo. This stereo pair was taken in Facebook by shifting my mouse left and right and taking screen shots to generate the pair."

* (Read on for older, DIY 3D camera options.)

Popular and serious stereography got a tremendous boost with the introduction of Fujifilm's delightful model W1 and W3 cameras. This modern, durable, well thought out and affordable instrument, set on automatic, reliably nailed the exposure and color of nearly anything it was aimed at. Unfortunately, inventories of its production run have sold out and there (so far) doesn't appear to be a successor on the way. What new and old options we still have for taking stereographic photos follows. Here and here is what I've already posted about the W3. (Note that the W3 has user feature improvements but is otherwise very similar to the W1.)

What I saw at (2018 --and in no special order, but leaving out video only, mobile phone accessories, and "Holga" class cameras):

* New and used W3 and W1 cameras at about twice the old retail-new prices.

* A new (to me, anyway) 3D camera/camcorder entry from Sony, but I'm not sure it's being officially sold in the USA. From reading a poorly translated article, I see its emphasis is on automated flexibility between 2D and 3D modes, has a respectable pair of sensors (5 megapixel) and is capable of HD video. I've seen a new asking price of $395. This is the "Sony MobileHD Camera Bloggie 3D MHS-FS3".

* Something dubbed the model "DXG-018Y", which is clearly a digital "box camera" with fixed focus lenses. My Amazon page save came out badly, but I can make out that it has an LCD screen, color balance options, extremely short focal length lenses ("2mm") and tiny sensors ("1/9 inch"), which capture "0.3" megapixel images --which must be close to a standard definition video frame --which isn't enough resolution to print a standard sized stereoscopic pair (3x3 inches each frame). Other than that, the lone customer/reviewer is happy with his purchase (at $87.99). It's supposed to have been sold through since 2011, but it's new to me.

* The uninspiringly named "Takara Tomy 3d Shot Cam", described at Amazon with lame English. It's only $47.47 and it ships for free --straight from Japan. (In 2014, this same camera shipped free for $26!) For $47.47 you don't get an LCD display and the image pair have amazingly low resolution (about 150x200pixels, according to one reviewer). The lenses are (of course) fixed focus --no doubt with amazing depth of field.

* Panasonic's "Lumix 3D1-K". This is a real, 12 megapixel camera, being sold used at Amazon for $548.55, but I see a (once upon a time: 2014) new price of $180, straight from Japan --so shop around. Looking at it, this camera should be great for close-ups, interior and lawn party shots, but might leave a bit to be desired when shooting scenics, since the lenses look rather closely spaced (30mm apart). I read that everything about it is in Japanese, but there's a downloadable manual in English.

~ The JVC "Everio Gs-td1" camera/camcorder --at about $500 (and that's all I know at this point).

* The "Aiptek 3D-HD" camcorder/camera --has been around since 2010, when it sold for $200, and can now be had for $129 --shipped for free. With its 5 megapixel sensors, I can rate this "almost a real camera". The image pairs I've worked with were quite decent. See my early extensive reviews hear and here (and scroll up).

* Then there's Vivitar's "Vivicam 3D" entry: a 3D digital camera for $29.99 at Amazon --shipped free, but you'd best read the reviews. Be my guess: this was an abortive production run from some years ago, now being dumped, and the internal lithium battery has pretty much expired. (Again: read the buyer reviews.)

