James's Camera Collection: Coronet 3-D

Coronet 3-D England 35mm cameras
Coronet 3-D
Format: Holmes Stereograph
Film type: 127 roll (8 images)
Approx. date of manufacture: 1953
Approx. street value: very low

This is an odd one, even by stereo camera standards. It was made by the Coronet camera company of Birmingham, making it the only English camera that I own. Coronet was a low-end brand specializing in folders and box cameras, but obviously had no trouble jumping into the 3-D craze like everyone else.

But being English, of course, it has to be eccentric. This one takes 127 roll film, which you can still get. I thought it was all cut-down, respooled 120 film, but I'm told that it's not. I got a roll of Efke (Czech) from B&H Photo in New Yawk. Haven't tried it yet. The owner's manual says you need to use their viewer, but I figure I can print them as Holmes pairs on the enlarger.

It's similar to the execrable Haleel Tri-Vision, but better. It has a flat back that you pop open to load the spool, and you keep track via that miserable red window. The shutter is fixed speed and has to be cocked. The lenses are "focus free."

It also has pseudo-independent shutters, so you can set it to take either stereo pairs or singles, if you so desire. The way to take singles is to turn a knob that drops a blind in front of the right-hand lens, so that only the left-hand lens lets light through. On the back, the instruction plate tells you how to advance the film. You only get 4 stereo pairs per roll, so you start with #1, then advance to #3, then #5 and finally #7.

Another weird thing about this: the snoot, the box that holds the lenses and shutter and attaches to the film body—it's removable. Damned if I know why. Mine's loose. There's evidence of glue but I don't know whether that was from the factory or a previous owner.

And if that wasn't enough, there's an "old" and a "new" version. I assume that this is the old version, and I've got the new one. The major difference appears to be the viewfinder.

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

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