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Stereo Photography by Fritz G. Waack


Amateur stereo photography has once again lost popularity, Since the last boom of the early 1950s no new stereo cameras have appeared, and the supply of used cameras is almost nil. The same is also true for accessories and literature. The few books about stereo photography that were on the market can hardly be found in used book stores. In addition, these were usually written by scientists for a respective user group. Stereo photography has a solid base in technology and science. For example, photogrammetry without stereo pictures is unheard of.

On the other hand, amateur photographer's interest in stereo photography is rising. This is documented by increasing in membership in all stereoscopic societies around the world in the past years. Anyone who has ever experienced colorful stereo slides in a viewer or on a screen is inspired and immediately wants to join in.

The return to stereo photography is possibly due to the fact that stereo photography has once again become "new". Certain set rules, which supersede the pure photographic ones, must be closely followed before a stereo picture is created. Even more so if the picture is to be error free.

Stereo photography, on the other hand, is not for photographers who wish to imitate "modern" artists. Blurred or out-of-focus pictures are unacceptable due to the physiology of the eyes. Even if those people studying stereoscopy are held to be old-fashioned by journalists in the field., artistic ambitions must and may be expressed in other aspects of the 3-D picture.

The developed stereo rules are therefore compiled from the book's text and prefaced to it.

This pamphlet about stereo photography is not intended to compete with technical or scientific books on the subject. If interest warrants, consult the bibliography for references from these works. It is meant to be a sort of "cookbook" that especially gives pointers to the beginner, which lead him to good stereo photographs without the virtually unavailable stereo cameras. In order to be successful, one must, however, be somewhat of a do-it-yourselfer.

The production of drawn anaglyph pictures has recently gained importance, because the three-dimensional perception helps in understanding many technical or scientific problems. With the help of computers and plotters they can easily be created. Difficulties are usually only encountered with the selection of the correct colors and filters.

Since scientific calculators with enough memory for the calculation of values needed for construction are readily available to the lay person, he can himself, with the help of the given calculation programs, become active. This has nothing to do with "stereo photography", but the stereo photographer is often also interested in other three-dimensional methods of representation.

The main work in this newly acquired section stems from Mr. Eberhard Hassler, OStR, Frankfurt. A part of the experience with drawing pens was contributed by Mr. Alfred Kramer, Tübingen. Their contributions are greatly appreciated.

Readers who like a little theory will find it on the last few pages.

The technical terms used are from the German standard data sheet DIN 19040 part 8 about stereoscopy. A list of technical terms with the corresponding German translation is found at the end of this booklet.

Many thanks to Lorenz Huelsbergen for the good translation and to Susan Pinsky and David Starkman for additional editing.

The translation was made after the 4th German edition.

Berlin, July 1985

Fritz G. Waack AFIAP
Berlin, April 1987 for the revised 2nd edition
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Last modified on January 18, 2004
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