View-Master advertising for the personal stereo camera
The View-Master Personal Stereo Camera was launched in June 1952. It takes 37 stereo pairs on a 20-exposure 35 mm. cassette. The camera uses a lens shift to maximise film use. One set of pictures is taken on the film, then the lenses are shifted and the film wound back the other way to use a second strip of film.
View-Master Personal reel
Special View-Master reel blanks were supplied for the resulting images.
After processing, the film had to be cut (best accomplished using a View-Master film cutter; I can't imagine doing this job successfully without one) and mounted. A special metal tool was supplied to make it easier to get the pictures into the apertures.
The camera was made in brown and beige plastic; a black plastic version had an accessory flash. The camera ceased production in about 1955.
Accessories made for the camera include a carrying case, flash attachment, close-up attachments, filters and a film cutter.
The Personal Stereo Camera does not appear to have been imported into the UK, although it was available in other parts of Europe e.g. Germany.
View-Master advertising leaflet for the Mark 2 Stereo camera. Click on the picture to see a bigger version (opens in new window)
In 1960, at Photokina, the so-called "European Camera" was introduced. This is officially called the View-Master Mark 2 Stereo Camera. It was made by King (who also made Regula cameras). It has two Rodenstock f/2.8 20 mm. lenses and a four speed shutter with flash synchronisation. The film takes a diagonal path through the camera, giving 40 stereo pairs on a 20-exposure 35mm. cassette.
The camera has a very unusual method of determining the exposure. There are three blocks of colours on the front of the camera - light, medium and dark. A light symbol - bright sun, hazy sun, cloudy or shadow - is changed using a dial. When the symbol corresponding to the lighting conditions is shown in a window in the block of colours coresponding most closely with the colours of the scene, the exposure is set correctly. (See also Instructions for the Mark 2 Stereo Camera)
A Mark II cutter was also available (see camera advertising above).