Stereo Images From Juneau

Please read the fine print at the bottom of this page before reproducing or reusing the information and images here.


MF Cameras
Stereo Mounting
MF Viewer
Digital Twins
Stereo Help
Stereo Methods
TDC Stereo Vivid
NSA 2004


I have included file sizes in the image links.  Please take a moment to check these sizes before you begin downloading images for viewing.  Several of the JPS files are very large and will be painful to download over a modem link.

The images are presented in cross-eye and anaglyph format.  If you prefer a different format or size, please give the Stereoscope applet a try.

Viewable with any browser
I strive for browser independence.  Please let me know if you experience problems with these pages.  


Java Stereo Viewer

Many of these pages use a Java Stereoscope applet by
Andreas Petersik
. It made a Java convert out of me and I highly recommend it.

 So, how do you make a stereo pair?

The basic principle is that you need to generate two images of the same subject with a horizontal displacement of about 63 mm.  This horizontal displacement is called the stereo base.  The 63 mm base is good for subjects no closer than about 6 feet.  You can use a larger stereo base for subjects farther away, and a smaller one for subjects closer, but 60 to 70 mm is a good place to start.

Single camera methods

  • The simplest method is called, by some, the cha-cha. Face your subject, lean a little bit to the left and snap a picture.  Without rotating, tipping, or tilting the camera, lean a little bit to the right and take a second frame.  That's it.  You now have your left and right images. 
  • Slide board, level, and Canon A5Another way to produce stereo pairs from a single camera uses a slide board.  A smooth board with a ledge on the back edge will allow you to slide your camera left to right without rotating, tipping, or tilting it.  It makes much better images than the cha-cha, but then you have to carry your slide board.  You can use any handy horizontal surface as a slide board.  Table top, porch railing, just needs to be flat and have a view of your subject.
  • When using either of these two methods, I always work left to right.  That is, I take my left image, then shift and take the right.  By always doing them the same way, I never have to sit and study the resulting images to figure out which is which.
The previous methods (single camera) have the restriction that they are suitable only for still lifes.  If anything moves between the time you take the first and the second images, you will have objects in your final images that flicker and distract your eyes.  I was using a slide board to do stereo pairs of cruise ships at dock.  When I started working on the resulting pairs, I discovered that I hadn't counted on the sea gulls.  In every frame they were somewhere different.  The resulting flickering white specks rendered all of my pairs worthless.  If you want to make stereo pairs of moving subjects, you need something more than a single camera and single lens.

Twin shutter methods

  • Many different dedicated stereo cameras have been made through the years.  They have two sets of lenses, two apertures, and two synchronized shutters.  FED, Sputnik, Realist, Viewmaster are a few of the names that come to mind.
  • You can also take two cameras, place them side by side.  To synchronize the two shutters, you can couple them (electronically or mechanically) or just practice pushing the release buttons simultaneously.
  • Not a twin shutter method, but still a way to do non still life pairs, is the Pentax stereo adapter.  It uses four front surface mirrors and attaches to the front of a regular camera.  The resulting images have both the left and right images on the same frame.  This is known as a half-frame stereo pair.
I have tried using a pair of Canon A5 digital camera to produce pairs.  I have had pretty good results, but since both cameras are doing their own exposure and white balance, the left and right images sometimes need some editing before they are acceptable.  My tests were done with non-coupled shutters and were therefore not perfectly synchronized.  My current project is to electrically couple the shutters on the two cameras to achieve better synchronization.
I would also like to try to find a Pentax adapter (which is no longer made) and try that.  I may try building me own with some front surface mirrors or prisms.  Being able to slap a half-frame adapter on the front of my Pro70 would be a lot easier than carrying around a pair of A5s.

Basic rules of stereo photography

  1. Your images should have a large depth of field.  Images made at f11 work better than images made at f2
  2. With a stereo base of 63 mm, there should be nothing in the view closer than 6 feet 
  3. There must be only horizontal displacement between your left and right images.  The camera must not rotate about any axis between shots.
  4. These three "rules" were lifted from the very excellent book by Fritz G. Waack.  You can learn more about it at:

About those slide boards

Slide board, level and Canon A5It is very important that your slide board be level.  So important, in fact, that I bought a pocket level to keep with the slide board.  If your slide board is not level, you will introduce a vertical displacement between your left and right images when you rotate the final images back to horizontal.  
Another thing I did was make a mark every cm along the ledge on the board.  This allows me to easily vary and note the stereo base of my pairs.  I can do the first pair at 60 mm and then do a second at 80 mm.


Send me mail at:

The Fine Print:  Unless otherwise stated, all images presented here were created by, and are copyrighted by, John R. Thurston. You may view them, print them, tell people about them, and comment on them. You may not copy them, edit them, or use them for financial gain without permission.  
You are expressly forbidden to use any of my content or images in support of e-bay sales without my specific consent.
Except from e-bay pages, feel free to link to any of the HTML pages, but please do not create links directly to any of the images.

Bookmark my pages at: