Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Several of my readers have noticed that blogging has been light lately and have worried that I might have developed a life. Nothing could be further from the truth as I will now demonstrate.

Here is a device that has consumed some of the time I might otherwise have spent blogging:

SKF-1 Russian Stereo Adapter

Here is a photo I narfed off of eBay. It shows a Russian SKF-1 stereo adapter mounted on an old nikon (using a Russian Helios 58mm lens.) I don't suspect that MoscowStore will mind my using their photo since I bought the product from them that it portrays.

I went through several plans on how I was going to use this adapter. Initially I was going to mount it on my Kodak p712 using the accessory mounting tube. But the mechanics didn't work out. The Kodak accessory tube mounts the accessory a fixed distance from the front of the camera. This works fine for filters, etc. but doesn't work with the SKF-1 since by the time the lens has zoomed out to the 30mm length required for a stereo photo it has pulled too far back into the tube and the corners are cut off.

My next theory was to use the 18-55mm lens that came with my new Nikon D40 but the filter ring on the lens turns as the lens focuses. This could be made to work -- sort of -- by focusing manually and repositioning the adapter every time you move the focus ring. Not very satisfactory, to say the least.

So I went to my local used camera dealer and bought an old non-AI 30mm lens. I can only use it in Manual mode and the meter doesn't work so I have to guess the exposure, look at the histogram on the camera, adjust and try again until I get it right. My current rig for the SKF-1 uses that 30mm lens.

SKF-1 Auction Screen Shot
The eBay auction

BTW: if you are thinking about getting an SKF-1 for your Nikon digital don't be tempted by the Russian 58mm lens. The right focal length on a D40 is 30mm because of the smaller sensor size.

The SKF-1 is set up to be slightly crosseyed so that a subject four meters from the lens can be centered in both of the left and right images. My dog Jaxon is very friendly and it is difficult to get him to stay 12 feet away so you can take his photo. In this series I tied him to his run and stood ten feet beyond the reach of his cable. Technically, this worked fine, but he did bark at the camera without stopping until I was done. People tend to look retarded if you take their picture while they are talking. Barking dogs are also not a their best, as these pictures demonstrate.


To view these photos relax your eyes letting the image go slightly out of focus. Cross your eyes slightly so you see three copies of the image and then concentrate on the one in the middle.




For a few more photos taken with the SKF-1 plus some more-technical discussion of depth-of-field and vignetting, see my Flickr set here

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