Activate the Beam Splitter!

I’ve dabbled with creating three-dimensional film images for years, although my efforts in this field have been rather hit-or-miss. I’ve tried three-dimensional splitter lenses on my digital cameras (the efforts weren’t worth reposting), I’ve shot with toy 3D cameras (the Trio3D, the Nimslo) but those cameras seemed flimsy and the images were lacking.

So let’s try this new idea.

What we have here is an Argus 3D stereo beamsplitter camera. It takes 35mm film and produces two images with the same shutter exposure, hence the two camera lens mirrors you see here. The Argus was a rebranded 1990 Loreo 3d Mark 1 camera, and was sold as a novelty camera for a few years.

I acquired this at an eBay auction, and this may actually be the first camera in my arsenal that contains scribbled-on operating instructions. Look here on the chassis.

For those who don’t speak “camera”, the translation is – for best results, use ISO 200 or 400 film, have your main subject stand 2 1/2 feet away – or 5 to 8 feet away if you use the flash option. Okay, so this thing can work with cheap daylight film. Good to know.

Unfortunately, the battery door on this unit seems to be fused shut, so there’s no way I can make the pop-up flash do anything for my benefit.

Nevertheless, I had a spare roll of AGFA Vista 200 in the house, so I popped it in the camera and took some “walking photos” around the Town and Village of Green Island. Nothing major, just some photos of street signs and flowers and hydrants, to see what results could be achieved with this unit.

The film came back yesterday; I scanned these images. And yeah, the specs about the “sweet spot” being 2 1/2 feet away is important. Anything too close, and you get miserable stereo separation. Anything too far, and it’s just two pictures of the same image with no stereo distinction.

To view these images, relax your eyes until the left and right sides blend into each other. All shots taken with Argus 3D camera, AGFA Vista 200 film. Photos (c) 2022 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

I tell you what. I may try this again. I don’t know where or when … but I’ll try this again. I think there’s something worthwhile here. If I can get the right subject and the right film … it may be totally worthwhile.

We shall see.