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The Heidoscop is a stereo camera with a reflex viewfinder, for plates or film packs (or a roll film back can be used). It was the first camera made by Franke and Heidecke (later Rollei-Werke Franke & Heidecke) in Braunschweig, Germany. The camera was made in two sizes: the first takes 45×107 mm plates, and was made from 1921-34.[2] This was followed in 1925 by a model for 6×13 cm plates or film; this model was made until 1940.[2] The exact specification was changed during production, so a number of types can be distinguished.[1]

The camera has a pair of taking lenses mounted in a stereo Compound shutter. In most of the cameras (all the later types) the taking lenses are f/4.5 Tessars (5.5 cm focal length for the first model, and 7.5 cm for the second). When the camera was first introduced, Heidoscop or Steinheil Unifocal lenses were offered as alternative taking lenses.[1] There is a viewing lens centrally between these. This is also a Tessar in some cameras, and a 'Sucher-Triplet' (also by Zeiss) or 'Heidoscop Sucher-Anastigmat' in others.

On the top of the camera body there is a collapsible hood over the viewing screen. This would even then be a familiar feature of reflex cameras. It has a built-in focusing loupe, and a mirror, allowing the hood to be used as an eye-level reflex finder. There is even a spirit level visible in the finder.[1]

Only a few years after the Heidoscop, in 1926, very similar cameras but with a built-in roll-film chamber were introduced alongside it, in both sizes. This was named the Rolleidoscop, although McKeown states that the earliest of these were sold with the name Heidoscop.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The article about the Heidoscop at Early Photography lists the main changes in the design of the Heidoscop, and shows examples of two versions of the camera.
  2. 2.0 2.1 McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p850.