Photo-Stereo-Binocle

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The Photo-Stereo-Binocle is a miniature plate camera for mono or stereo exposures, disguised as a pair of binoculars (and in fact, McKeown states that the camera can actually be used as such[1]) made by Goerz of Berlin from about 1899 to 1910.[1][2] It takes 45x50 mm plates, singly or in pairs. It has 75 mm f/6.8 Dagor lenses; McKeown states that a Model II of the camera was made with cheaper Lynkeioskop lenses.[3] There is a Newton finder on top of the camera. In use as a camera, the 'binoculars' are rather unconvincing as a disguise; they are held back-to-front, with what seem to be eyepieces facing forwards.

Review from 1899

Here follows an extract from a review in a Dutch photomagazine dated April 1899[4] :

A major plus of this instrument is the fact that in order to switch use from camera to binoculars/opera glass and vice versa it is not necessary to take it apart. In figure 1 one sees at the top between the lenses 3 pins. By pulling the front pin the 2 other (vertical ones) follow and both shutters will be cocked so the Binocle can be used as a stereo camera. If the middle pin is pulled the rear one follows and only one shutter is cocked so the Binocular acts as a normal camera. If only the rear pin is pulled the Binocular acts as an opera glass or binoculars.
The lenses "O" (see figure 2) needed for use as binoculars can be found in the lid "D". With the lid open it is possible to place a screen "M" and/or the plate chassis "C" for making photos.
When using as an opera glass turn the serrated wheels "m" (see figure 3) in the correct direction. For use as binoculars turn the wheels "m" in the other direction. Focus adjustment is done like any other binoculars.
If used as a camera the following things have to be noted. The size of the plates is 4.5 by 5 cM. First of all pull the middle pin (figure 1), adjust the wheels "m" (figure 3) to the correct position and apply the matte screen "M" (figure 2). Then focus like any other binoculars. For working without a screen there is a focus scale provided (figure 1) which gives the distance in meters. Then the plate chassis (see figure 4) can be placed and the lid "D" (figure 2) closed.

Next the shutter can be cocked. As told before for a single photo by pulling the middle pin and for a stereo photo by pulling the front pin. The chassis slides have to be opened by pulling the ring(s) "K" (see figure 2 and 6). To the right (see figure 1) is a knob which adjusts the shutter speed. Speeds are possible between 1/20 en 1/60 second. The exposure is made by pushing the release button "c" (figure 2). When the release button is slid out there follows a moment exposure, when the button is slid in a time exposure. For time exposures it is possible to mount the Binocle to a tripod by using the thread "q" (see figure 3). After the exposure the lid(s) of the plate chassis have to be closed and the chassis then can be put into their case (see figure 5).
It is clear that this device, though a bit complicated, has a very ingenious design. It looks worthwhile as a travel camera and the name Goerz assures quality. This is no toy !

END of review

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 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). p355.
  2. Photo-Stereo-Binocle serial no. 1025, with 75 mm Doppel-Anastigmat III (i.e. Dagor) lenses, sold at the 20th Westlicht Photographica Auction, on 1 November 2011.
  3. Photo-Stereo-Binocle serial no. 1908, with Rapid-Lynkeioskop lenses, and with two dark-slides, also sold at the November 2011 Westlicht auction.
  4. LUX geïllustreerd Tijdschrift voor Fotografie, edition April 1899, p268-270