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Converting the Russian FED Stereo Camera to Full Frame (Reprinted with permission of the author and the Journal of 3-D Imaging)
by Eddie ButtWhen the Russians brought out the Fed Stereo camera I was very surprised and disappointed that they had not made it full frame. Not being full frame means that use cannot be made of the cheap color print processing which is available. They can be done by firms like Mr. Goss, but at a premium.
When I acquired one, my thoughts immediately turned to the possibility of turning it into full frame. The widening of the openings was quite straightforward with the judicious use of the file, but the spacing was another matter. I went to the trouble of making a bypass roller between the frames to take up the extra length of film and altered the gearing to suit and in theory that was that. What happened however was that the extra resistance created by the bends in the film and the increase in the gear ratio meant that the film had to move further for the same movement of the wind-on lever. This stripped the sprocket holes after moving the film only a short distance. Once this happens of course it means that film is wasted. A lot of work for nothing.
I put the camera aside and got on with other things until I had a conversation with Society member Tony Lewis. He said that he had widened his Fed to full frame after finding out that some processors would accept unevenly spaced films. Me explained that he wound on the three, took the picture, wound on the one and then held the lenses against his chest and fired the shutter. An added complication was that the shutter would not fire on auto when there was not enough light, so between each exposure the shutter control had to be moved to manual. The inevitable result was that it had not been returned to auto when the next picture was taken. Having learnt a bit about the camera from my previous experience I said I would look into the possibility of altering the wind to four each time automatically.
On examination it turned out that it could be done very easily, so I wrote out the instructions and I sent them to him (and have reproduced them below). In a short time he contacted me to say he had made the alteration and was very pleased with the result. The irony was that I had not actually done mine by then. I also gave the instructions to Society member Peter Hoole and when he reported a happy outcome I thought I had better alter mine. This I did and after modification I found that five frames were lost at the beginning instead of the four required so I did another little modification which I will explain later.
The end result is a full frame stereo camera with auto or manual exposure that can be bought for less than £1 50. The penalty is a reduced number of exposures per film. Whilst processors will print an unevenly exposed film it appears that when they cut the film up to return it, they sometimes cut through the middle of a frame (if Murphy has anything to do with it, it will be the best one which you would have liked to have reprinted). All the same, I think this is a small price to pay.
Modification InstructionFirstly the top cover has to be removed.
7. Replace in reverse order and the job is done.
Reprinted with permission from the Journal of 3-D Imaging, Winter 1999, number 143. The journal of 3D imaging is an excellent publication made possible by the Stereoscopic Society in Great Britain. To learn more about this Society and Publication please visit www.StereoscopicSociety.org.uk
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