The Stereo Rocca (ステレオロッカ) is a Japanese stereo camera taking pairs of 23×24mm exposures on 120 film. It was distributed and perhaps made by Rokuwa in 1955–6.
The overall concept and body shape were inspired by the Italian Iso Duplex 120, but the Stereo Rocca looks much cheaper. It has a plastic body containing the vertically running rollfilm. The top and bottom edges of the body are rounded whereas the sideplates are flat, the reverse of most camera bodies. The tubular viewfinder protrudes at the top, and the tripod base at the bottom.
The right-hand sideplate is removable together with the exposure chambers to load the film; it is locked by a lever on the other side of the body, with O and C positions (obviously for Open and Close). The advance knob is on the removable sideplate, near the top, and has a red arrow engraved indicating the winding direction. The film advance is controlled by two red windows in the back, one above the other, protected by vertically sliding individual covers. Each number has to be used twice, thus allowing 24 stereo pairs on one roll of 120 film, or 12 pairs on short rolls of Minori film, sold by Rokuwa. The instruction manual advices to use the lens cap alternatively on the left and right lens to take twice as many single exposures. The metal plate containing the red window covers also has the body serial number engraved in the middle.
There is a rectangular casing protruding at the front of the body, containing the lenses and the shutter mechanism. It has the name Stereo Rocca embossed near the bottom. The release button is protruding above the lens and shutter casing, to the right of the viewfinder. The presumably early examples have a long release rod with a plain top; the presumable late ones have a short button with a cable release thread.
The fixed-focus lenses have no engraving; it is said that they have 42mm focal length and are placed at 34mm distance. The aperture is controlled by a lever placed between the two lenses, with 8, 11 and 16 settings. The shutter is wound by an index sliding along an arched slit, above the lenses. It is controlled by a small knob under the left-hand lens, with a red dot and B and I indications, for Bulb and Instant (about 1/30). There are two female plugs on the photographer's left, between the lenses and the opening lock, certainly to connect a flash unit.
The Stereo Rocca was announced in various Japanese magazines in December 1955, and was advertised from December 1955 to November 1956. The December 1955 and January 1956 advertisements in Asahi Camera were placed by Rokuwa; the former gives the exposure size as 24×24mm and the latter as 23×24mm. It is said that the price was ¥2,700. The camera was sold with the following accessories:
- a folding stereo viewer, engraved MINORI Stereo Viewer between the two eyepieces;
- cardboard inserts for the viewer, some for slides and others for contact prints, marked ステレオロッカ (Stereo Rocca) and みのりフィルム (Minori film);
- a silver lens cap, engraved Rocca in the middle.
A special push-on lens hood was also available, with removable yellow filters and a dedicated leather case, sold in a box marked Lens Hood FOR Stereo Rocca ROKUWA CO., LTD. MADE IN JAPAN.
- ↑ Focal length: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.374, Sugiyama, item 6038. Separation distance: this page at Stereoskopie and this page at Dekoyama's Stereo site.
- ↑ Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.374–5. Lewis, p.92, and this page of the JCII give February 1955 as the release month but this is unconfirmed.
- ↑ Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.214.
- ↑ See this page of the JCII.
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Item 1053.
- Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), 0-935398-16-3 (hard). Pp.92–3.
- 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). P.849.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Item 6038.
- Stereo Rocca at Stereoscopy.com
- Stereo Rocca at Ralph's 3D page (archived)
- Stereo Rocca in a page about stereo cameras at Massimo Bertacchi's Innovative Cameras (archived)
- Stereo Rocca: lot no.461 of the March 25, 2006 sale and lot no.852 of the April 30, 2005 sale by Auction Team Breker
- Stereo Rocca and instruction manual (5 out of 8 pages) at Stereoskopie.com