I've been wanting to make a statement about American stereoscopic movies and how they drove a short lived revival of amateur stereoscopy, but I lack depth in cinema --technically and culturally. Here instead (and I hope it stays posted) is a thoughtful blog by veteran cinematographer John Bailey, ASC., --who extends a deep bow to the research and publications authored by the NSA's own Ray Zone (who died in 2012).
My impression: Mr. Bailey is wary and a bit put-upon (justifiably) that the hustle of profits and fashion driven innovation --demands that he now confront (and probably integrate) stereoscopy into his repertoire of expertise. (As a life-long technician, I'm deeply sympathetic.) This technically and professionally competent man is just enough of a "3D" outsider to have a valuable point of view --about his neck of the stereoscopic woods.
"Working in stereo movies in a responsible way is not simply a point and shoot affair, even under the simplest of conditions. --- There is a dictate that became a mantra doled out by the workshop instructors and taken to heart by we eager students: 3-D in movies is NOT REAL. Like an Escher drawing, it is an illusion. Our actual eyes simply don't function the way 3-D movie imagery does. In constructing the 3-D movie frame we professional cinematographers have to evaluate carefully all the visual elements contained within the shot, as well as their cumulative effect as the sequence develops, shot by shot."
* Throughout this opinion piece, Mr. Bailey (and, presumably, the instructor of a workshop in filming stereo movies that he [then] recently attended) accepts it that the camera/s lenses will have both interaxial (camera base) and convergence adjustment --or: "toe-in". While this is a convenient way to deal with the stereo window, I hope that better awareness and equipment (or creative control during the editing stage) will one day make this a practice of the past.  In the indeterminate meanwhile, we'll have to rely on the cinematographer's good sense that "something is wrong" --and he/she then backs off on the convergence --in favor of reduced interaxial.
I also commend the comments section to your attention, such as: "Among Avatarís innumerable failures, its stubborn refusal to develop any kind of grammar^ (or even acknowledging that a new one was required) was the one that angered me the most" (by Benoît Perrier). Ray Zone also adds some thoughts about the inevitability of 3D cinema. (^Standards of practice --and per my old beefs with the NSA and SSA.)
I've now reconsidered my first impressions of Avatar --that it was the most competently executed Hollywood stereoscopic motion picture I've seen, plus culturally/thematically friendly to me in that it identified with the (idealized) victims of our sick, imperial, corporate run nation. So I still give it "two thumbs up", --but yes: even the time I first saw this movie, I would have preferred it (personally) if the stereoscopy (interaxial/"deviation" content) had backed off a bit, and if the cuts were longer. (Gosh: I felt like such an old man --gripping the arm rests of my seat, but I realized that a younger audience was enjoying the ride.)
Avatar, good as it was, could have been more subtly and aesthetically executed --but probably to the detriment of the boost it gave our stereoscopic industries in general. Hopefully, venture capital and patronage will support an ever maturing "grammar" of stereoscopic cinematography.


(use red-blue 3D glasses for the kitty)

* On 8/6/2006 I discovered a coinage and trademark use of "StereoSynthesis" that was previous to my own first use in 1993. David M. Geshwind patented a process he called "Stereosynthesis" for converting 2D cine footage into 3D in 1990. I suspect that it wasn't the high resolution "in the round" photo-realistic rendering I was doing in 1993, but it was very advanced, fast, and digitally automated. By contrast, I painstakingly plot out my sometimes pixel level manipulations by hand and then execute my plan with a general purpose graphics program. I never applied for any patents or trademark protection, but I did quite a bit of work through my agent, James Curtin ("The Added Dimension"), during the 1990s.
It's fun to take a regular (non-stereoscopic) photo and render it into a 3D image. Eventually, our "Tutorials" sections will supply the information you'll need to do this StereoSynthesis on your own --skills that a number of stereoscopists have now mastered, but (I gather) using different methods.

For commercial services in rendering 2D to 3D (especially as lenticular displays), contact Peter Sinclair at:


"High resolution" in the early 90s was different from what's considered even adequate resolution today.  Back when 150 line screen on a 2540 dpi commercial press was considered real quality, we used a shop with a row of million dollar Heidleburg presses in Ohio to do our process color printing.  (The finished images were to be viewed with 4 to 7 inch focal length lenses.)  When I proofed the work, using a troublesome dye sublimation printer, I thought I could see a gain when our images were supported at 300 DPI, so I sent in the image files that way (by FedEx on expensive, delicate "SyQuest" cartridges).  They initially complained at the other end about "needlessly large" image files, which ranged up to 7 MB each (equivalent to 2.5 megapixels) for our small format print pairs.
The largest image I could open without crashing my computer was about 20 MB --which was also the largest uncompressed image from a Kodak Photo-CD scan file.  Today, of course, 8 megapixel ( 24 MB file size, uncompressed) consumer cameras are commonplace and the local copy shop will ask you for that much image to make a best quality 16" wide poster.

** Now that I'm primarily making 5 inch wide stereographs/view cards, which need more magnification when viewed, I'm mastering my image pairs at a whopping 600 DPI (dots or pixels per inch). Procedures are otherwise the same as for standard 7 inch wide cards, but scaled down to 71%.

Anaglyphy (to be viewed with red-blue or red-cyan glasses) works quite well with computer monitors, but is tough to print out. Here's an anaglyphic stereograph that you might enjoy.

