Even die-hard film junkies occasionally find themselves in the digital world (you’re not reading this in the newspaper, right?). As you creep across the web, through the various photo blogs and feeds and profiles, you’ll no doubt come across a few oddly flickering images. They look like they were shot on film, but they’re doing something different. They have an added element of movement and dimension you can’t quite explain. These images are indeed the product of a film camera, but it’s no ordinary point-and-shoot — it’s a triple-lens camera that lets you capture a series of still images which later can be digitally converted into animated GIFs. Behold, the RETO3D camera.
Until now, the RETO3D has only been available in a lone black colorway. That changes today. We’ve teamed up with the folks at RETO to create an exclusive Retrospekt Edition RETO3D camera with a beige body and orange accents — and the only place you’ll be able to find it is directly from us. We’re always eager to partner with exciting brands who adore analog technology as much as we do, and we especially love collaborating on vintage-inspired products.
Originally released in 2019, RETO3D’s multi-lens design takes inspiration from cult favorite 3D cameras from the 1980s like the Nimslo 3D and the Nishika N8000. While the ‘80s cameras look super cool, unfortunately, they’re not the most reliable vintage cameras out there — and even in less-than-working condition they're not cheap, either. The high resale price and low quality can be off-putting to photographers on a budget. At $109 USD, the RETO3D camera is an affordable alternative to its vintage predecessors.
So, how does this compact camera create larger-than-life 3D images? Each of the camera’s three lenses captures the subject at a slightly different angle simultaneously, creating three slightly different images across 1.5 frames of 35mm film. When the film is developed and scanned, users can combine the three images in Photoshop or upload their photos to the RETO mobile app and voilà! — those three images transform into one moving image. Once exported as a GIF or video, it’s perfect for sharing digitally. Since each click of the shutter uses 1.5 frames of film, a 36-EXP roll of film yields 24 3D pictures while a 24-EXP roll of film yields 18 3D pictures.
The RETO 3D photos certainly look futuristic, but 3D photography — also known as stereoscopy — has actually existed since the mid-1800s. Before smartphones, apps and triple-lens cameras, 3D photography required viewers to look at two regular photos and cross their eyes until they “snapped” into place, creating a third image in the middle. Of course, technology has come a long way since the nineteenth century, and 3D photography has evolved with the ever-changing times. You may remember Magic Eye books from the ‘90s, and who could forget when 3D movies were all the rage in the late aughts?
These days, 3D photography continues to get more and more popular on Instagram and other digital platforms. It’s not surprising that the #RETO3D hashtag has over 21,000 posts and counting — the camera combines analog technology with digital convenience for a totally unique film photography experience. It’s also super easy to use, making it a great way to introduce digital natives to film photography.
Right now, you can grab the RETO3D Retrospekt Edition 35MM Film Camera on our website. Don’t forget to grab a roll of film!