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Stereo Leader

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Japanese stereo cameras (edit)
on 16mm film CM-16 | Ricoreo 16
23×24mm
or
24×24mm
Stereo Alpen | Asahi Seimitsu | Inoca Stereo | Stereo Leader | Owla Stereo | Stereo Pluto | Stereo Rocca | Stereo Sankei
24×30mm Stecoon
3×4cm Stereo Hit
3.7×5cm Tokioscope
4.5×6cm Sun Stereo
8×12cm Idea Binocular | Sakura Binocular Prano
3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6, 6×9 and plate ->

The Stereo Leader (ステレオリーダー) is a Japanese stereo camera taking pairs of 23×24mm exposures on 35mm film, made by Tougodo then by Heart Sangyō in 1955–6. The Windsor Stereo is a rebadged version, certainly made for export.

Description Edit

The Stereo Leader and Windsor Stereo have a body made of black bakelite,[1] somewhat similar to that of the Stereo Hit. The viewfinder protrudes in the middle of the top plate. The film is advanced by a knob on the right end, as seen by the photographer, and the rewind knob is at the left end. The camera obviously has auto-stop advance, and there is a button to the right of the viewfinder, perhaps used to unlock the advance mechanism. The rewind unlock lever is placed next to the advance knob, and has A and R indications. The exposure counter is to the left of the viewfinder, and perhaps has two scales, for stereo pairs and for single pictures. The camera can take 29 stereo pairs on a 36-exposure film roll and 16 pairs on a 20-exposure roll.[2] The back is hinged to the right for film loading.

There is a black rectangular casing attached to the front of the camera, with the shutter release at the top right. Three circular bulges protrude from this casing; the central one certainly contains the coupling mechanism for the focus, speed and aperture, whereas the other two contain the lenses. The name STEREO Leader or WINDSOR STEREO is inscribed on the central part and the lens name is inscribed around each lens: LEADER ANASTIGMAT 1:4.5 45MM or TRI-WINDSOR ANASTIGMAT 1:4.5 F=45MM.[3] The shutter cocking lever protrudes from the right lens casing. The shutter is called TMK;[4] it is synchronized for flash and the synch post consists of a two-pin female socket protruding from the left lens casing.

The three main controls are placed above the three main bulges: from left to right we find the aperture scale from 4.5 to 16, the distance scale from infinity to 3.5ft, and the speed scale with four positions. The speed settings are indicated as Bulb, Slow, Medium and Fast on some examples of the Stereo Leader, and in the more usual way (B, 25, 50, 100) on the other Stereo Leader and on all the examples of the Windsor Stereo observed so far.[5] There is a lever with STEREO and SINGLE indications at the bottom of the central bulge, switching the shutter operation from stereo pairs to single pictures. There is perhaps some other control accordingly switching the film advance mechanism.

Commercial life Edit

The Stereo Leader was featured in Japanese magazines dated September and October 1955.[6] The September 1955 advertisement in Asahi Camera for the Stereo Hit also mentions an unnamed "Stereo Camera" (ステレオカメラ) using 35mm film, with f/4.5 lenses and B, 25, 50, 100 speeds, offered for ¥8,000 and certainly corresponding to the Stereo Leader.[7] The October 1955 advertisement in the same magazine gives the full name (ステレオリーダー) and shows a picture of the camera; the maker is mentioned as Tōgōdō Sangyō (better known as Tougodo).

The April 1956 advertisement in Sankei Camera[8] says that the manufacturer is Heart Sangyō and the distributor is Shikōdō; it is not known if the production of the Stereo Leader was transferred to Heart Sangyō, or if this was a sub-contractor of Tougodo from the start. The advertisement also names the authorized dealers Chiyoda Shōkai, Yamato Shōkai and Chūō Shashin-yōhin. The price is now ¥8,800, including the following accessories:

  • Stereo Leader flash unit;
  • plastic viewer;
  • 16 inserts for film pairs;
  • leather case.

The Windsor Stereo was reportedly advertised in the November 1954 issues of Popular Photography and of Modern Photography;[9] this date seems strange, and November 1955 would make more sense.

Notes Edit

  1. Bakelite: McKeown, p.929, where the camera is called "Leader".
  2. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.205.
  3. McKeown, p.999, reports 35/4.5 lenses for the Windsor Stereo, but this is certainly a mistake. The features listed in this page at Innovative Cameras are mistaken too.
  4. TMK: advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.205.
  5. Words for speed settings: Stereo Leader pictured in this page at Innovative Cameras, and Stereo Leader observed in an online auction. B, 25, 50, 100: Stereo Leader pictured in Sugiyama, item 6036, Windsor Stereo pictured in this page at Innovative Cameras and Windsor Stereo pictured in this page by LP Foto. McKeown, p.999, reports 1/25 and 1/50 speeds only for the Windsor Stereo, but this is certainly a mistake.
  6. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.372.
  7. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.165.
  8. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.205.
  9. See this post by Tom Martin, listing old advertisements for stereo cameras.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit

In English:

In Swedish:

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