Chicago - 1968
(use red-blue 3D glasses / click for a 100Kb version)

*Our old products, the Model #5h viewer (Brewster type for 5 inch cards) and sets of viewcards to fit them are no longer available.. We've given many views and viewers away --which seems a lot simpler, and just as "profitable" :-)))
Monolithic Processing Might come back, but it will have to be offered by others --sorry.
I had two major reasons:

* I'd like to focus on pursuing our own stereography.

* I found it too difficult to contend with scratches and dirt on film emulsions.
                                               (view by Nancy Lee)
Dear Stereographer: It's fairly simple to make your own views --now that we have such excellent color printers, both as desk tops and as digital commercial rigs in photo departments. My suggestions: Look over my assorted "Steps" on how to create your own print pair view cards. Consider joining the Stereoscopic Society of America.

Office and home desktop printers now print handsome images with little or no "image structure" and are good enough for most of our printing needs. Many photo quality desk top printers have become affordably available (but watch the per print operating costs).  We now use a Brother brand "all in one" MFC-J985DW inkjet which promises penny/page black and white, nickel a page color --and the image quality is great (using premium photo papers). (This is quite a break from my 28 year string of good HP printers, due to their high ink cartridge costs --and sassy screen messages when I refilled their cartridges.)


*** Click for our template patterns and trim/mount steps. You'll need them for trimming/gluing print pairs to open cards (and/or write for the latest tutorial on CD with your SASE.)

* If you're still using film, please keep your film strips in clean sleeves.

The average shooter will be better off when photography is all digital (check out the Fuji W-1 3D camera): no dirt or scratches to permanently ruin your images. Peg and I still mainly shoot digital now.


You might find the folding "6x13" format viewers we and The Added Dimension use to sell at American Paper Optics or at:

"6x13" loosely refers to a pair of images that are each about 2-1/4" wide on a card that's about 5" wide and often about 2.5" high. Alluded to is the 6x13 centimeters of old European medium plate cameras and more recent paired "medium format" frames from 6x6 and 6x7 format cameras --which frames are actually about 2-1/8" square. This range of format is also called "free view" because it's easy to "spread" one's eyes and fuse the pairs without benefit of an optical viewing device.

Obviously, affordable printing methods are challenged to turn out the high resolution needed for stereoscopes, and this smaller format is a bit more demanding. However, the results can be very pleasing, as were the dozens of commercially printed projects I've been involved with. Most of all, the gain in affordability, simplicity, and mailability simply requires that we make this format work. See our Sets page for this alternative.

If exchanging stereoscopic imaging samples and ideas sounds interesting to you (either digitally or with traditional photographic pairs), check into the NSA ( and SSA ( Costs can be kept low in the photographic circuits by (say) simply "shifting" a conventional camera to make stereo pairs (an SASE brings you instructions). (There are modest NSA/SSA dues.)

And don't miss the International Stereoscopic Union's web site at:

*Discover MORE products, services, books, and other stereographica!
3D TV! (
Visit the "3D Web" (Bob Mannle's site + others)

General Addresses

Addresses for stereographers (mostly out of date --sorry. Enclose a stamped self-addressed business size envelope when requesting information.)

* American Paper Optics, for all items formerly sold by The The Added Dimension and many services in coöperation with "StereoType". Also see

* Berezin Stereo Photography Products / 21686 Abedul, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Berezin is our #1 supplier --of most everything. Visit his web site at* to see his new products --including actual digital still and video 3D cameras! (Check the reviews, however. These cameras have limitations.)

* 3D from Dalia / PO Box 492 / Corte Madera, CA -94976. Dalia Miller's catalogue is actually a proprietary magazine that you subscribe to --filled with a wide range of quality antique and rehabilitated equipment and media. (415-924-3356; fax: 6162)

* Studio 3-D (Ron Labbe) / 30 Glendale Street / Maynard, MA 01754. Format conversions, mounting, processing, and projection services. -

*Taylor Merchant Corporation / 5 Grayley Place / Huntington Stn. NY 11746212. Nice folding viewers for 5 inch card format views, lenses for that and standard format stereoscopes. See:

*Corner Rounder: Lassco Products, Inc. / 485 Hague Street / Rochester, New York 14606 (716-235-1991).

