If total sales is the measure of popularity, then the Stereo Realist is the most popular stereo camera ever made. The Stereo Realist ushered in the post World War Two (WW2) revival of stereo photography. The camera was designed by the American stereo photographer Seton Rochwite (1904-2000) and was announced in November 1945 just three months after WW2.  He and his wife Isabelle continued to enter slides in International Exhibition until the early 1990s.

  The Realist was manufactured in the United States by a precision instrument manufacturer, the David White Company of Milwaukee WI. The camera is a true precision camera built to a high quality standard.

  The camera was launched onto the American market in 1947. The camera remained on the market, with little change, for over 20 years and an estimated 1/4 million were sold. The Realist caught the imagination of the American public and many famous people were seen with a Realist hanging around their neck. Among these were General Dwight Eisenhower and the actor Harold Lloyd.

  The Realist's success was due, in no small part, to the high quality of the recently available (in the US) 35mm Kodachrome color slide film. Color film was not so readily available in other parts of the world in the post war 1940s. This coupled with a lack of the new stereo cameras outside of America explains why the late 1940s stereo boom in the USA was not a world wide phenomena. When color film (mainly Kodachrome) did become readily available in Europe and Australia it was to a large extent the enthusiast that embraced stereo photography.

  The Realist 22 mm x 23 mm format became the standard format in America, and later the world, for color stereo slides. Other cameras using the Realist format soon came on the market, some for less than half the price of the Realist. Mechanically the Realist is better made and more reliable than most of the other US and German made cameras that followed the Realist onto the market.


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