A Very Rare Viewmaster Personal Stereo Camera is The Coolest Thing


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There’s nothing cooler than very rare cameras–and that’s what we’ve got today for you. We’d like you to meet a prototype of the Viewmaster Personal Stereo camera. That’s right, not only is this an unusual camera, but it’s a prototype of an unusual camera. Stereo cameras shoot images that are sort of 3D-looking. And you’ve probably seen lots of them as animated gifs on Reddit or somewhere else. This one is in exceptional condition and has apparently already been bought.

Welcome to the Rare Camera Store: a joint initiative of The Phoblographer and the wonderful folks at Blue Moon Camera. We work to bring you some of the coolest and rarest items for a great price.

Editor’s Note: It’s already gone!

According to the listing over at Blue Moon Camera

The Viewmaster Personal “Prototype” Stereo Camera is an early version of the Viewmaster stereo camera. This camera uses 35mm film and produces square, stereo images designed to be mounted for use in Viewmaster viewers.

This camera’s serial number suggests that this is a very early camera and may be a prototype that was designed and built prior to the full production line started in the early 1950s.

This camera comes with its original leather case, which is in very good condition.

You can get this awesome camera for only $950. And it works! Blue Moon also did a short historical piece on this camera a little while back. Viewmaster stereo cameras were used by the military to help identify planes, ships, and types of ammo. As for a few other specs:

  • 25mm f3.5 lenses
  • Fully adjustable apertures and shutter speeds
  • A guide up top to help get the right exposures
  • Film advance knob, which can be really fun and a different experience from film advance levers
  • Manual and adjustable focus

For what it’s worth, you probably will want to use a tripod with this camera. The shutter speeds only go as fast as 1/100th. The more skilled among us won’t have a problem handholding this camera. But we know some newer photographers can’t do it to save their lives. 

A Flickr search for images from this camera produces some very fun results. Of course, those images were all made with a full production camera. And this is a prototype, so it’s a lot rarer. Lots of folks will surely push these into animated gifs. But you should also know that there are stereo viewers for film. They’re not the easiest things to find and they’re often not in good condition. Some Viewmaster viewers are available though. When I was a kid my father, sister and I would use Viewmasters to look at Disney reels. They were super fun, but needed a lot of light. So perhaps it could make a fun tool for your kids. 

We encourage you to pick up this ViewMaster prototype right now, and there’s great reason for that. We’re in a global, economic recession of a weird sort. These times can produce some of the best artists and the most fun trends to help define the next decade. What’s old is always new. So give these a shot!







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