Regular Stereo Processing:

To the best of my knowledge, we only have one choice for getting prints from negative film frames, but it's a good choice.  I'm currently having a discussion with Panda Labs, which has been doing custom stereo printing for many years, to see if they want to offer "standard deals" for our 35mm 5p and 4p formats. Please stand by for more information: specifics and prices.

* Panda Labs
533 Warren Av. N
Seattle 98103                        phone: 206-285-7091

This is a widely respected lab which likes challenges and will print to/from custom formats and special emulsions.

** If this is all too much trouble and expense, consider buying a Fuji "W-1/3" or the Aiptek stereo camera systems, going the synched cameras route   --for which I've made some comments and suggestions per: digiprint/

Other Services and Suppliers:

Lenticular: * Many who call and write are seeking lenticular processing for one of the many 2, 3, 4, and 5 lensed cameras that have been sold. Contact:

* (I worked with the owner-operator Peter Sinclair, nice guy  :-)


* Doing business as the "Red Wing View Company", I designed and made the original "split tongue" Red Wing Viewers. Later on I supplied just the brass parts for Luther Askeland's beautiful version. These two are all that remain and aren't for sale.

"His principal income, it turned out, was from a line of lovingly constructed replicas of the 19th-century stereoscopes that provided entertainment in Victorian parlors along with the spread of photography during the 1850s and 1860s. Invented in 1849, the stereoscope is a simple mechanical device that allows two pictures taken from a slightly different angle to be seen separately by each eye. Thus it produces the illusion of three-dimensional depth, demonstrating how perception is shaped by the angle of vision and the habits of the neural system. Luther sold them to collectors throughout the country."  --Rhoda R. Gilman: "Luther Askeland and the Wordless Way"

* These 'scopes might still be made by Don Claymore ("The Claymore Company", wholesale only) out of finely finished and varnished hard and semi-hardwoods like walnut and mahogany, which he saws and mills. He sells all that he and his family can turn out, turning down huge orders (Toyo wanted 10,000) so that he can remain hands-on. We're no longer offering these Standard Holmes-Bates format stereoscopes, but they're widely available in gift shops and museums --for $100 to $150 retail, which includes a dozen litho reproduction antique views. Here's a story about Don, wife Shirley and family in the Delta County Independent:

This stereoscope is/was last available from Berezin Stereo Photography Products (see:

At one point I had some input as to its geometry and optics. The design turned out well. The CedarEdge comes with a good leather hood, similar in eyewear accommodation and functionality to that used on the old Red Wing Viewers. The Cedar Edges' large plastic lenses were good  in 10 out of the last 10 scopes which came through here.

* Dr. Brian May (yes, that Brian May) designed the "OWL" stereoscope, which is currently (2019) available from his London Stereoscopic Company and perhaps resellers on this side of the ocean (Google around). Mechanically, its plastic molded body is beautifully designed with precision fit. Since its stage area is open, and its focusing feature moves the bezel/lenses, it can be used to view stereo pairs in a book. Since its (optical on geometric centers) lenses are spaced about 78mm apart, you have to spread your eyes just a little for a few old style^ stereographs with close subject matter, but you'll easily adjust to that.

^ Traditional (Underwood, Keystone) stereographs are die cut and the print pairs contiguously mounted --with just a line between. Since the mounted format is fixed, in order to get close subject matter behind the fixed (in space) stereo window, the image pair must be spread apart --which can end up with distant subject matter separations up to 3-3/8 inches (86mm) in quality brand cards. Of necessity, however, and if there was to be side-to-side visual clearance in traditional stereoscopes, the lens pair (made from a single, bisected glass lens, the fat edges turned out) --had to be mounted with their optical centers (those fat edges) spaced up to 3.5 inches (89mm) apart. That took care of close-ups, plus there was ample spare collimation for when a person brought the stage and card in rather close.


Stereoscope Design Considerations:

* My survey of old stereoscopes indicated that the viewers for classic (Holmes-Bates-Keystone-Society) format 7 inch cards normally used 200mm (5 diopter), non-achromatic, plano-convex lenses with their optical centers fixed at 85mm to 89mm of separation. That geometry worked great and it still does.

