Blast from the Past: Vintage Commercial for the Nimslo 35mm 3D Camera

Sure, the 1980s isn’t quite so far in the past as, say, the first photo, but the commercial above is classic nonetheless. It shows off the Nimslo 35mm 3D camera, the first consumer level 3D lenticular camera of the 80s and, if you believe the commercial, “the most important new camera of your lifetime.”

Okay, so some people who were around then and are still around now might disagree with that statement, but you have to give it to the ad guys… they weren’t bashful about this one.


Admittedly, it was something pretty special at the time. It used normal 35mm film to take 3D shots, something nobody else was doing just yet, and was much smaller than its 3D competition. Each time you snapped a photo, it would use two 35mm frames, capturing one portrait-orientation picture per half frame — four pictures total.

Those frames could then be developed and turned into 3D photos thanks to lenticular printing. Photos that make your family look so real that (in another lofty statement) the commercial claims you feel you could “reach into the picture and hug them.”



None of the grand statements before it can beat the tagline of this particular commercial though. If the fact that it was the most important camera of your lifetime wasn’t enough to get you running to your local camera shop to pick one up, they end the ad by asking, “When was the last time you performed *short dramatic pause* a miracle!?”

(via Reddit)

Image credits: Photographs by John Alan Elson

  • Sir Stewart Wallace

    I like that I can cross my eyes and see the 3D effect. :D

  • Mescalamba

    Do that often enough and you will have your prescription glasses soon.

    Apart from that, most variants of 3D are pretty unhealthy. Worst of them is that one called “reality”. It always ends by death..

  • Spongebob Nopants

    It is one of the most awsome cameras ever made. I’ve had a few of them and the prints I made in the 80’s still look outstanding.
    1. The prints from these were AMAZING and far superior to the cruddy 2 image lenticulars a few W3 owners have had made. you’d send the roll (or developed roll) to the company and they would combine the images into one vertially interlaced print, then put a lenticular lens over it. That lens had more lines per inch than the prints fuji would make from the 2 shot mpo files.
    2. But the lenticular printing companies would go out of business, often leaving customers who sent in film high and dry without ever getting either their prints or the original film back.
    3.David Bulder built a 12 shot version by sticking 3 of these cameras together And I’m not sure that’s the largest one he’s created. Image google lenticular camera and it should be one of the first images. It might look like a photoshopped markup but it ain’t.
    4. The creator of the Nimslo is currently working on a 6 shot digital 3d camera to make lenticular prints and a connected lenticular printing system. It’s aimed at wedding photographers but Ima get one too. Don’t hold your breath as progress has been slooooooooow.
    A good lenticular is supposed to be 12 to 20 images. You can theoretically do it with a camera on a slide bar. The small kind that is used for short dollys is fine.
    The problem comes in printing stage. The shots have to have the exact amount and size of lines when combined in relation to whatever printer you are using. It’s a bit fiddly.
    You then have to perfectly place the lenticular sheet onto the image. This is where the trouble and expence comes from because it takes multiple tries to get it right and when you get it wrong you have to throw out the mistake. So you can end up going through several prints and lenticular sheets to get one good one.
    Also you can’t advertise your lenticular art so well on the internet. So it’s not as easy to sell no matter how good it is.
    Here’s the good news. There still are companies that print shots from these cameras for you and these cameras are cheap and easy to get on Amazon.

  • Sir Stewart Wallace

    For one, that’s a farce, and two… I’ve had prescription glasses since I was six. -_-
    I agree, reality is the worst 3D around. The graphics suck and the NPC characters have terrible AI.

  • beaver

    I had two.

  • Videojohn7

    Wow I love my Nimslo too. Sounds great they’re working on a digital!