The optical centers separation has little to do with the distance between your eyes. Its consequence is that your eyes will usually "toe in" on an average view with its 76mm between the frames (the "stereo window") and perhaps up to 79mm between distant details in the images. That toe-in also anticipates the tendency of people to initially "look near" --when they know a viewcard is less than a foot away. It also anticipates that the average person will pull an interesting viewcard in as close as he/she can comfortably focus, which proportionately reduces the effective optical centers separation down toward the actual inter-pupilary distance of your eyes --which averages 65mm.

Normal reading distance is about 14 inches (356mm, but "1x" magnification is taken as 250mm --or about 10 inches) --which is as close as a person (on average) cares to comfortably hold a printed page. Eye-wise, that's about the same as pulling the stage-and-viewcard in to a distance of only 5 inches --instead of the full 8" focal length of a standard stereoscope's lenses. On average, the effective optical centers of a standard stereoscope will be reduced from (say) 87mm to 75mm, which also happens to be the comfort limit, at which point your eyes' lines of sight start having to everywhere diverge in order to fuse the two frames of an old print pair stereograph.

* I don't believe that this stereo-optical geometry was worked out by some founding genius of the stereoscopic industry. It's more likely to have been the happy, serendipitous result of using the shortest practical focal length lenses (out of deference to photographic resolution and chromatic aberration), splitting a single large lens into halves (and then squaring the halves) for to make a well matched pair, then turning the thick sides outward, and placing them far enough apart such that most everyone's lines of site are unimpeded, as their eyes orbit across the visually fused pair of a stereograph.

* If anything, recent (professional darkroom) photographic resolution was a tad worse than were traditional contact printed, black and white (gray scale) viewcards of the past. I've measured 10 line pairs per millimeter (once almost 14) in good antique views, whereas my own best color work (with a Rodenstock lens at its f/5.6 sweet spot in a Beseller dichroic color head enlarger) ran a film-to-print throughput of 6 to 8 line pairs per mm (ie: up to 400 "DPI"), which is twice the assumed resolution of a good, larger format (8x10 inch, say) photographic print. (This all worked backward to assumptions about a camera's smallest "circle of confusion" and a practical "depth-of-field" limit to work with.)

Despite today's excellent digital printer resolutions, I suggest that one stay with 8 inch (200mm, 5 diopter) strength lenses in a standard stereoscope, and no less than 6 inch lenses in a stereoscope or viewer meant for a 5 inch wide card (say: with a European/Japanese type medium format print pair at about 71% the over-all size of a standard stereograph).

* Commercial, mass-produced antique viewcards were die cut to fixed dimensions with but a line between the image pair.  Therefore, to place the image pair behind the trimmed stereo window, corresponding left-right points in the distance ("homologous points at infinity") had to be floated further apart when close-up subject matter was included. Separation distances in such views could reach over 80mm, so the wide optical centers spacing of a standard stereoscope is sometimes needed --and with the view card at nearly full focal length.


Other Services:

* One of my former Stereosynthesis competitors (in The Netherlands):

Publications & groups

* Join the National Stereoscopic Assn. and read Stereo World, a first class magazine. Visit the new NSA web site. Learn all about stereoscopy and those doing it. Contact the NSA at PO Box 14801, Columbus, OH 43214

* The Stereoscopic Society, a correspondence association devoted to the making and sharing of modern stereo images, is associated with the NSA (which you must first join).

The SSA has been circulating each other's print pair views in the same format (along with other newer formats and media) for over 100 years.  A stereograph made in the 19th Century will fit into and view nicely in a stereoscope made just a few years ago. Often we discuss and debate the same subjects and techniques which concerned those early members of what use to be called the SSAB: "Stereoscopic Society, American Branch".  Here's an old circuit entry of mine.

--and the verso, which carries the maker's comments and any view data.

Circuit member comments (2 of 12), which are written on the "sleeve"/envelope which holds each view card:

> "Quite pleasant to view. Your remarks make me think you never owned a good dog!!  --Sadness, Jaded." {Bill W.};

> "Wow! --what stereo does for this! I love it. (Could be a moon of Jupiter.) I appreciate the sadness observation --one has to ponder. Pleasure is for the moment (like viewing this stereo view) --and the long range point, for us, seems to be the pointlessness. I see no contradiction between Craig's comments and owning a good dog (or cat!). They can and do co-exist. I do like this picture --what a philosophy initiator." {Bill P.}

* You might also join the International Stereoscopic Union and read their journal: Stereoscopy.

* And then there's the mother of us all: Britain's grand old Stereoscopic Society at: